Hoyas-DePaul preview: Clanking DSR still making plays

Hoyas-DePaul preview: Clanking DSR still making plays
February 3, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Matchup: Georgetown (12-9, 3-6 Big East) vs. DePaul (10-12, 2-7)

When: Monday, 9:00 p.m.

Where: Allstate Arena

Broadcast: TV - FS1, Radio - 980 AM.

Last time out: The Hoyas end their five-game losing streak in rather stunning fashion, knocking off No. 7 Michigan State 64-60 at Madison Square Garden. Senior guard Markel Starks kept his strong recent play with 16 points and the Hoyas defense helped limit the Spartans' shooters from all angles. Georgetown also received key contributions from Jabril Trawick and Nate Lubick, who found his aggressive side offensively.

History: The Hoyas have won 13 straight over DePaul, including earlier this season, and six straight on the road.

KenPom: Georgetown 59, DePaul 139

RPI: Georgetown 62, DePaul 107

Coaches: Georgetown - John Thompson III; DePaul - Oliver Purnell

Leaders: Hoyas - Scoring (D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, 16.8), Rebounding (Mikael Hopkins, 5.7), Assists (Markel Starks, 4.0); Blue Demons - Scoring (Cleveland Melvin, 16.7), Rebounding (Melvin, 6.4), Assists (Brandon Young, 4.0)

When last we met: Starks scored 21 points and the Hoyas kept DePaul at arm's length for the bulk of the second half for a 61-54 victory in the New Year's Eve conference opener for both teams. Georgetown's defense held the Blue Demons to 32.7 percent shooting.

DSR shooting: We'll take Smith-Rivera at his word that any rib injury woes are not affecting his game. That said, Georgetown's top scorer and outside shooter (40 percent on 3-point attempts) is off right now. Over his last two games, Smith-Rivera has missed all 11 of his 3-point attempts and is 4 of 24 from the field overall. His 10 point per game average is nearly seven below his season average.

Yet even though his shot is clanking, Smith-Rivera keeps churning out productive stats elsewhere. The 6-foot-3 guard led the Hoyas with eight rebounds and three steals against Michigan State. He also made 8 of 9 free throws. Over the last five games, Smith-Rivera is 28 of 30 from the line over his last five games.

Georgetown couldn't knock off Villanova without Smith-Rivera sinking shots, but finished off Michigan State despite more misses from its main point-producer. Not sure how many more games the Hoyas can pull off that trick, but as long as DSR keeps stat-stuffing, they'll have a shot.

DePaul: With non-conference wins over Oregon State and at Northwestern, there was though that perhaps the perennial cellar dweller would make noise in the Big East. Alas, the only noise generated by the Blue Demons has been thud. Tied for last in the league with Butler, DePaul has dropped four straight including a 77-72 home loss to Providence on Saturday.

Not having a full roster doesn't help. Melvin, DePaul's leading scorer and rebounder, will miss his third straight game on Monday due to an unspecified violation of team rules. Guards Billy Garrett Jr. (illness) and Charles McKinney (left ankle) have also missed recent action. Baltimore native Young is the Blue Demons top option, though he's struggled historically against Georgetown. Freshman guard R.J. Curington scored 22 against the Friars.