NCAA

Georgetown's win shows growth and room for improvement

usatsi_8957358.jpg

Georgetown's win shows growth and room for improvement

The final score indicates decisive blowout: Georgetown 77 Bryant 47. 

As opposed to their season-opening home loss to Radford, no drama existed as the Hoyas (2-3) led comfortably over the final 20 minutes for their first home win of the season. Yet there was little easy early against the pesky Northeast Conference program.

Sophomore swingman L.J. Peak efficiently scored 20 points and fellow sophomore Isaac Copeland had 13. However, Georgetown's offensive system wasn't crisp against Bryant's zone despite advantages across the board. All Big East selection D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera finished 1 of 9 on 3-point attempts and 3 of 12 overall for a season-low nine points.

Bryant (2-4) lost by 19 to Siena and 80-45 at Harvard in its previous two games. Top scorer Hunter Ware played in those games, but not against Georgetown due to illness. The remaining Bulldogs only shot 31.7 percent from the field against the Hoyas. However, they repeatedly moved the ball into good scoring positions against the Hoyas' man defense. Shooting 4 of 25 from beyond the arc combined with not having big bodies capable of dealing with Georgetown's length did the Bulldogs in.

"I thought that our man-to-man defense was not good at all," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said, "but I thought our zone was fairly effective."

Now, don't let the Debbie Downer talk fool you. A win is a win is a win especially for a team that started the season with three losses in four games.

Peak slashed and dashed his way to his most points since scoring 23 in his collegiate debut. Freshman Marcus Derrickson had 12 points and 12 rebounds -- and one technical foul during an early second half spat with a Bryant player that energized the home side.

Reggie Cameron's continued his impressive perimeter shooting streak with three 3-pointers. This victory also included the season debut, albeit scoreless return for sophomore forward Paul White, who missed the opening four games with a hip injury.

More good news postgame as coach John Thompson III announced guard Tre Campbell (illness) "will play" Tuesday against Maryland Eastern Shore after missing the last three games.

Overall, let's just say Thompson will have plenty to pick at as the team preps for Tuesday's meeting with UMES, otherwise known as the final tuneup before next Saturday's rematch with Syracuse.

The basics: The Hoyas couldn't separate from the Northeast Conference program until closing the first half with an 11-2 run over the final 3:42. Georgetown only sank three 3-pointers in the first half and two came in this stretch via Smith-Rivera and Copeland, who opened the second half with another one. They maintained a double-digit lead the entire second half, eventually pushing the margin to 31.

"I think towards the end of the first half, we decided to lock down and really focus on defense and running transitions," Copeland said. "That really worked in our favor.” 

Led by Derrickson, Georgetown cleaned up on the glass overall (47-37), yet essentially pushed on the offensive glass (11-10). "You could tell, (Marcus) he decided to go get the ball today," Thompson said. 

Marcel Pettway led the Bulldogs with 15 points.

Offense: Georgetown faces Syracuse next week. That means dealing with the famed 2-3 zone. Based on how the Hoyas fared against Bryant's version initially, room for improvement exists.

For the opening 15 minutes, Georgetown rarely generated open looks despite size and talent advantages all over the court. The overall ball movement lacked flow and contained plenty of side-to-side passing. They finished 43.3 percent from the field with Smith-Rivera's rough night weighing down the percentage.

As the game progressed, so did the ball movement. Similar to the previous three games, feeding the high post created shooting opportunities beyond the arc, specifically in the corner.

"I expected [Bryant] to play a lot of zone," Thompson said. "I think our guys moved the ball better. We stressed that we have to get the ball into the overload, into the middle an attack from there. We have to get the ball into the short corner and then attack. ...

Listed at 6-foot-3, Smith-Rivera didn't get clean looks in the first half, which led to the senior forcing some attempts. Meanwhile Peak made 6 of 8 shots from the field including his first 3-pointer of the season.

Defense: Again, by the numbers, it appears Georgetown guarded Bryant as desired. Not so much. Thompson credited Bryant's offensive execution with giving the Hoyas' man concepts problems. Nisre Zouzoua's layup had the visitors down 23-21 with 8:17 remaining before halftime.

Ultimately, the inexperienced Bulldogs missed too many layups, not to mention 3-pointers.

"They were good shots," Bryant coach Tim O'Shea said. "One time, I looked up and we had a couple freshmen and a couple sophomores playing, this is a big stage and I think maybe nerves played into that a little bit. I don’t know. .... I thought, again, we competed well."

