3-point play: Hoyas-Elon preview

3-point play: Hoyas-Elon preview
December 16, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Matchup: Georgetown (6-2; Big East) vs. Elon (5-5, Southern Conference), Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Broadcast: TV - CBS SportsNetwork; Radio - 980 AM.

Location: Washington, D.C, Verizon Center

Last time out: Way back on December 7, the Hoyas fended off Colgate 61-55.

History: Georgetown leads 1-0. Last meeting, 91-70 win during 2003-04 season.

KenPom: Georgetown 26, Elon 144

Leaders: Scoring (D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 16.6), Rebounding (Nate Lubick, 6.4), Assists (Markel Starks, 4.9)

Defending the arc: Overlooked perhaps with the never-ending analysis of the "Princeton" offense, talk about the impact of Josh Smith and the game results themselves, Georgetown's defense is proving stingy once again.

The Hoyas rank second nationally in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 35.1 percent, and third in 3-point defense (24.2). Colgate entered the Dec. 7 matchup leading the country in 3-point shooting. Georgetown held the Raiders to 5 of 24 from beyond the arc and 32 percent overall.

"You guys have a tendency to talk about our offense and ignore our defense," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said generically to media members following Monday's practice. "Our defense down through the years has been pretty good. This group is getting there. We're not there yet."

Defending the perimeter remains a priority in Georgetown's next game. Elon ranks ninth nationally at 43.6 on 3-point attempts. In Friday's 80-63 loss at No. 21 Colorado, guard Sebastian Koch led the Phoenix with 27 points -- on nine 3-pointers. Koch is also not the only deep threat; five players have made at least 20 3-pointers this season.

"You play a team like we play tomorrow, we're going to have protect the 3-point line, " Thompson said. "We're going to have to be good with our closeouts. At the same time, we can't get spread out because when you get spread out is when they start to pick you apart."

Elon: Entering and throughout the season, Thompson talked up certain upcoming games. The kind fans look past, but a coach desires. Based on the head Hoyas comments over recent weeks all the way up to this week, Tuesday's matchup is the poster child for this scenario

"[Elon is] a team that's picked at the top of their league," Thompson said of the Southern Conference preseason favorite. "It's one of these games that you put on your schedule to see where you are."

Now, just because a perimeter shooting comparison was made between Elon and Colgate doesn't mean the scouting reports will be cookie cutter. While the Raiders almost exclusively work around the perimeter, the Phoenix rely on 6-foot-10 Lucas Troutman (16.0 ppg) for interior production.

"They're relatively similar teams, but [the Phoenix] have a good big guy down low," senior forward Nate Lubick said. "They're able to get [Troutman] the ball by spacing the floor. Colgate had a good big as well, but he was just a 3-point shooter. This guy is operating in the interior."

Troutman's interior work comes on both ends of the court thanks to his 1.6 blocks per game. However Elon's weakness comes on the boards. The Phoenix were outrebounded 54-27 by Colorado and they rank 350th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage according to KenPom.

The Phoenix had won three straight before falling to the Buffaloes.

No looking ahead: Following Elon, the last of four straight homes games against non-power conference programs, the Hoyas play at No. 18 Kansas on Saturday. That means matching up with heralded freshman forward Andrew Wiggins, that means facing a perennial Final Four contender, that means playing at legendary Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

That means a potential distraction with a game opponent ready to pull off an upset Tuesday night if given an opening.

"I don't think we have a history of doing that," Thompson said about possibly looking past Elon. "We're not thinking about Kansas yet."

What the Hoyas are thinking about is taking advantage of these early season matchups to help prepare for the season ahead, which does indeed include the Jayhawks.

"We have to use these games in preparation for Kansas," Lubick said. "We all know that we're playing them in less than a week. These games and every practice is tuning up, fine-tuning everything we need, not just for Kansas, but to get into league play. Being able to focus on the next game is something we've always been pretty good at."