Images From Argentina Training

The Argentina National Team took to Shaw Field for an hour long training session Tuesday afternoon. The star-studded roster for Argentina’s upcoming friendly against El Salvador includes members of Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was, of course, the center of the crowd’s attention. After training, he stayed to sign autographs and greet fans.

With players in the midst of their club seasons, most of the drills focused on building chemistry and understanding between the players instead of asking them to build conditioning or certain skills. At one point, Manager Gerardo Martino judged races between teams of players who had to run while collectively preventing a ball from hitting the ground. The losers had to do 10 sit-ups.

Argentina will practice on campus several more times before taking on El Salvador March 28.

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Georgetown Makes Debut in Top 15

After receiving votes for last week but ultimately falling short of a top-20 ranking, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team broke into the polls this week, claiming the No. 14 spot.

The Hoyas have not been ranked 14th or higher since 2009.

Georgetown’s ranking comes after a week of two important victories: a 13-12 win over then-No. 14 Loyola and a 10-9 win over then-No. 9 Marquette. Georgetown handed Marquette its first loss of the 2015 season, ending its seven-game win streak.

The Hoyas have a full week to practice before they face a tough conference rival in No. 5 Denver on Saturday. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET in Denver.

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Hoyas Must Watch Out For Wright, Taylor in Second-Round Game

The Hoya talked with Griffin Adams, sports editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle, about Georgetown’s second-round matchup in the NCAA tournament. This is what he had to say about fifth-seeded Utah (25-8, 13-5 Pac 12).

What is it that makes Delon Wright such a good player?

When talking about the best players in the nation, Delon Wright’s name has to be mentioned. Thanks to his wide variety of skills, Wright makes plays that sometimes his teammates and coaches don’t even see coming. Wright has become one of the smartest players in the country in his time at Utah, and that’s what really separates him from the rest of the field. The Wooden Award candidate seems to always make the right play, and when he does make a mistake or turn the ball over, most are shocked.

Wright can pass, dribble, penetrate and finish at the rim with ease, as evidenced by his 52.3 field-goal percentage. One knock on Wright heading into this season was that he couldn’t shoot from behind the arc, and while he hasn’t exactly shot lights out from deep this season, Wright has improved his three-point percentage to a respectable 36 percent. Basically, there’s no simple solution when trying to stop Wright, and I feel bad for a coach who has to gameplan against him.

What types of team has Utah had success against this season? What time of team has it struggled with?

Looking at Utah’s losses, most of them were close games that were lost in the closing minutes. But the one time the Utes got absolutely run out of the gym was against Arizona in Tucson earlier in the season. The reason why the Runnin’ Utes struggled so mightily against the Wildcats was due to the physicality of the opponent. Utah boasts two seven-footers in Jakob Poeltl and Dallin Bachynski, but this team has been regarded as a squad that can’t bang down low with the big boys. In that loss, Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley — and even Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson — all seemed like superior rebounders to any of the Utah players, and when the Utes don’t win the rebounding battle, it’s usually a toss-up when it comes to the outcome.

Outside of Wright and Jakob Poeltl, who are the Utes’ key cogs?

This question is hard to answer, as different players have stepped up for the Utes all season long. They are an extremely deep squad, and head coach Larry Krystkowiak isn’t afraid to opt for his bench when he sees something on the court he doesn’t like.

That said, one key player on this squad is Brandon Taylor. The shortest player on the roster, measuring in at just 5-foot-10, plays some of the best defense on this squad. Despite his short stature, Taylor never backs down from a challenge and has been placed on the opposing team’s best player multiple times throughout the season. Additionally, Taylor catches fire pretty easily from downtown, and when he is hitting from deep, this Utah team is hard to stop.

Portland is obviously much closer to Salt Lake City than D.C. How well do you expect Utah to be represented in the stands?

I think this game will be well attended by the Utes, and I think the crowd, even the non-Utah fans, might be more in their favor. On Thursday night when the Runnin’ Utes took on Stephen F. Austin, the Utah fans were the only ones to fill up an entire section when the game tipped off, but as the contest progressed, the upset-minded crowd in Portland sided with the Lumberjacks.

