Postgame thoughts following Georgetown's 74-63 win over DePaul Saturday. The Hoyas (10-6) improved to 3-1 in Big East play.
• Trailing 30-28 at halftime, Hoyas coach started swingman L.J. Peak and freshman center Jessie Govan over Tre Campbell and Bradley Hayes respectively. "They were playing well," Thompson explained. "Nothing other than that."
While accurate, it's a bit more big picture with the center exchange. The 7-foot Hayes, in the midst of a breakout senior season, is more of a classic, low post big man. Nothing wrong with that, though foul trouble limited him to eight minutes against the Blue Demons. Yet when Hayes handles the ball away from the basket, something Thompson tasks his centers with doing, he limits the offense.
That's no knock on Hayes. That's been the undesired norm for several seasons regardless of which bigs Thompson deployed. That's why Govan is a game-changer and a playbook opener. He sank his lone 3-point attempt against DePaul, improving to 8 of 13 (61.5%) on the season. Though only credited with one assist, Govan again showed a deft touch with passing to cutters from the high post.
Thompson discussed this with CSNmidatlantic.com over the summer and again after Georgetown's second win over DePaul since Dec. 30.
"It means a lot," he said of Govan's diversified skill set. "There's a whole plethora of sets and reads the last couple of years we've just abandoned because we don't have the big that can make that shot. ...It opens things up. His man just can't sit under the basket because he can make that shot. So all of a sudden the cutting and passing is open or they're going to give him those shots."
As for whether the 6-foot-10 freshman might start Wednesday at St. John's, Thompson wouldn't say, but he didn't dismiss the idea either.
"If you're asking me who is going to start the next game," Thompson said, "we'll see how practice goes."
• Peak coming off the bench remains good for the Hoyas because of his energy and penchant for foul trouble, though he only received one Saturday. He scored 11 points late in the first half when DePaul threatened to open a sizeable lead and finished with 17.
• D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera isn't a point guard, but a basketball player. That's a point Thompson emphasized when a reporter tried labeling the senior with a specific position. It's also true. "DSR" certainly isn't a natural floor general. He entered college with a scorer's mentality, one he's maintained during his four seasons.
However, Smith-Rivera's game has undergone an evolution in part because 6-foot-3 guard rarely play off the ball on the pro level, but also because that's what the Hoyas need. Against DePaul, the senior matched his career-high with eight assists without committing a turnover and while matching Peak with 17 points. Over his last four games, he has 25 assists.
"I haven't really looked at what his scoring is, but I think D'Vauntes is playing at a high level right now," Thompson said. "He's getting his own as well s getting other people a lot of shots. Pretty soon ...he's coming along, to get other people shots. "
• Isaac Copeland led the Hoyas in scoring earlier this season. Based on his impressive freshman season, this didn't come as a shock even with Smith-Rivera around. The 6-foot-9 forward has the size for interior combat and the feathery touch to thrive beyond the 3-point arc.
None of that is happening now. The sophomore missed all six of his first half attempts and went 2 of 10 against DePaul. After hitting a jumper with 6:50 left in the first half against Marquette, he went 94 minutes before his next basket, a 3-pointer one minute into the second half Saturday. Copeland matched Marcus Derrickson with a team-high seven rebounds.
• Georgetown attempted a season-high 31 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, the sixth most in program history. That's clearly a lot and probably too many, but at least the Hoyas sank 11 and still managed consistent trips to the free throw line. After taking seven in Tuesday's loss at Creighton, Georgetown made 23 of 32.
"Particularly in the second half we wanted to make a conscious effort to get into the paint," Thompson said. "For the whole game I think 31 threes were too many, but with that being said their defensive strategy is really pack it in the paint. With all penetration they were just clogging it in there, so the kick outs were open."
Other than Peak (3 of 4), Georgetown's shooters struggled from distance, including Copeland (1 of 6), Smith-Rivera (2 of 8), Cameron (2 of 7) and Derrickson (1 of 3). Waiting for a perfect look hurt at times and led to shots late in the shot clock.
• Thompson said the plan involved using 1-2-2 zone looks mixed in with some 3/4 court traps. DePaul shot under 31 percent (8 of 26) in the second half and 35.7 percent overall. "I think we did pretty good," Govan said. "I think we were really focused on our coverages with their screens and I think we did well today."
MORE HOYAS: Second half runs lead Georgetown over DePaul