No. 15 Georgetown seeks rebounding effort against Texas

NateLubick

No. 15 Georgetown seeks rebounding effort against Texas

Georgetown's 37-36 scoring-challenged win over Tennessee proved the Hoyas could triumph with minimal, truly minimal offense - at least when paired with a tenacious defensive effort. Considering the number of good looks generated against the Volunteers that went astray, Friday's performance does not have the look of a concerning trend - at least if the starry forward combo of Otto Porter and Greg Whittington stay on the court.

One dynamic that has stuck around longer than desired for the 15th ranked Hoyas involves the rebounding battle. Despite good length across the starting lineup, Georgetown has rarely had a comfortable edge on the glass this season and against its three recent power conference opponents, none at all.

The Hoyas (5-1) finished victorious in two of those three games with the only blemish an overtime-loss against top-ranked Indiana. However, a similar rebounding scenario could prove problematic Tuesday night (7:00 p.m.) against a burly Texas squad at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic.

Tennessee finished with a 37-29 rebounding advantage, including 10 offensive boards. Indiana ended up 33-28, UCLA 40-31. Even against overmatched an undersized Liberty in the season's second game, Georgetown's final margin was just two, 29-27.

"We just have to be better at rebounding," junior forward Nate Lubick said following Monday's practice. "People can say it's our lack of depth inside, but we're over 6-foot-8 across the [starting lineup] so there is no excuse not to rebound. That's going to be a big key to [Tuesday's] game against Texas. They are very big and rebound the ball very well."

Indeed they do. The Longhorns (5-2) stand as one of the nation's better rebounding teams. Six players average at least four rebounds per game including 6-foot-4 guard and leading scorer Sheldon McClellan (17.0 ppg). Paced by wide-bodied big men Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley, Texas is averaging 40.7 per contest or seven more than the Hoyas.

"They have a big team," Thompson stated. Asked how his team can reverse its recent rebounding deficiencies against a formidable Texas lineup, the coach bluntly stated, "Box out and go get the ball. It's not rocket science."

Simple enough, as is the importance of corralling those misses.

"Rebounding is the most important thing," said the stretchy Whittington, Georgetown's leading rebounder (8.7) and scorer (12.7). "If you rebound, you limit [other] team's second chances. If you rebound, everything flows."

The Hoyas imposing zone defense certainly prevented Tennessee's offense from flowing. The Volunteers rarely found opportunities inside and missed 13 of 16 three-point attempts. This scheme is largely responsible for holding opponents to 39 percent field goal shooting on the season. However, the yang to the zone defense's yin comes with rebounding assignments. Guarding an area rather than a single player makes impeding progress toward the basket of a would-be rebounder more challenging.

"It's definitely hard to rebound out of a zone, not having one [player] be responsible for boxing out," said Lubick who will play against Texas despite missing the entire second half against Tennessee after suffering an elbow injury. "That's going to be something we have to figure out because we're a team that plays a lot of zone during crunch time."

As for his injury, which limited him to only eight minutes on Friday, Lubick said, "I kind of ripped a rebound down and I kind of slammed my elbow on [Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes'] head. My arm just went totally numb. My hand went totally numb. I gave it a go, but couldn't keep going."

Thompson said Lubick, who has played in 71 straight games at Georgetown, was limited during Monday's practice, but both player and coach said the rugged forward would be ready for Texas. "100% percent better," Lubick stated.

Asked if his team's offense would be better following Friday's horror show, Thompson said, "I hope so. We've got to put the ball in the basket. I think we missed 17, 18 3-foot shots."

Georgetown finished 36.4 percent from the field, did not score a point over the final 4:10 and lacked a single double figure scorer for the first time since January 11, 1952. Of course, in those scoring and accuracy areas, Tennessee fared worse.

Notes... Despite the offensive struggles against Tennessee, Georgetown's 48.4 field goal percentage ranks 22nd nationally. ...The Longhorns continue playing without point guard Myck Kabongo. The star sophomore has yet to play this season over eligibility concerns stemming from potential improper benefits. ...The matchup against Texas represents Georgetown's final major non-conference opponent and away game until the Hoyas open Big East play Jan. 5 at Marquette. Starting Saturday against Towson, Georgetown closes 2012 with four straight home games. ...The 1952 game, a 55-40 loss to Maryland played in College Park at the Ritchie Coliseum.

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

There were high hopes for LSU at the start of the season. With the collection of talent the Tigers boast on their roster, there was no reason to think they could not challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.

Even my preseason College Football Playoff projections at the start of the season had LSU as one of the four teams to make the playoff.

SEE THE NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

The Tigers' championship hopes took a hit with an opening loss to Wisconsin. Now just four games into their season, Les Miles been fired and their playoff aspirations appear to be completely dashed after a devastating loss Auburn.

With Alabama looking as dominant as ever and what was believed to be their main rival already looking down and out, who else can challenge the Tide for supremacy of the SEC? Who else joins the Alabama in the projected top four?

Find out here in this week's College Football Playoff projection.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.