Georgetown Basketball: Hoyas have look of entirely different basketball team

Georgetown basketball has a new style of play and a plethora of weapons to go to in 2016-17.

GeorgetownHoyas

105

Usc UpstateSpartans

61

One year ago, the Georgetown Hoyas were shockingly upset in double overtime by the Radford Highlanders. The opening day loss at the Verizon Center sent the Hoyas into a downward spiral throughout the rest of the 2015-16 season.

John Thompson III’s squad finished three games under .500, only won seven games in Big East play and failed to make any postseason tournament. It was the worst season that the program suffered through since 2003-04, when the Hoyas recorded just four wins in the Big East.

Those struggles look to be a thing of the past though, as Georgetown ran all over USC Upstate, 105-61, in their 2016-17 opener on Saturday at the Verizon Center.

Robert Morris transfer Rodney Pryor scored a game high 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting in his Georgetown debut, while four other players finished in double figures for the Hoyas. L.J. Peak recorded 14 points, Jessie Govan dropped 11, and Tre Campbell and Isaac Copeland rounded out the double figure scorers with 10 apiece.

While starting with a W is nice after what happened last year, this game wasn’t as much about the results as it was about Georgetown’s style of play. This looked like a completely different basketball team, one that is adjusting to the modern ways of college hoops.

The Hoyas pressed full court on made baskets and dead balls, using their length and aggressiveness to force 25 turnovers and covert easy baskets early in the game. With more athleticism, speed and depth than in years past, Georgetown is clearly intent on increasing the tempo and pace of the game.

They pushed the ball in transition, used numerous different lineups to create mismatches and took open threes early in the shot clock.

How well did Thompson’s new scheme/game plan work? Well, the Hoyas piled on 68 points (!) in the opening half and led the Spartans by 33 points at the break. Pryor had 24 points in the first half and the Spartans were shell-shocked by their opponent.

Under Thompson in year’s past, Georgetown was content to run their half court Princeton-style offensive sets and rely on their stout man-to-man defense. But their lack of team speed and inability to keep up while playing with two bigs became one of the main concerns in 2015-16.

Whether it’s Akoy Agau, Jagan Mosely, Jonathan Mulmore or Pryor, the Hoyas now have multiple newcomers that can impact the game in different ways.

There are still question marks that the Hoyas have to answer moving forward though. Can they press for 40 minutes against teams with more experienced ball handlers? Will they clean up their issues on the glass after letting USC Upstate grab 20 offensive boards? And is it possible for them to cut down their own giveaways (14 turnovers on Saturday)?

Again, it’s not surprising that Georgetown blew USC Upstate out of the Verizon Center. However, it is impressive that the Hoyas were able to live up to the off-season buzz and implement Thompson’s new assignments successfully in their opening game.

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