Wed, 29 Nov 2023

American takes aim at erratic Hoyas

Field Level Media
23 Nov 2022, 03:40 GMT+10

Georgetown and American are located less than three miles apart in Northwest Washington, D.C. But their basketball ambitions are not in the same neighborhood.

While the Hoyas play in the powerful Big East, the Eagles toil in relative anonymity in the Patriot League.

On Wednesday night, when American (2-2) plays in the 20,000-plus seat NBA arena that Georgetown (3-2) calls home, the game might have a chance to be more competitive than those in recent series history.

While the Hoyas have five transfers in the starting lineup and are prone to erratic swings, the Eagles are a stable outfit with four returning starters.

On Sunday night, American won its second straight, 58-53, at New Jersey Institute of Technology in front of an announced crowd of 478. Elijah Stephens, a 5-foot-9 guard, had 14 points, five rebounds and five assists, while 6-9 Matt Rogers added 12 points and eight boards.

The Eagles were picked in the preseason to finish seventh in the 10-team Patriot League, but 10-year coach Mike Brennan likes his team's progression.

"Our group, they get better at whatever we throw at them," Brennan said. "We see where we're at, what we have to improve upon, and the group responds."

Georgetown's inconsistency was apparent last weekend in the Jamaica Classic. In their opener, the Hoyas had a 10-point lead on Loyola Marymount in the second half before yielding a 29-4 run on their way to an 84-66 loss.

On Sunday, 6-10 Qudus Wahab powered inside for 23 points as Georgetown downed La Salle 69-62. The Hoyas were up by 25 points in the first half before the Explorers came all the way back to tie. Georgetown prevented another collapse by scoring the game's final seven points.

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing credited UConn transfer Akok Akok (10 rebounds, three blocks).

"The energy was led there by Akok Akok -- his fire, his ability to block shots," Ewing said. "I thought his energy in the first half was the reason we got the win."

The Hoyas have been paced by backcourt transfers Primo Spears (Duquesne), who is averaging 18.3 points per game, and Brandon Murray (LSU), who is scoring at a 14.5 clip.

Jay Heath is scoring 11.0 points per game after missing Georgetown's first two games awaiting clearance from the NCAA on his transfer from Arizona State.

--Field Level Media

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