We Are Georgetown: Hoyas face Wright State in home opener
It’s been eight months and counting since Georgetown fans have seen their beloved Blue and Gray in action the Phonebooth. That wait will finally come to an end tonight. After a tough season-opening loss in South Korea to Oregon (1-0, 0-0 PAC-12), the Hoyas (0-1, 0-0 Big East) will play their home opener against Wright State (1-0, 0-0 Horizon) at the Verizon Center tonight.
“That’s an NCAA tournament team,” Head Coach John Thompson III said about the Wright State Raiders, who were picked to finish second in the Horizon League Preseason Poll.
In order for the Hoyas to win their first game, they will have to improve upon many areas where they struggled against Oregon. Chief among these are committing too many fouls, as the Hoyas allowed the Ducks 44 free throws. Part of this can be attributed to this season’s new set of rules, which further limit the amount of contact that defensive plays can make with players on offense.
Another aspect will be their shooting. A return to the friendly confines of the Verizon Center should bode well for the Hoyas, especially after shooting an abysmal 1-of-15 on three-point field goals. While some of the shots simply didn’t fall, Thompson also expressed his displeasure with the shot selection at times. “We have to do a better job,” he said.
One definite positive Georgetown can take away is the surprisingly dominating debut of junior center Josh Smith, who scored 25 points in only 27 minutes played during his first game as a Hoya. Along with his scoring, Smith also displayed good vision, creating opportunities for many of his teammates.
However, despite dictating the post on the offensive end against Oregon, Smith struggled on defense, grabbing no defensive rebounds and often losing sight of his matchup. Smith knows that improvement in these two areas will spell success for him and the team.
“Rebounding and defense, I’ll be the first to tell you,” said Smith when asked what he needs to improve.
Besides Smith, there were some other encouraging signs from players where uncertainty lay as to how they would emerge in their new roles this season. Junior guard Jabril Trawick occasionally struggled but showed potential on offense, scoring 11 points. Junior forward Mikael Hopkins surprised many by scoring 10 points, along with 6 rebounds and zero turnovers in only 15 minutes, but found himself mired in foul trouble for the whole game.
Overall, Wright State will be a challenge Thompson and his team, as they look for their first win of the season.
“They’re a very good team and they’re a veteran team, so it’s going to be a difficult test,” said Thompson.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. tonight.
Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice