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

Hoyas Will Need to Contain Dynamic Tigers in Rematch

Last year, Memphis beat Georgetown in Tennessee on its strength and length, outrebounding the Hoyas 43-30 and, at times, overwhelming Georgetown with speed and aggression in an 85-71 win.

“They were good last year, they were really good,” senior guard Jessie Sapp said. “They had different pieces. This year they’re a different team with their different look.”

One carry over for the No. 17 Tigers (5-1) will be a dynamic young scoring guard. Last year Derrick Rose put up 18 points against the No. 19 Hoyas (6-1). Rose went on to be top pick in that year’s NBA draft and is averaging 18 points for the Chicago Bulls through 21 games. This year, top-rated freshman Tyreke Evans is the playmaker for Memphis. Evans is scoring 16 points per for the Tigers while averaging just 24 minutes of action. Sapp will have the primary responsibility of defending Evans.

While Evans’ numbers look imposing, he has done most of his damage off the drive while struggling from the floor. In the Tigers’ 63-58 loss to Xavier this season, the Musketeers played a combination of zone and loose man-to-man defense to take away driving lanes, forcing Memphis to shoot. The Tigers made just 33 percent of their shots from the floor and half of their free throws. Evans was 4-of-16 from the floor and missed five of his six three-point tries.

“It is going to be an interesting job,” Sapp said of guarding Evans. “He’s a good player, but I don’t think it’s anything I haven’t seen before playing four years of college basketball plus street ball and all that stuff. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before so I think I’ll do fine.”

Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III believes that a big part of last year’s loss and a point of emphasis for tomorrow’s game will be making good decisions. Memphis is capable, because of the length of its perimeter players and their speed to force teams to play faster than they would like, taking and missing bad shots.

“They turn your turnovers and missed shots and your poor decisions into points quickly,” Thompson said. “If we can limit our errors, we can possibly slow down their strength.”

On offense, Memphis’ strength is exploiting mismatches and creating good one-on-one opportunities. The Tigers drive more often than the Hoyas, take more shots and score more points, but they also play smothering defense. Georgetown is shooting seven percentage points better than Memphis from the field and 12 points better from the free-throw line, but Memphis has more blocks and steals than Georgetown despite playing one fewer game so far.

Despite the change of venue and personnel from last year’s meeting, Memphis is still Memphis and Georgetown is still Georgetown. Thompson thinks the game may be played at a faster pace than most Georgetown games, but the game will not be dictated based on how fast his team plays.

“I don’t mind getting sped up,” he said. “I think it’s important to make sure we’re getting the right shots when we’re playing at that pace. . There’s a difference between playing fast and taking tough, contested shots and playing fast and getting easy open shots.”

Last year, Georgetown did much more of the former and lost. This year’s team is better suited to play a more up-tempo style, but it has not been tested yet against a team with the talent, coaching and athletes of Memphis.

emphis Head Coach, John Calipari, is expecting a game much like last year’s. Though Memphis pulled away late last December, Georgetown did have an eight-point lead during the first half and was out of the game only after Memphis went on a ferocious run after halftime.

“They just beat somebody by 100 yesterday,” Calipari told Fox, referring to Georgetown’s 100-38 win over Savannah State. “So this stuff is on. . Look, they’re top 20. We’re not supposed to go in there an win. Top-20 teams don’t lose at home.”

“What we’re going to have to do is go in there and play an unbelievably great game and bank one in, like Xavier did, from half court and run before they try to put more time on the clock, just run out of the building.”

Tip off is set for 2 p.m. Saturday and as of Friday afternoon, good, mid-court seats were still available in the upper bowl of Verizon Center.

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