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LINKS: Nation Notices Young Hoyas Against Illini

Pop Champaign for huge contributions by Akinjo, LeBlanc, McClung, and more...

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NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

If you have not read the recap and the analysis of the Georgetown Hoyas going 12 rounds with the guard-centric Illinois Fighting Illini in the high-pressure match #2 of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, be sure to check them (and the comments) out because the pieces truly capture the feelings that have swept Hoyas fans watching this young team come alive.

It’s not like James Akinjo, Mac McClung, or Josh LeBlanc were hiding in the first two games, but retrospection seems to indicate that they, Jessie Govan, Trey Mourning, and the whole Georgetown team was playing to the competition level—and perhaps even practicing a little for the expected defensive pressure to come.

The game in Champaign, Illinois was action-packed. The guards were fearless. The bench minutes and contributions felt significant. Both teams’ defenses kept elevating. Assists were a focus on both sides of the floor. And the three-point attempts were strategic and planned.

If only I had checked the casual preview and not spent the first 15 minutes of the game watching the Big Ten Network as GUHoyas had indicated... Here are the links:

Freshman Akinjo leads Georgetown past Illinois 88-80 | AP | MSN

Freshman James Akinjo had 19 points, including a key 3-point play, and seven assists, Jamorko Pickett blocked a shot in the closing seconds and Georgetown beat Illinois 88-80 on Tuesday night.

Akinjo sank a floater in the lane with 39 seconds left and was fouled, making the free throw to extend Georgetown’s lead to 84-80...

Freshmen were the story for Georgetown (3-0). Josh LeBlanc had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Mac McClung had a steal and reverse dunk on a breakaway to cap a 9-2 run for a 75-72 lead with just under five minutes left.

’’This game showed that our team has heart,’’ Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. ‘’It was a hard fought game and we could’ve easily have given up but we kept fighting `til the end.’’

Georgetown’s freshmen are up to the challenge as Hoyas top Illinois in hostile road test | Washington Post

This college basketball season belongs to the youths.

Okay, that’s every college basketball season. But this one has been rather pronounced...

The Georgetown freshmen did not appear in a postgame news conference because they aren’t permitted to speak to the media until their second semester. They did their talking on the court instead.

McClung’s steal and breakaway dunk exemplified the type of flashy, electrifying plays the young players — on both sides of the court — came up with all night... At one point in the first half, Akinjo snatched the ball out of an Illinois player’s hands and sent it to McClung for a slick reverse layup, displaying a chemistry they fostered during the summer. McClung fit in his requisite dunk, a two-hand reverse. LeBlanc had a one-handed dunk of his own.

Georgetown (3-0) Table
Basic Box Score Stats
James Akinjo 36 6 11 .545 6 9 .667 0 2 .000 7 7 1.000 0 3 3 7 1 0 5 3 19
Jessie Govan 32 4 7 .571 3 5 .600 1 2 .500 2 2 1.000 0 6 6 2 0 0 0 2 11
Matthew McClung 28 6 14 .429 6 10 .600 0 4 .000 0 0 2 1 3 4 2 0 3 3 12
Trey Mourning 27 1 3 .333 1 2 .500 0 1 .000 1 1 1.000 1 4 5 1 0 1 5 2 3
Jamorko Pickett 15 2 4 .500 1 2 .500 1 2 .500 0 2 .000 1 5 6 0 0 3 3 4 5
Josh LeBlanc 21 7 9 .778 7 9 .778 0 0 0 0 4 3 7 0 1 2 2 0 14
Jahvon Blair 13 4 5 .800 1 1 1.000 3 4 .750 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 11
Jagan Mosely 11 1 3 .333 1 2 .500 0 1 .000 2 2 1.000 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 4
Greg Malinowski 10 1 2 .500 0 0 1 2 .500 0 0 0 3 3 1 0 0 1 0 3
Kaleb Johnson 7 2 3 .667 2 3 .667 0 0 2 2 1.000 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 6
School Totals 200 34 61 .557 28 43 .651 6 18 .333 14 16 .875 10 27 37 15 5 6 22 16 88
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/14/2018.

