Pandemic or not, Wednesday night was the between-semesters, limited-numbers game Georgetown College men’s basketball seems to face at least once every winter.
The Tigers had seven uniformed, eligible varsity players, two of whom had not played a nanosecond of prior college hoops.
GC expects to flaunt a deep roster fit to challenge for another national title in the near future. But for now, it took a yeoman effort from a two-headed monster to stave off winless Indiana University Southeast, 82-72, at Davis-Reid Alumni Gym.
“It’s a young group. It’s a new group, and they’re figuring it out together. We’ve got to learn from these wins is what we just told them,” GC assistant coach Barrett Meyer said. “It’s all things we can fix, where we can go from a good team to a great team. It’s the little stuff, and the consistency of those things. They do all the things, just not all the time. It’s a good group of guys. I think they’ll figure it out.”
Meyer led the Tigers (4-1) in relief of Chris Briggs, who was serving a mandatory suspension under NAIA rules after being ejected from this past Saturday’s win over Bethel.
The same duo who saved the day in that Mid-South Conference clash shone brightly again in this mid-week workout.
Derrin Boyd, a redshirt freshman guard, added six points to his career-best set in that contest with a new high-water mark of 28 to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.
His night was an equally authoritative mix of 3-pointers (four) and drives to the bucket with speed and size for his position that the Grenadiers (0-4) couldn’t counter.
“Physically he’s always looked the part. We knew he had the talent. We just weren’t sure how quickly it would click for him out there. Our first couple games it wasn’t great, but you can see him improve every day,” Meyer said of Boyd, “He’s the biggest gym rat on the team. Being shorthanded I think plays in his favor. In the long run that will help us to take a second-year freshman and throw him in the fire and let him figure out how to be the guy, be the main scorer.”
And it was another dynamic double-double for sophomore Kyran Jones, who chalked up 27 points and 15 rebounds.
Jones, counted upon to fill the shoes of 2020 NAIA player of the Chris Coffey, was early perfect from an offensive standpoint. He went 9-for-12 while sinking all four of his corner 3-point tries, and also was spotless in five free-throw attempts after mighty struggles there in his last outing.
“He’s like the silent assassin. I’m just now looking at his stat line, and he does it quietly. The whole game he just wears you down, wears you down, wears you down. He’s an absolute beast,” Meyer said. “(Briggs) and I talk to him about how last year he was an elite role player for us, and he needs to not be satisfied with that. It’s time to step up and take it to the next level, and it’s not doing anything different than he already does. It’s just being more aggressive and playing to his strengths more.”
While that pair provided roughly two-thirds of the Tigers’ scoring, they had plenty of complementary help from 6-foot-11 senior Brodricks “Buddha” Jones (12 points, five rebounds, four blocked shots) and sophomore point guard Jaquay Wales (10 points, seven rebounds, five assists).
Brodricks Jones delivered a thunderous dunk and a 3-pointer down the stretch to help Georgetown stave off a 13-0 IUSE run, one that cut an 18-point lead to five with three minutes to play,
“Turnovers were obviously an issue. The first stretch in the second half when we gained that lead, we were taking care of the ball really well,” said Meyer, whose team overcame 16 giveaways. “The turnovers in the second half were all late at a scary time. Credit to them. They got aggressive, got up on us and made us uncomfortable.”
Georgetown was missing Jake Ohmer, Michael Turay and Elias Harden, each of whom started two of the Tigers’ first four games. All three are considered major components as the Tigers try to reload after graduating Coffey Eljay Cowherd and Jacob Conway to pro ball in Europe.
Filling in admirably: Ohmer’s younger brother, Chad, along with Seth Johnson and Rashad Bishop.
“I’m not sure if COVID and no fans in the gym helps, because it seems like the same environment that we practice,” Meyer said. “Although Seth and Rashad, freshmen, and Chad who just became eligible for us, haven’t played much for us, and they made plenty of mistakes, I’ll give them a ton of credit for going out there and battling and playing hard. And we needed them. They didn’t look scared at all or deer in the headlights, any of that.”
GC trailed 18-12 out of the gate before Boyd buried a 3-pointer from directly in front of the Southeast bench. Kyran Jones tied the game with his own bomb before another heat check by Boyd — his third trifecta of the early minutes — put the Tigers on top.
That run reached a baker’s dozen after each of the Joneses delivered a relatively uncontested basket down low.
IUSE started and finished the half with a flurry of threes, keeping it a 37-33 contest at the break. Ohmer nailed a 3-pointer ahead of three consecutive trips to the rack by Boyd to help GC expand that cushion out of the halftime huddle.
David Burton led IU Southeast with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Wales Jr, added 19 points. Each hit three of the Grenadiers’ 11 3-pointers. The Tigers matched that total in five fewer attempts.
GC travels to Pikeville for a 4 p.m. Saturday conference match-up.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at email@example.com.