The true highlight: Skateboarding bulldog for the win

Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

usatsi_10610094.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Derrickson tied a career-high with 27 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, for his eighth 20-plus point game this season and Georgetown beat Butler 87-83 on Tuesday night.

After Georgetown missed two free throws, Kamar Baldwin made a scoop shot in the lane and Sean McDermott stole the inbounds pass, leading to another Baldwin basket to pull Butler to 84-81 with 1:29 to go.

Butler had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but Baldwin's long 3-pointer was short and Jahvon Blair sealed it at the line at 4.5.

Jessie Govan had his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East). Trey Dickerson, a senior averaging 3.5 points per game, set a career-high in the first half with 12 points and finished with 18.

Kelan Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds to reach 20 points for the 17th time this season for Butler (17-10, 7-7). Tyler Wideman added 19 points and Baldwin had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

usatsi_10600460.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

A loss didn't prevent Virginia from climbing to No. 1 in AP men's basketball poll for the first time in more than 35 years after all.

The Cavaliers rose a slot to sit atop Monday's AP Top 25 despite an overtime home loss Saturday to Virginia Tech, part of an upset-filled week that allowed for plenty of uncertainty in the poll. The Cavaliers (23-2, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned 30 of 65 first-place votes to outdistance No. 2 Michigan State and rise above the turmoil that included last week's top three teams all losing.

Tony Bennett's Cavaliers had been at No. 2 before this season, but this is the first time the program has reached No. 1 since December 1982 — the senior season of 7-foot-4 great Ralph Sampson — back when the poll ranked only 20 teams. And that team fell out of that spot after its improbable upset loss to Chaminade in Hawaii, regarded by many as the biggest upset in the history of college sports.

Virginia looked set to reach the No. 1 spot after Villanova's home loss to St. John's before losing to the Hokies. Still, the Cavaliers ended up there a day after the NCAA selection committee had them as the No. 1 overall seed in its reveal of the top 16 seeds to date.

The Cavaliers — whose 12 previous weeks at No. 1 all came during the Sampson era — play with the top ranking for the first time since the Chaminade loss on Tuesday at Miami.

"I do not get too carried away with where we are," Bennett said after the loss to the Hokies. "I always say 'thus far,' and now we have to prove it again. ... Now we are going to get a chance to do it again and we are going to have to fight like crazy every game. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league and that is reality. If you are little off it is not enough."

RELATED: LATEST DMV COLLEGE HOOPS POWER RANKINGS

TOP-5 CHANGES

Michigan State (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) climbed two spots after a weekend win against Purdue in a top-5 matchup. The Spartans, who reached No. 1 for a week in January, earned 21 first-place votes.

Next came Villanova (23-2, 10-2 Big East), who fell to third after a five-week stay at No. 1 and earned nine first-place votes. Xavier (23-3, 11-2 Big East) inched up a spot to fourth and earned five first-place votes, followed by Cincinnati (23-2, 12-0 American Athletic Conference) at No. 5.

This is Xavier's highest ranking in its history, while Cincinnati is in the top 5 for the first time since spending a good chunk of the 2001-02 season there.

PURDUE'S SLIDE

Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big East) fell from third to sixth after losing to Ohio State and Michigan State last week. Those losses snapped the nation's longest winning streak at 19 games, marking Purdue's first losses since falling to Tennessee and Western Kentucky on consecutive November days in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

Texas Tech was next at No. 7, followed by Ohio State, Gonzaga and Auburn to round out the top 10.

RELATED: NCAA TOURNAMENT BRACETOLOGY

TOP RISERS

Rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina State helped North Carolina climb seven spots to No. 14 for the week's biggest jump. It continued the Tar Heels' wild swings in poll positioning, including a nine-slot drop last month and two other slides of eight slots.

Ohio State rose six spots to No. 8 after the Purdue win, while No. 11 Clemson was up five spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young had the biggest fall of the week, down six spots to No. 23. The Sooners have lost three straight and six of eight after Saturday's loss at Iowa State .

St. Mary's (15th) and Arizona (17th) both fell four spots.

NEWCOMERS

The newcomers aren't entirely new this week. Both No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 25 Arizona State have been ranked multiple weeks this season and appeared in the top 10, with the Sun Devils reaching No. 3 on Christmas Day.

SLIDING OUT

Kentucky fell out of the rankings for the second time this season -- It hadn't happened since March 2014 before this year -- from No. 24 after three straight losses. Miami fell out from No. 25 after losing at Boston College.

MORE NCAA: MARYLAND OVERWHELMED BY PENN STATE