November 13, 2017 - Yesterday’s 73-57 Georgetown (1-0) win over Jacksonville ensured new head coach Pat Ewing was successful in his first tilt as a head coach. Interestingly enough, he felt well, butterflies, Sunday at Capital One Arena.
“Yeah I was nervous” admitted Ewing, the program’s greatest player who returned in April to lead it. “I was talking to Jeff (Van Gundy, his former coach with the Knicks) before the game, and telling him ‘As a player, I never really got nervous’. As a coach, I got nervous. The biggest difference is, I’m counting on these guys (touching shoulders of Marcus Derrickson and jessie Govan). And as a player, I’m counting on myself”.
Against the Dolphins, his reliance was well directed, as pivot Govan and power forward Derrickson, finishing with 20 points apiece, adding 15 and eight rebounds, respectively. The tandem, who Ewing has charged much - saying repeatedly “In order for us to be successful, these guys are going to have to shoulder the load”, at least until the team’s younger players flourish - were a force.
Their presence was known to JU head coach Tony Jasick, in part invoking a strategy change – during significant portions of the first half, and almost throughout the second, Jacksonville deployed zone defenses, including an aggressive matchup variety.
Jasick revealed “I hope we can improve in our man” defense going forward, as that’s his choice defense. Against the Hoyas, foul trouble necessitated late first half zone usage; it was tough for the Dolphins to guard G’Town’s bigs. Sophomore guard Tanner Rubio (5 points, five rebounds) acknowledged G’Town “had a match up inside that was difficult for us”.
Ewing expected such, given the 6’10 Govan and 6’8” Derrickson’s size and varied skill sets, though admitted he “Didn’t know they were going to play as much zone”.
The Hoyas shot 45.5% from the field, 38.5% from beyond the arc, the last causing Ewing consternation considering the 26 long balls launched, instead desiring an offensive “mixture” including “fast break points…post points, free throws and threes”.
JU managed 32.7% shooting and a highly desirable 46.7% three pointer mark.
Did a tilt in which G’Town never trailed, paced after the 18:19 mark, went into intermission leading 36-20 and twice enjoyed a 23 point, second half advantage elicit a round of self-congratulations?
“Starting out, a game with 18 turnovers and they outrebounded us? Not really” said Derrickson, rejecting a pat on the back. “We have a lot of work to do in practice next week”. For the record, each team snagged 37 caroms.
Georgetown coughed the ball up 18 times (to JU’s 22). Those turnovers were a major issue for Ewing, who declared himself “Very concerned”, then identifying a current trend, of “We turn the ball over in practice. We turned the ball over in our first scrimmages. That’s something I’ve been talking to the team about and do a better job of”.
The boards were broached at halftime, with JU at that momentt having snatched 11 offensive rebounds. They finished with 15 such boards, while Georgetown was credited with just 11 total for the contest.
“Coach told us to put a body on everybody…the defensive possession doesn’t end until we get the ball” relayed Govan of Ewing’s halftime message.
Ewing did walk away with some personal gratification, salting away his first, head coach win. He took the game ball afterward, where he will “frame it”.
“It was a great win. Every win was a great win. I had friends and family” in attendance, Ewing shared, which “Meant a lot to me because they showed up to support me”.
The next chance for victory occurs Wednesday, when ever-dangerous Mount St. Mary’s trips to Capital One Arena. Tip-off is 7p EST.
Jacksonville (0-2), hosts North Carolina A&T, Saturday at 6p EST.
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