However, with Utah being the lower seed in this one, not only do I expect the Ute faithful to show up in full force, I also expect the neutral fans in attendance to side with the Runnin’ Utes to give them somewhat of a home-game atmosphere in Portland.

 

Georgetown and Utah will play tonight at Moda Center in Portland, Ore. Tip is set for 7:45, and the game will be shown on CBS.

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Argentina, Messi to Practice on Shaw Field Next Week

Argentine midfielder Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or (an award given by FIFA to the best player in the world) four times, won with Barcelona the La Liga title six times and the UEFA Champions League title three times and recently did this to Manchester City midfielder James Milner. So what’s next on Messi’s to-do list? Visit Georgetown, of course.

The Argentina national team is set to take on El Salvador in a friendly at FedEx Field on March 28. Needing a place to train before the match, Argentina’s soccer federation contacted Georgetown and organized a total of six training sessions on campus. All are expected to take place on Shaw Field. The team will practice this Tuesday through Friday and twice in the days after Saturday’s game, but the times of the sessions will not be made public.

Messi is not the only star player who will be on the Hilltop. Midfielder Angel Di Maria of Manchester United, forward Sergio Aguero of Manchester City and forward Carlos Tevez of Juventus are all on the roster as well.

On Friday, Georgetown will host both Argentina and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy, who visited campus for a preseason match back in February, will play against D.C. United Saturday and also needed a place to train before their match.

A number of Georgetown players will also be involved in the practices in a variety of roles. Georgetown and Argentina will not play against each other, but the chance to potentially train with some of the best players in the world is an incredible opportunity.

“Yesterday we were watching Messi putting the ball between Manchester City’s legs, and next week he’ll be putting it between our legs,” Head Coach Brian Wiese told Steven Goff of the Washington Post.

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RAPID RECAP: GU Advances to the Round of 32

PORTLAND, Ore. — In his appearance on The Jim Rome Show on March 18, Eastern Washington Head Coach Jim Hayford guaranteed his team would defeat Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But nearly 24 hours later, the No. 4 seed Hoyas (22-10, 12-6 Big East) handed his No. 13 seed Eagles (26-8, 14-4 Big Sky) an 84-74 loss at Moda Center.

“The kids brought it to me and said, ‘Their coach is guaranteeing victory,’” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “I kind of looked down there at [Hayford]. Thought he didn’t foot the bill [of] guys that usually guarantee victory. Our guys were fired up about that.”

Despite the 10-point margin of victory, Georgetown came dangerously close to dropping another game to a double-digit seed in the tournament’s opening weekend.

After holding a 23-point advantage with 9:16 remaining in the second half, the Hoyas went cold from the field and saw their lead dwindle to as few as seven points. But with time on its side, Georgetown, led by junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, was able to make enough free throws to hold off Eastern Washington’s vicious comeback and advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

“I like the way we came out at the start of the second half and kind of extended things,” Thompson said. “Fortunately we did that because at the end there some of those turnovers almost let — we did let them back in it. But we had enough to hold on.”

There were signs that the matchup against Eastern Washington would be trouble for Georgetown from the beginning of the game. Although Smith-Rivera scored a three-pointer on the team’s second possession, the Hoyas struggled to get into an offensive rhythm.

When senior center Joshua Smith picked up his second foul less than four minutes into the game, Georgetown seemed doomed.

Eastern Washington quickly opened a 15-10 lead on back-to-back threes by junior guard Tyler Harvey and senior guard Parker Kelley.

The Hoyas, however, were lifted by an unlikely source — junior center Bradley Hayes. After averaging only 3.4 minutes of playing time during the regular season, Hayes came off the bench and played the final nine minutes of the first half and recorded eight points and six rebounds.

“I’m real proud of Brad,” Trawick said. “We needed that boost he gave us. He came in and rebounded well and he also finished. That was a big spark for us, especially [because] they had a nice little lead on us.”

Meanwhile, the Eagles went cold from the field, only connecting on one of their last seven first-half attempts, which enabled the Hoyas to open up a 43-33 halftime lead.

This momentum carried into the second half. After both teams exchanged baskets, Smith-Rivera got hot, scoring eight consecutive points and extended Georgetown’s lead to 55-35.