Men’s Basketball Gets First Road Win At Illinois | Georgetown Voice

In the first two and a half minutes of the second half, the Hoyas extended their lead to seven before Illinois game back to take the lead 50-49. McClung and Govan made consecutive baskets to put Georgetown back up by three, but Dosunmu answered with his second three of the half to keep the Fighting Illini in it... Blair quickly stopped the bleeding with a three, but the Illini would continue to pressure the Hoyas, forcing head coach Patrick Ewing to call a timeout with eight minutes remaining and his team down four [NB: a really good timeout]. A three from senior guard Greg Malinowski, followed by a steal and reverse dunk from McClung put the Hoyas up by three with just over four minutes remaining and forced Illinois head coach Brad Underwood to call a timeout.

Georgetown vs. Illinois score: Hoyas guard Mac McClung throws down sick reverse dunk | CBSSports

McClung finished with 12 points, four assists and three rebounds, but he wasn’t even the most impressive freshman guard for the Hoyas in their 88-80 win over the Fighting Illini. Teamate James Akinjo one-upped him by pouring in 19 points, dropping seven dimes and pulling down three rebounds. He scored seven of his 19 over the final 218 seconds, including a critical and-one to give Georgetown a cozy 84-80 lead with 39 seconds left.

Georgetown tops Illinois, 88-80 | The Champaign Room

Without sophomore guard Trent Frazier (concussion), the Illini (1-1) had to rely on newcomers Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Ayo Dosunmu and Andres Feliz to lead the charge. The trio combined for 50 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. When the offense needed a bucket, it was one of those three to step up for the team — especially in the second half.

In Frazier’s absence — which Illinois head coach Brad Underwood did not put a timetable on after the game, saying “We’re all mercy of that base test.” — and in front of packed house, Dosunmu shined, scoring 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting (3-of-4 from three), leading the five Illini (Kipper Nichols, Feliz, Da’Monte Williams and Bezhanishvili) who scored in double-digits.

“I’m just upset with myself because I feel like the fans gave it their all cheering,” Dosunmu said, “and I couldn’t give them the ‘W.”

NB: Frazier may have made a difference, but it’s likely Ayo and Feliz would not have played the as much, or as well.

Ayo Dosunmu scores 25 points but Illinois falls short in 88-80 loss to Georgetown | Chicago Tribune

Georgetown (3-0) turned the ball over 22 times, providing the Illini with 21 points off the miscues. But the Hoyas still managed to shoot 55.7 percent for the game and outscore Illinois 11-2 on second-chance points thanks to their 39-26 rebounding edge.

“I was really disappointed defensively tonight,” Underwood said. “Just simple rotations. (Georgetown) ran very little in terms of a couple of plays. It’s help side defense, being where you’re supposed to be. That’s the difference between winning and losing in college basketball.”

Patrick Ewing Wants The World To Know James Akinjo Played With Nut, Err, Big Cojones After Beating Illinois | Barstool Sports

Georgetown Grinds Out Win at Illinois | Big East Coast Bias (SB Nation)

Akinjo, McClung and LeBlanc combined for 10 turnovers, but head coach Patrick Ewing will be impressed with the composure his freshmen showed on the road in a tough environment.

Georgetown closes the door on Illinois for 88-80 win | Herald & Review

“Give Georgetown a lot of credit,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “They made every play when they needed to make it. The 50-50 balls, rebounding and some of the things they did was huge in giving them second opportunities.”

Illinois (1-1) trailed by one, 79-78, with 2:16 left in the game before a 9-2 Georgetown run sealed the game.

”I thought it was a great win to beat a very good, quality team on the road,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “My guys showed a lot of heart and courage. It was a nip and tuck game and we were able to pull it out at the end.”