The competition gets a bit tougher starting Saturday for Georgetown, which will put its unblemished record on the line at Richmond. With Jessie Govan dominating on both ends of the court, the Hoyas beat up on three weak opponents, and could do the same to the Spiders, who are off to a slower than usual start.
Govan has flourished under new coach Patrick Ewing, averaging 21.0 points and ranking second nationally with 14.3 rebounds, and he is not alone. Marcus Derrickson has improved in just about every area, including scoring, rebounding and shooting, and Kaleb Johnson has come out of nowhere to become a starter and the third-leading scorer for the Hoyas, whose games against the Spiders and former Big East rival Syracuse are their only real challenges they will face out of conference. The Hoyas may have caught Richmond at the right time as the Spiders have opened 1-4 with blowout losses to Jacksonville State and No. 13 Cincinnati. Grant Golden leads Chris Mooney’s team in scoring, but he’s run hot and cold and will face a Georgetown defense limiting opponents to 34.6 percent shooting.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, No TV
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (3-0): Johnson, a 6-6 junior guard from Virginia, had trouble getting on the court under former coach John Thompson III, but this season has been a different story. After scoring two points in 11 minutes in the opener, Johnson played starters’ minutes in the next two games and responded with 38 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. “ I think the confidence from Ewing is the big thing,” Johnson told the media. “He always encourages me to shoot the ball. Whenever I got my shot, shoot it, so that’s a big thing.”
ABOUT RICHMOND (1-4): With Golden, a 6-10 freshman who was named to the All-Tournament team at the Cayman Islands Classic, likely to be matched up with Govan, the Spiders may need to look elsewhere for scoring. Freshman guard Jacob Gilyard has scored in double figures in four out of the five games to help make up for the absence of Khawn Fore, who has been eased back into action in the last two games after missing the first three because of a leg injury. “Clearly, (Gilyard) is going to be a very good player, already is a very good player” Mooney, who is in his 13th season, told the media. “Has too much on him right now.”
1. Derrickson produced his first double-double in nearly two years in last week’s win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.
2. De‘Monte Buckingham is second in scoring (12.0), and first in rebounding (6.4) and assists (4.0) for the Spiders, who haven’t played Georgetown since 1964.
3. Fore averaged 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a sophomore, so a return to full action would be a big boost for the Spiders, whose last 1-4 start came in 1977-78.
PREDICTION: Georgetown 77, Richmond 67