December 31, 2013 - Today marks the beginning of BIG EAST play, with DePaul coming into Verizon Center for a 5p tilt. Tickets are available here, Rich Chvotkin's radio call is available on ESPN 980, and FoxSports1 will handle broadcast duties. For the record, that cable outlet is televising the entire BIG EAST slate, starting at noon (EST).
Defeating DePaul joins legacy as motivating factors for Georgetown's Hoyas.
The Blue Demons, just off a stirring Chicago Land victory at hometown rival Northwestern strolls into DC with an 8-5 mark. Though senior forward Nate Lubick believes DePaul's last second win will provide energy for the Blue Devils, it's their defensive ethos that has him most concerned.
"They pick you up full court the whole game" he said at yesterday's pre-game press conference. It's not just their Diamond press which is of note, as "Once they get you into the half court, they are in the passing lanes".
Leading DePaul's charge is senior forward Cleveland Melvin, an impact player Lubick described as "a big guy whose very skilled", one that has "clearly worked on his jump shot" and "has the ability to do a lof things on the offensive end". Add being athletic to what Melvin, a Baltimore native, brings to the table.
Another local guy, Brandon Young - raised in Baltimore, attended school in DC - is also a concern to Lubick, saying the senior guard is "obviously a kid coming back to his hometown to play basketball, is going to be ultra aggressive, as he always is, against us".
That Charm City pair propels the Blue Demons, as Melvin leads the team in scoring at 16.1 ppg and caroms (7.5 rpg). Young is second in scoring 14.5 ppg and is the DePaul's leading assister at 3.8 apg.
The team has been bolstered by some new additions - Lubick acknowledged "they are bigger than they have been in the past" - including centers freshman Tommy Hamilton and senior transfer Sandi Marcius. Add fellow freshman guard Billy Garrett to the mix.
G'town (8-3) is paced in scoring by sophomore guardD'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 16.3 ppg, while senior point guard Markel Starks follows closely at 15.9, while leading the team with 4.5 assists each time out.
In Lubick's estimation, the Hoyas must also come together to set precedent: "New league, first year in the league, and it's my last year...to win the league in the first year is important. We have to set that tone".
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