Thu, 02 Dec 2021

San Diego State bracing for big challenge vs. Georgetown

Field Level Media
25 Nov 2021, 05:40 GMT+10

Kaiden Rice's role is to knock down long-range shots, and he knocked down seven 3-pointers in the Hoyas' last game.

Rice will aim for a second consecutive strong game when Georgetown (2-1) faces San Diego State (3-1) in the Wooden Legacy at Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday night.

Rice made 274 3-pointers and scored 1,232 points in four seasons at The Citadel before joining Georgetown as a graduate transfer this season. He averaged 17.6 points per game last season.

Things had not gone as well for Rice as the Hoyas split their first two games. He averaged 5.5 points on 4-of-18 shooting and was 3-for-15 from 3-point range.

Things came together last Friday when Rice scored 23 points in an 83-65 home win over Siena. Rice was 8-of-11 shooting -- he made his lone shot inside 3-point range -- to impress Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing.

"He's an elite shooter," Ewing, the former college and NBA great, said of Rice. "I've had the opportunity to play against guys that were elite shooters: Chris Mullin, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller. He's up with those guys."

Rice's formula while working through the funk was to not let his confidence drop.

"I just kept shooting," Rice said. "I knew my teammates were going to give me the ball at the right spots, at the right time. My job was to simply knock it down."

Rice is fourth on the Hoyas with an 11.3 scoring average. Donald Carey is averaging a team-best 15.3, followed by Aminu Mohammed (14.0, team-leading 7.7 rebounds) and Dante Harris (11.7).

San Diego State annually has a reputation of being among the nation's best defensive squads, and this season the Aztecs are holding opponents to just 25.6 percent from 3-point range.

San Diego State's long-range shooting has been a weakness. The Aztecs are shooting just 24.6 percent from behind the arc while scoring only 64.8 points per game. They have yet to reach 70 points in their four games, which include a home win over Arizona State and a road loss to BYU.

Still, coach Brian Dutcher is encouraged with his team's start and is bracing for a big challenge from Georgetown.

"I know they dropped their opener (to Dartmouth). They're playing better basketball (now)," Dutcher said. "They shoot the ball, and they have good point guard play and obviously, Georgetown with Patrick, you're going to have good bigs. They're very balanced and they can hurt you in a lot of different ways."

Cal transfer Matt Bradley leads San Diego State with a 14.5 scoring average. Nathan Mensah contributes 11.3 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds while Trey Pulliam averages 10.5 points per game.

The Hoyas won the only previous meeting, 71-53 at home on Dec. 5, 1981.

--Field Level Media

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