#8 Georgetown Takes on Vanderbilt
The Hoyas, whose preseason ranking was the highest for the team since 1995, struggled to put away Hartford on Friday before recording a 69-59 win. Georgetown led 54-53 with less than seven minutes to play before tightening defensively.
Despite the margin of victory, Hoyas coach John Thompson III didn’t feel his team had a letdown or played down to the Hawks.
“I don’t think our guys have any illusions of anything. I honestly do not,” Thompson said. “I think our guys know exactly where we stand. They know that we have to improve. No. 8 or No. 80 does not enter our consciousness.”
Georgetown’s frontcourt starters – Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert – combined for 33 points and 13 rebounds as the Hoyas shot just 41.5 percent, including 6 of 23 from 3-point range while Hartford played zone defense for a majority of the game.
With the 6-9 Green and 7-2 Hibbert dominant in the frontcourt, the Hoyas can expect to see more of that for the upcoming season until their guards can consistently hit outside shots to spread defenses.
One of those guards, junior Tyler Crawford, went 3-for-12 from the field, including 1-for-8 from 3-point range, in just 20 minutes.
Crawford, though, did have a team-high nine rebounds and also recorded two steals.
“He did jack it up there, huh?” Thompson said. “Tyler Crawford can shoot.”
The Commodores are playing their first Top 10 non-conference opponent at home since a 90-88 win over then-No. 9 Louisville on Dec. 9, 1992. Vanderbilt has won its last 10 season openers since a 71-63 defeat to North Carolina in the 1995 Maui Invitational.
Kevin Stallings’ team returns seven players from last season’s 17-13 squad, including junior forward and first team all-SEC preseason selection Shon Foster. He is the third-leading returning scorer in the SEC after averaging 15.9 points and will combine with Derrick Byars – who averaged 12.4 points – to form one of the top duos in the conference.
Vanderbilt was picked for a fourth-place finish in the rugged SEC East Division, but Foster feels the team’s improved chemistry has the Commodores in line for bigger things.
“We have definitely worked on our chemistry this off season,” Foster said. “We are hanging out more and getting to know each other more. You have to work on your team chemistry and value that team chemistry because it doesn’t happen by itself.”
Foster and Byars combined for 153 3-pointers last season, with Byars shooting 44.1 percent from beyond the arc (63-for-143) and Foster 41.5 percent (90-for-217).
The schools have split two all-time meetings, with Vanderbilt rallying from a 13-point first-half deficit to post a 68-61 win at Georgetown last season. Foster hit five 3-pointers and scored 20 points for the Commodores, while Green had 14 and nine rebounds for the Hoyas.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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