Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Set for Second Battle of D.C.

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Junior forward DaJuan Summers

After finishing their Thanksgiving break against a run-and-gun Tennessee team and an over-matched Maryland side, Georgetown gets a shoot-first team just a few Metro stops away – the American Eagles.

Last year’s Patriot League regular-season and tournament champions don’t have a national championship like Maryland, nor do they have the top recruits of Tennessee – the 2008 NCAA tournament was American’s first trip to the Big Dance.

But sophomore guard Chris Wright does not want that small school up Wisconsin Avenue to sneak past the Hoyas.

“They’re good. They’re an established team they have some veterans back. . They shoot the ball very well,” he said. “They’re aggressive; they’re not intimidated by anything so it’s definitely going to be a war and something we have to be ready for. We’re definitely not overlooking them because we know what they’re capable of, and they’re capable of putting a lot of points on the board.”

American (4-3) has been trusting senior guard Garrison Carr through its first seven games to put most of those points on the board. The Bellevue, Wash., native has not scored less than 10 points in any of the Eagles’ games this season and has already gone off for more than 24 three times this season. Carr has been Mr. Big Shot for the Eagles from behind the arc and when he shoots well, his team wins. In the Eagles’ four victories this year, he is 20-of-41 from long range but just 4-of-24 in three losses.

“Garrison a great three-point shooter,” American Head Coach Jeff Jones said. “But he’s starting to learn that people aren’t going to let him take open standing jump shots.”

According to Jones, recent opponents have had success overplaying Carr’s jump shot and forcing him to drive or one of his teammates to make a big shot. In American’s last two games – both losses – Carr has scored 31 points, but they have come on 12-of-39 shooting and he has turned the ball over eight times to just four assists.

Though the Hoyas have been running more this season, they are still deliberate on offense, averaging just 68 possessions per game (For reference, Tennessee and North Carolina average near 76). At just over 64 possessions per, American is a bit slower. While the Hoyas lead the nation in two-point field-goal conversions at 62.9 percent, a much better rate than American, the Eagles have made up for their pedestrian two-point tries by hitting 35 percent from behind the arc.

For two vastly different teams in terms of athleticism, skill and national prominence, the Hoyas and the Eagles have a common point of emphasis: turnovers. Both give the ball away one in five times down the floor and both have more turnovers than assists so far. Jones says that against an athletically superior team, minimizing mistakes will be essential to keeping his team in the game.

“We’re the kind of team that needs to play at a moderate pace at best. . We can’t afford to get into an up and down game with them,” Jones said. “We need to be opportunistic. . The biggest thing we need to do is execute our offense as well as we can and not turn the ball over to them. It’s tough to score if you don’t have the ball.”

Georgetown turned the ball over 20 times against a very good Tennessee team and coughed up the ball 17 times against Wichita State. Georgetown allows teams to go on runs when it rushes the ball past half court and forces skip passes that are not there.

American is the first team Georgetown will play this season with a common opponent. The Eagles beat Jacksonville in Florida on Nov. 22, 75-67 while the Hoyas played host to the Dolphins on Nov. 17 and slogged through the win, 71-62. Though both teams have otherwise useful game tape, the players’ familiarity with each other will make the game difficult to predict and coach.

“Its much like the thought process going into the Maryland game,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “You play a local team and all bets are off. Everything goes out the window. You forget about scouting reports, you forget about what you’ve seen, just because of the familiarity they have with us [and] we have with them. Much like the Maryland guys, their guys are over here playing in the summer, our guys are over there playing.”

While the Hoyas have avoided scheduled games with Maryland since the 1993-1994 season, in recent years, they have played several weaker local teams like American, Navy and Towson since the 2004-2005 season when Thompson took over the team.

Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at Verizon Center.

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