Butler in need of bounce-back performance vs. Georgetown

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With proud histories but declining fortunes this season, Butler and Georgetown find themselves in a similar situation entering Thursday’s Big East game in Washington, D.C.

Both programs are teetering under coaches in their fifth year at the helm. LaVall Jordan has a 77-61 record at Butler with one NCAA Tournament appearance, while Patrick Ewing is 68-65 at Georgetown with one trip to the big tournament.

While the Bulldogs (8-6, 1-2) are coming off a pair of 15-point conference losses last week, the Hoyas (6-6, 0-1) are reeling from a 28-point thrashing at the hands of Marquette.

After the loss to the Golden Eagles, Ewing was so distraught that he abruptly walked out of a news conference after he said his former coach, the late John Thompson, was “rolling over in his grave.”

“This is not what Georgetown basketball is about,” Ewing said. “Everybody is on notice. If they want to play, they’re going to have to friggin’ play. That’s it. Have a good night.”

There were extenuating circumstances in the Marquette game as Georgetown was playing for the first time after seeing four games postponed due to COVID-19 issues.

Georgetown’s Aminu Mohammed is averaging team-leading totals in points (14.4) and rebounds (8.5). Kaiden Rice (13.7 points per game) and Donald Carey (12.8) key the Hoyas’ ability to score from the perimeter, though the latter’s status is uncertain after missing the Marquette game for an undisclosed reason.

Bryce Golden (10.4 points per game), Jayden Taylor (10.4) and Chuck Harris (10.3) lead a balanced attack for Butler.

Golden and Aaron Thompson combined for 39 points, hitting 17 of 26 shots from the floor in Friday’s 87-72 loss at home to Xavier. The Bulldogs couldn’t contend with an efficient offense of the Musketeers, who made 55.1 percent of their shots from the floor and 45.5 percent from 3-point range while committing just six turnovers.

“Our effort was there,” Jordan said. “We just have to play smarter.”

The Bulldogs should get a boost from the return of rotation player Ty Groce and potentially Bo Hodges. Groce has missed the past two games in COVID-19 protocol, while Hodges has been out since the start of the season with a knee injury.

-Field Level Media

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