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

Basketball Over Christmas Break: Men’s Previews

With 30 games to play each season, the Georgetown men’s basketball team needs to put them somewhere. The Hoyas will take to the court seven times between the end of classes and the beginning of the next term. Here is a look inside on the competition.

Rutgers

In their first Big East contest of the season, the Hoyas face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Jan. 3 at MCI Center. Last year, the two teams split the season series, each winning at home. Historically, the Hoyas are 10-2 against Rutgers at home. Last season, Rutgers finished 12-16 overall and 4-12 in the Big East.

The Scarlet Knights will pose a difficult test for the Hoyas because of a dominant frontcourt. This season, senior forward Herve Lamizana leads the team in scoring and blocks, averaging 14.5 points and 2.3 blocks per game. Versatile senior forward Sean Axani joins Lamizana to make an experienced and talented tandem of forwards. Axani leads the team in steals, with 3.5 per game, and is tied with Lamizana in rebounds, averaging 7.3 points per game. The Hoyas may have a difficult time guarding against three-point shots, because the Scarlet Knights are shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.

Rutgers has started the season 3-1, defeating Lafayette, Buffalo and Temple. The Scarlet Knights’ only loss came to then-No. 15 Wisconsin, 55-43.

Boston College

Boston College visits MCI Center on Jan. 6, its first contest against the Hoyas since stating its intention to leave the Big East and join the ACC. The game is the Eagles’ first visit to D.C. since the 1998-99 season, when the Hoyas posted a 57-54 victory. Georgetown leads the all-time series, 43-25.

Over the offseason, Boston College lost Big East Player of the Year Troy Bell to graduation along with two other players. Sophomore forward Craig Smith has stepped up to lead the team in points and rebounds, averaging 16.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Smith was named to the All-Big East second team last season as a freshman. Smith is joined in the Eagles’ backcourt by freshman forward Jared Dudley, who averages 10.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Smith, Dudley and senior Uka Agbai, the team’s second leading scorer, give the Eagles quite a strong lineup of forwards.

Boston College has started the season 5-0. They beat Monmouth and Wichita State to win the Paradise Jam Tournament in the Virgin Islands. The Eagles will face a tough test when they play No. 14 St. Joseph’s before their matchup against the Hoyas.

West Virginia

In their last contest before classes resume, the Hoyas play the West Virginia Mountaineers on Jan. 10 in their first road Big East game of the year. The game is also Georgetown’s first game away from MCI Center since Nov. 23. The Hoyas have not lost to the ountaineers since the 1999-2000 season, running up an eight-game winning streak. The Mountaineers finished last season with a record of 14-15, but had impressive wins over Florida and Tennessee.

Junior forward Drew Schifino has begun this season as he finished last, as the Mountaineers’ leading scorer. He averages 21.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Schifino is joined in the backcourt by sophomore point guard Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, averaging 5.7 assists and only one turnover per game. Junior D’or Fischer, a transfer from Northwestern State, provides frontcourt strength to counter Schifino’s sharp shooting. Fischer is the team’s second leading scorer and leading rebounder, averaging 11.3 points and seven rebounds.

The Mountaineers have started the season 2-1, with wins over James Madison and St. Louis. They did, however, drop a game to the Northeastern Huskies, 91-84.

Davidson

The team faces its first opponent during this holiday run tomorrow at 8 p.m.

Georgetown will go against Davidson College in the fourth game out of six in a nearly month-long stay at MCI Center. The small Southern Conference challenger finished last season with a 17-10 record that ended with a surprise loss to VMI in the first round of the conference tournament. The Wildcats lost three four-year letter winners and starters who powered the team from the backcourt. To compensate, however, the Wildcats have the deepening talent and maturity of six sophomores who can build off of one season in the NCAA. The team will shift its concentration to the frontcourt, with junior forward Connor Grace stepping in as the team’s linchpin. Averaging 8.7 boards per game, he led the Southern Conference. He also has a light touch, which helped him drain 30 three-pointers last year. Supporting him under the basket is sophomore forward Ian Johnson, who contributed 12.5 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game as well.

While the team has a strong presence in the paint this year, Head Coach Bob McKillop places his faith in the team’s shooting ability from both inside and outside, along with the players’ aggressive man-to-man defense.

This season, the team is 2-3, having fallen to eventual finalist Texas Tech in the first round preseason NIT and then to North Carolina. While the losses hurt, the big name competition should toughen the team and help hone its skills. Even though the team is relatively new to the national basketball scene, it has begun to make a name for itself, reaching the NCAA tournament one year and upsetting North Carolina in another. Look for them to challenge the Hoyas, who have struggled to establish an effective presence at the post.

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