From there, the crowd, which supported the Eagles throughout the evening, grew noticeably quiet as the Eagles went almost four minutes without a field goal.In spite of the double-digit lead it faced, Eastern Washington would not go quietly. Led by freshman guard Sir Washington and junior forward Jois Venky, Eastern Washington went on a 10-0 run to close its deficit to 13 points.

While two free throws by Smith stopped the bleeding, missed free throws and turnovers allowed Eastern Washington to close the Georgetown lead to seven.

“I’ll take most of the credit for [their second-half run],” Smith-Rivera said. “A lot of things that we did, that I did, [were] out of character. Most of my turnovers were in the second half, missed free throws. I’ll definitely clean it up. We’ll definitely clean it up.”

Georgetown will return to the court on Saturday when it faces the No. 5 seed Utah in the Round of 32. In its second round matchup, Utah, like Georgetown, survived a second-half run by Stephen F. Austin and won 57-50.

“So now, you know, we have a quick turnaround, but they do, too,” Thompson said. “So we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready to play.”

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Meet Eastern Washington Star Tyler Harvey

I don’t want to be the one to break it to everyone, but Eastern Washington guard Tyler Harvey is good. Really good. As in this-kid-might-be-the-next-James Harden-good. He does more than just lead his team and the nation in scoring at nearly 23 per game: he does it efficiently. Shooting a mindboggling 47 percent from the field, 43 percent from three and 85 percent from the free-throw line, Harvey is extremely efficient. He averages only 15 shots per game, nine of which happen to be threes. Nine. That’s more than Steph Curry is shooting per game this year.

Oh, and he is doing all this at an insane 64.5 percent true shooting percentage (a stat that measures a player’s shooting efficiency taking into account shots, 3-point shots and free throws), which would be second of all guards in the NBA, only behind Kyle Korver’s even more absurd 71 percent true shooting percentage.

The kid can shoot, his shot is essentially textbook and the elevation and extension he gets on his jumper is among the best in college basketball. Not only does he have scoring performances of 31, 34, 35, 39 and 42 (!), Harvey has also recorded 21, 24 and 25-point performances against Washington, SMU and Indiana, respectively, the last of which was an upset victory for the Eastern Washington Eagles.

To make matters worse, Harvey can also drive and finish with finesse. He is crafty around the rim and especially efficient. If he isn’t draining threes, he’s getting into the paint or just outside it. Layups, three-pointers and free throws — Harvey fits the Harden mold scarily well. More than that, he also possesses a deft passing touch. Though he averages a modest 2.6 assists per game, in the games where he doesn’t score particularly well (he had a nine-point showing last week, his only game of the season scoring fewer than 10 points), he dishes it out, tallying more than five assists regularly.

So how do the Hoyas stop Harvey? Well, flat out stopping him is ambitious to say the least; Georgetown can, however, slow him down and decrease his efficiency from the field. But the only way to slow down EWU’s superstar guard is with length, athleticism and strength. A combination of Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen guarding him the whole game should make him work for every single point; however, Eastern Washington likes to run A LOT of screens for Harvey and run him through them, which leads to plenty of uncontested threes for Harvey, something Georgetown already struggles to defend.

The solution is in John Thompson III’s lineup. There is no fighting through screens. There can be no hesitation. Georgetown must switch on every screen if we hope to beat Harvey and the Eagles at their game. A lineup of Tre Campbell, Trawick, Bowen, Isaac Copeland and Mikael Hopkins can switch easily with length and quickness across the board. On the other hand, L.J. Peak or D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera on Harvey could spell trouble as Harvey’s quick first step and excellent trigger finger when shooting may leave them off balance or unprepared. Still, both possess the strength to bully Harvey. So as long as Thompson’s squad keeps the best scorer in college basketball since Stephen Curry in front of them at all times, the Hoyas should be able to avoid yet another first round upset to yet another small-name school.

Regardless of the outcome of the game, Harvey will get his. And even though the Hoyas should pull out a comfortable win against an otherwise undermanned and undersized Eastern Washington squad, that doesn’t mean fans can’t appreciate watching a future NBA star go to work.

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