Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: First Night at the Jimmy V Classic

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - Touches and defense. Trying to get an early read on Georgetown-Butler at the Jimmy V Classic wasn’t the easiest task. Soon it came together. Greg Monroe was marginally involved in the offense the opening 10 minutes. Often he received the ball a good 15 feet from the basket. As the half wore on the touches increased. The second half, especially down the stretch, the ball made it to the low post to the 6-10 sophomore. It didn’t guarantee a shot by Monroe every time down the floor but getting the ball inside created opportunities, especially on the perimeter (Austin Freeman 18 points with 4 treys). Monroe finished with 24 points ( 9 of 20 from the floor), 15 boards as Georgetown defeated Butler 72-65.

Both clubs entered the contest with a mid 60s pace. On the evening Georgetown checked in at 71 possessions, Butler 72. With Butler trailing by double digits in the stretch the tempo quickened as the Bulldogs pushed the ball for quick three point opportunities. The final offensive efficiency numbers saw Georgetown with a 101-90 edge. The Hoyas entered the game with opponents only able to manage a 83 OE against the Georgetown defense. The four factors:


Defense on Matt Howard was exceptional. A 6-8 junior, Howard was selected Horizon League pre-season Player of the Year. He scored 9 points but was 1 of 9 from the floor. Butler was lead by 6-9 sophomore Gordon Hayward , 24 points 8 boards, who showed nice perimeter prowess knocking down four treys. Georgetown (7-0) now faces Washington on Saturday at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim. Coach John Thompson III said he scheduled these opponents to mirror a Big East week. In other words, quality opposition on Tuesday and again Saturday.

In the nightcap Pitt reminded us there will be nights like this. The Panthers lost a great deal from last year but got off to a good 7-1 start this season. Tonight they were simply beaten 74-64 by underdog Indiana who defended very well. The tempo was on the faster side.


The four factors:


Free throw production was inflated in IU’s favor as Pitt was in the fouling mode the last few minutes as they tried to reduce the deficit. Panthers did have a good offensive rebounding mark, but there were ample opportunities given their field goal mark. Both teams had excellent turnover rates. All in all a nice win on Tom Crean’s return to MSG. Crean is still cleaning the Kelvin Sampson mess but despite facing many opponents with more talent, his teams always play hard and are prepared.

Verdell Jones III led IU with 20 points. Ashton Gibbs, a former Seton Hall Prep star, had a nice return pacing all with 25 points. Dante Taylor, Pitt’s 6-9 freshman, impressed again in relief scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.

“Greg (Monroe) is unselfish. We have an unselfish team, It’s not how many shots a player takes, it’s how we play that matters” -- Georgetown coach John Thompson III

“They are good. Their system is good and they are well coached. Monroe is a player but they have other good players around him.” -- Butler coach Brad Stevens

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