Following yet another close loss, this time at the hands of the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils (5-1), the Georgetown Hoyas (1-3) return home to face the Bryant Bulldogs (2-3). While the Hoyas’ record is less than stellar after four games, their performance against the Blue Devils was a display of the kind of scoring output they are capable of when the offense is clicking.
Turning to Bryant, Georgetown hopes to continue that momentum as the game is the first of two tune-up games before Georgetown’s marquee matchup against its rival, the Syracuse Orange (6-0), next weekend.
Bryant, a small conference school like Radford (4-2), to which Georgetown lost in its season opener, does not possess an above-average offense or defense. While the Highlanders ranked in the middle of the pack nationwide offensively and defensively, the Bulldogs are near the bottom.
Bryant allows nearly 107 points per 100 possessions, per KenPom.com, which ranks 304th in the country. It is also near the bottom of the rankings in terms of three-point and two-point defense, allowing teams to shoot 42 and 56 percent, from three and two-point range, respectively. The Hoyas will look to exploit a porous Bulldogs defense to keep their offense churning and avoid a dry spell, which ultimately cost them the game against the Blue Devils.
“We got a little stagnant. We stopped moving. Once we started moving again, the ball and our bodies, we started scoring again,” Head Coach John Thompson III said, reflecting on the Hoyas’ offensive performance against the Blue Devils.
Georgetown will also look to get back to a hard-nosed, defensive style of play that held Wisconsin (4-2) and its normally potent offense to just 61 points. A defensively oriented game should bode well for the Hoyas, as the Bulldogs do not do a good job taking care of the ball, ranking 327th in the country in turnover rate. With a defense that has been ramping up the pressure in the past few games, Georgetown will look to capitalize on a Bryant team that struggles to both score and defend at an elite level.
However, not unlike the loss to Radford, this game presents a potential trap for Georgetown. While sophomore forward Isaac Copeland has led the way for the Hoyas this year with averages of 15 points and six rebounds per game while also shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc, senior center and co-captain Bradley Hayes has struggled in the past two games and senior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has had a decreased scoring output so far.
A game against Bryant in front of the Georgetown home crowd could remedy many of the problems that have plagued Georgetown’s co-captains. Last year, Smith-Rivera carried much of the Hoyas’ offensive burden in late game situations with his ability to create shots off the dribble, but this year, he has been limited to just 13 points per game on inefficient shooting percentages of 41 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep.
Sophomore guard Tre Campbell will miss the game with an undisclosed illness, which once again leaves Smith-Rivera to handle the lion’s share of ball-handling duties and leaves the Hoyas without one of their best three-point threats.
“Coach just tells everybody to be ready, and we need everybody to perform,” Smith-Rivera said of the impact of Campbell’s absence on the team.
However, sophomore forward Paul White, who has missed the entire season thus far with a hip injury, will make his debut Saturday. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. on Fox Sports 2.