After the offensive nightmare that was its 37-36 victory over Tennessee on Friday, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Georgetown wants to get back on the court as quickly as possible. The Hoyas will have their chance Tuesday in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic against Texas at Madison Square Garden.
Georgetown (5-1) moved up to No. 15 in The Associated Press poll after its brick-filled performance against the Volunteers, suggesting that perhaps most voters had other plans that night, but the Hoyas aren’t making excuses for the ugly win.
“Sometimes your offense isn’t going, and you have to win games on the defensive end,” said junior forward Nate Lubick, who missed most of the Tennessee game after suffering an elbow injury but who will play against Texas. “That’s what we did.”
The Hoyas will have to shoot and rebound better to beat the Longhorns (5-2), who struggle on offense at times but average more than 40 rebounds — one of the top 35 marks in the country. On the other end, Georgetown averages just less than 33 boards, only outrebounding their opponents by a total of five rebounds on the season.
“We just have to be better at rebounding — that’s what it comes down to,” Lubick said. “People can say it’s our lack of depth on the inside. But we’re over 6-foot-8 across the board, and there’s no excuse not to rebound, and that will be a big key against Texas.”
Even though the Longhorns have a shocking loss against Division II Chaminade on their ledger, the Hoyas expect a physical matchup in New York.
“They’re big. They have a big team,” coach John Thompson III said. “They do a very good job of getting the shots that they want to get. I don’t want to use the word methodical, but they know what they’re looking for, and they make sure they execute and they get those shots. We have to be prepared for a little bit of everything.”
The Longhorns run a flex offense, which relies on cuts across the top of the key and down screens to help create a “pick the picker” effect. It can cause defenses trouble, but the Hoyas are confident they can handle the challenge.
“We ran the flex in high school,” sophomore forward Greg Whittington said. “I know how to defend it. They have different options they can do, but if we stay poised and communicate, we should be able to work through it.”
Even after its debacle against Tennessee, when no players scored in double figures for the first time since 1952, the Hoyas are still 22nd in the country in field goal percentage at 48.4 percent. Georgetown expects to return to its effective shooting ways after several intense practices.
“Nobody was hot, nobody was on,” guard Markel Starks said. “On any given night, someone can score big. We all looked at the tape and had people say this and that about the game, but we got the win and we’re moving forward.”
The Hoyas will play this game in a familiar place, as they’ve squared off in the Garden many times over the years in the Big East tournament. While the game is classified as a neutral-site game, several Hoyas consider the Garden a home away from home.
“I’m pretty comfortable in the Garden, and our veterans are as well,” Starks said. “It’s going to be a road game but also a home game in a way.”