January 20, 2014 - The last two games have been a nightmare for Georgetown's men's basketball program, as the Hoyas have lost in depressing form for supporters and members alike. Up next is Marquette, tonight at 9p EST.
During both the recent 80-67 road loss to Xavier and its 67-57 fall at home to Seton Hall, the Hoyas blew double digit, second half leads, 17 in the case of the former, 10 for the latter. It's as if G'Town can't close games in BIG EAST Conference play.
Possibly impacting that are roster reductions; junior starters, center Joshua Smith and swingman Jabril Trawick. Smith's status for tonight's game is unknown. Trawick's situation is more settled, as head coach John Thompson III has noted it will be "weeks" before the Philly native can return to action, due to a broken jaw.
Not having 40% of a starting lineup, and a team that was not long on experienced performers to begin with has created an attendant problem, that of extensive/extreme minutes. This is particularly acute for the backcourt of senior Markel Starks and sophomore D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera a duo that accounts for 45.5% of the team's scoring. During the last two games, Starks (15.4 ppg) and Smith-Rivera (17.1 ppg, 5th in the BIG EAST) have played 155 of a total 160 possible minutes.
Of course doing so, has provided question marks regarding Smith-Rivera's and Starks' ability to score in a game's final minutes. Couple that with foes scheming to make them less successful, and the need for others to produce offensively becomes important. For the record only two other players, senior Aaron Bowen[/db] (Seton Hall) and freshman Reggie Cameron (Xavier), both forwards, have mustered double figure scoring during these contests.
Fatigue could be playing a part defensively for the Hoyas. It makes sense, given the Hoyas couldn't stop Xaiver from going on a 16-0 run to close the game's last seven minutes, nor Seton Hall, who finished 17-9 over 9:23, with G'Town only scoring via the charity stripe. Of course dovetailing with these runs from an offensive perspective are again being tired and guys being called upon to score who previously haven't been.
Finishing games, managing fatigue and increased production from those in new roles are daunting challenges indeed for a team on a losing streak. Luckily for G'Town, Marquette (10-8, 2-3) also comes into this game with questions; having fallen at Butler in overtime Saturday, the Golden Eagles fly into Verizon last amongst BIG EAST teams in scoring offense.
Typically a stingy defensive unit - again the case as they are first in scoring defense - being last in the league in three point shooting percentage and standing middle of the pack when it comes to overall shooting percentage, 29.7% and 44.5% respectively, has put more pressure on stopping teams.
Will the Hoyas answer their issues favorably? Can Marquette prohibit them from closing the game? Watch on Fox Sports 1 tonight, or tune into Rich Chvotkin's radio call via Sports Talk 570 AM.
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