The Hoyas brought yet another win back to the Hilltop on Sunday night by defeating Coppin State 76-60. The score may make it appear as if the game was a minor blowout, but the Eagles faired much better than any other home opponent the Hoyas have faced this year. Georgetown failed to build a double-digit lead until Jonathan Mulmore sunk a free throw with 6 seconds left in the first half and never truly put Coppin State away until they went on a 14-2 run about midway through the second half that extended the lead to 17. The performance wasn’t polished by any stretch of the imagination, but there were some positive takeaways to be had from the game.
First, Georgetown got to the free throw line a season-high 36 times, a fifth straight game where that figure increased. Though the Hoyas shot just 66.7% from the line, their lowest clip of the season, the continued improvement is a positive development for a team that has shot nearly 76% as a group so far this year. Jessie Govan and Mulmore were responsible for two-thirds of Georgetown’s attempts on the night, as Govan continued his streak of feasting on smaller opposition and Mulmore was aggressive offensively. While I doubt Georgetown will see teams as foul happy as the Eagles moving forward, the team’s collective free throw shooting seems to be a coming together as a competitive advantage that could prove crucial as the Hoyas look to grind out Big East wins.
Also, we were able to see Jamorko Pickett recover from his outing against Maine by posting 13 points and having his best shooting night as a Hoya: he went 5-10 from the field, including 3-5 from three-point land. After scoring Georgetown’s first points with a three-pointer, Pickett seemed to settle into the game. He played more intelligently, limited his turnovers, and turned in a solid outing.
Let’s get to the awards. Sunday’s Game MVP is going to Govan for the first time since the Mount St. Mary’s contest. He again was dominant down low and posted a season-high 26 points and 16 rebounds. His accuracy from the free throw line – he made 11 of his 14 attempts – brought back memories of the 2016 season, when he was nearly automatic from the line for a period of time. A three-pointer was the cherry on top of a complete performance for Govan, who picks up his third MVP of the season. Pickett gets the 814Hoya MVP for bouncing back from his Maine performance.
The Play of the Game was Mulmore’s steal and transition dish to Govan for a slam (a word of advice on the Twitter video below – make sure your computer audio as down as a strangely loud scream sneaks its way in the audio towards the end). A true target never emerged for the student section during the game. Credit for that goes to the Eagles for staying in the game far longer than anyone in the arena, possibly including them, would have anticipated. However, there was a contingent in the section that was fixated on coach Juan Dixon’s positioning on the floor throughout the game, which I think is sufficient enough to make him the first coach to win the Target of the Game.
Next up for Georgetown is DC neighbor Howard, who played the Hoyas tightly last year over the last 30 minutes of play. While the Bison have yet to defeat a Division I program this year, are one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation, and return very little of their scoring from last year, they should be a good test for Georgetown. Howard plays an up-tempo brand of basketball unseen by the Hoyas so far this season that is led by freshman RJ Cole, who is averaging 19 points/game thus far and has reached at least 20 points four times. While the result should never truly be in question on Thursday, hopefully Georgetown can put together a consistently dominant wire-to-wire performance.