Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas kicked off the 2017-18 campaign by defeating Jacksonville by a score of 73-57. Key performances came from Marcus Derrickson and Jessie Govan, who combined for 40 points, 23 rebounds, and 5 steals, with Govan adding 4 blocks as well. Jonathan Mulmore dished out 7 assists and played strong defense, while Jagan Mosely came off the bench to contribute 9 points and drew 3 charges by my count. The Hoyas weren’t necessarily polished in their first game of the season, especially when considering their 18 turnovers, but they gave fans a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future. In addition to the four players listed above, four newcomers, including three freshmen, had an impact today.
The free admission promotion proved to be a huge success, as student attendance was strong and, from my perspective, helped contribute to the fun environment at the game. It wasn’t just the students who came out in droves to support Ewing and the Hoyas: the crowd turnout for today’s game was fantastic, especially when compared to prior games of a similar magnitude, and rivaled that of many Big East games since I’ve been here.
One of my favorite moments of the day was when Patrick Ewing was greeted by a standing ovation from the Hoya faithful upon emerging from the tunnel before the game started. In that moment, everything just felt right. Last year, there was certainly some contention across sects of the fan base regarding the future of the program, but in that moment when we welcomed Ewing to the floor, we all came together as Hoya fans. Collectively, we seem ready to move on from the past and are excited about what the future may hold.
Freshman Jamorko Pickett energized the arena early by draining a corner three for the first points of both his career and Georgetown’s season. The highlight of the game was a product of South Dakota graduate transfer Trey Dickerson, who wowed the crowd with a beautiful court-length pass to a streaking Govan for an easy transition slam early in the second half. Near the end of the game, Mosely nearly added an emphatic exclamation point to Ewing’s first win as a head coach through an audacious dunk attempt over a Jacksonville defender that would make former Georgetown highfliers like Rodney Pryor and Aaron Bowen proud. Ultimately, though, he couldn’t convert.
Jacksonville point guard Tanner Rubio was well acquainted with our student section by the end of the afternoon. To his credit, he started the game on a hot streak, scoring 11 of Jacksonville’s first 13 points. However, soon after, he found out that things wouldn’t come so easily. He was decisively stuffed on multiple occasions when trying to score close to the basket and heard it from the students every time he ventured inside the three point line for the rest of the game. Upon returning to the court at the conclusion of halftime, some students curiously asked the undersized point guard if he was in fact as tall as his listed height of 6’0”, but unfortunately they did not receive an answer. After his initial outburst, Rubio was held to just 4 points for the remainder of the game.
Ewing had quite the collection of supporters at The Vault to witness his head coaching debut: in addition to the large crowd, Georgetown legends Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, former coach and coaching mentor Jeff Van Gundy, and Michael Jordan himself were in the building on Sunday afternoon. Though seeing Jordan at a Georgetown game was awesome, I personally would have much rather seen him attend Wednesday’s upcoming game against Mount St. Mary’s, when we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the release of Space Jam on Monstars Night.
This is a picture of MICHAEL JORDAN with the undefeated Georgetown Hoyas. pic.twitter.com/gdR2GqW3tB— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) November 12, 2017
Overall, all is well on the Hilltop upon the conclusion of Patrick Ewing’s first game in charge. The returning players dominated today’s game, the newcomers contributed, and the Hoyas recorded a well-earned win. Jacksonville, of course, was the first of many opponents of a similar quality that Georgetown will see before the New Year. Hopefully, the team can build on what they started today.