Hoyas-Colgate preview: Watch out for shooters

Hoyas-Colgate preview: Watch out for shooters
December 6, 2013, 7:30 pm
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Matchup: Georgetown (4-2; Big East) vs. Colgate (4-2, Patriot League), Saturday, 12 p.m.

Broadcast: TV - Fox Sports 1; Radio - 980 AM.

Location: Washington, D.C, Verizon Center

Last time out: The Hoyas never trailed, led 28-16 at halftime, opened the second half with a 10-0 run and shot 61.8 percent in the second half for an 80-45 win over High Point on Thursday night. Markel Starks scored 18 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 17.

History: Georgetown leads 7-1. Last meeting, 61-45 win during 2005-06 season

KenPom: Georgetown 18, Colgate 190

Leader of the pack: Smith-Rivera may not have led the Hoyas in scoring for the first time this season on Thursday, but he is tops in several categories: points (18.4), steals (1.3) and 3-point shooting (51.3 percent; technically Mikael Hopkins is higher, but has only attempted three shots). The sophomore guard, who slimmed down during the summer, also ranks second in assists (2.7) and is shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 84.4 percent at the foul line. 

Consistency required: Since losing to Northeastern in the opening game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Georgetown has won four straight games with the last two at home. In both games, the Hoyas started strong, slowed before halftime and then dominated in the second half. Those lulls weren't an issue against Lipscomb or High Point, but could prove troubling going forward.

Starks, the Hoyas emotional and floor leader, sparked the 10-0 run opening the second half with a layup down the middle of High Point's defense followed by a 3-pointer.

"As a unit, I think we collectively understood that," said Starks about the team's instant energy starting the second half. "You know obviously some words were exchanged in the locker room going into half time, but even still, I think the guys kinda knew that we had to snap out of it. We gotta stop the first half is like a drag and then second half okay, now they look like the Hoyas. We have to get out of that I think right from the gate, because we have that ability to start and finish games on a high note. It’s not like we don’t have the stamina for it. We are a good team and I think that every game we have to get better and better, but once we snapped out of it and came out in the second half I thought we were pretty good.”

[RELATED: Hoyas defense throttles High point]

Colgate: After opening the season with losses against Wake Forest and Syracuse, the Raiders have won four straight, each by at least 12 points. There is no secret to their success. Colgate makes shots. Per KenPom, the Raiders rank first nationally in both effective field goal percentage and 3-point shooting (51.0).   

All five starters score in double figures and are a threat to launch from deep, including guards Austin Tillotson (64.3 percent) and Pat Moore. Senior forward Murphy Burnatowski leads in scoring with 15.2 points. The Raiders perimeter approach leads to few offensive rebounds and limited trips to the free throw line. Georgetown's pressure could pose problems for a squad averaging 15.8 turnovers per game.

Caprio: Even though John Caprio is no longer a walk-on, fans still give the senior - and scholarship - guard a rousing fan-favorite welcome whenever he enters. Caprio received all kinds of love from those that stuck around for the final minutes after driving baseline for an aggressive layup and rising high to block a shot on the other end. In seven minutes, the 6-foot-6 guard finished with a team-high two blocks and four points, making both of his field goal attempts. 

"His coach really hasn’t given him the opportunity to be on the court, maybe as much as he should have," Georgetown coach John Thompson said Thursday night. "I understand the fans are not in our practices every day, but there is nothing that Cap did today that surprise anyone." 

Former walk-on or not, Caprio is realistically the Hoyas fourth guard, though swingman Aaron Bowen can play minutes defensively. Most games that status means scant playing time if any as long as Starks, Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick are active and avoid foul trouble. At some point this season, that won't be the case. Finding minutes for Caprio now could prove key later.