The Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic is over and while the Georgetown Hoyas only split a pair of games, Patrick Ewing’s squad will hopefully forever carry “positive vibes, mon” from the trip. The court conditions were far from optimal in paradise but the Hoyas, led by Jessie Govan and James Akinjo, clawed back to send the game to overtime and close the door soundly—like the team they looked like in Champaign, Illinois.
The highlights certainly reveal some good things the Hoyas did against the South Florida Bulls in their 76-73 OT win, but there are plenty of miscues in another reel. The turnovers showed inexperience, the olé-defense revealed miscommunication, the big runs indicated needs for coaching adjustments—nothing really new to Hoya-fans who watched the first three games, but disheartening nonetheless. However, while certain spans of basketball action in Jamaica certainly felt like steps backward for Ewing, it is far from conclusive as to where the Hoyas’ apparent growing pains end and the complications of a first “neutral-site-multi-team-event” in the Caribbean begin. Also credit is due to coaches Mike Dunlap and Brian Gregory, respectively.
Coach Ewing might opt to leave those blunderful tapes on the island and argue that the toughness of the USF game’s final minutes is the take-home message in his “Learning-to-Win 101” crash course. Likewise, for us armchair analysts, it might be more beneficial to focus with the positives coming out of this past week—positives acknowledged by Govan being nominated to the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic All-Tournament team and the Big East naming James Cajones Akinjo the #BigEastHoops Freshman of the Week! This team has talent, depth, toughness, and a hunger, which might be enough to move up in the ranks of a tumultuous conference come 6 short weeks from now. Here are the links:
Check out a couple of courtside clips from yesterday's second half & overtime win vs. USF in Jamaica. ☀️ pic.twitter.com/VtiqBEKiOg— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) November 19, 2018
Jesse Govan had 23 of his game-high 27 points after halftime as Georgetown came back from an 11-point deficit to beat South Florida 76-73 on Sunday in overtime at the Jamaica Classic in Montego Bay. James Akinjo, who tied the game at the end of regulation, added 14 points for the Hoyas.
Georgetown is 4-1 after losing on Friday to Loyola Marymount in the homecoming for Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing, who was born in Jamaica. Govan made 10 of 19 shots from the field.
Alexis Yetna had 17 rebounds to go with 11 points and teammate David Collins added a team-leading 21 points as South Florida (3-1) lost for the first time this season in a game that had nine lead changes.
Jessie Govan scored 27 points, James Akinjo added 14 and #Georgetown rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half before beating #USF in overtime Sunday in the #JamaicaClassic. https://t.co/3RclKa9eP0— ABC 7 Sports (@ABC7Sports) November 18, 2018
Jessie Govan scored 27 points, James Akinjo added 14 and Georgetown rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half before beating South Florida 76-73 in overtime Sunday in the Jamaica Classic.
Govan scored 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting after the first half including a putback for the first points in overtime with the Hoyas (4-1) then staying in front. Akinjo’s free throw with 21 seconds left made it 74-70. Jagan Mosely added another free throw before USF’s LaQuincy Rideau banked in a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining.
James Akinjo has been flat-out exceptional. He is @GeorgetownHoops present and future.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) November 18, 2018
James Akinjo rescues Georgetown in Jamaica. Hoyas edge South Florida in OT. Bulls are vastly improved under Brian Gregory. Could be an AAC factor in 19-20.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 18, 2018
The beginning of the second half looked eerily similar to the LMU game, with the Hoyas seeing their lead flip on them as the team seemed to lack any offensive game plan, while the Bulls continued to capitalize on giveaways. Down 53-42 with their backs against the wall, it was the seasoned Govan who stepped up for the Blue & Gray, as the preseason First Team All-Big East selection hit a pair of triples and twice scored back-to-back buckets down low to help the Hoyas claw back.
Still down four at the under-four media timeout, Akinjo rewarded Ewing’s faith in him in crunch time yet again. First assisting LeBlanc on the basket that pulled the Hoyas within one and then hitting a jumper himself, the Oakland native gave the Hoyas a 60-59 lead with 55.8 seconds remaining. USF sophomore guard David Collins was fouled while making a layup to retake the lead, and his ensuing free throw was rebounded by the Bulls, with Collins again getting to the line with 13 seconds left. This time he hit both and the deficit stood at three when Akinjo, calm as ever, created space with a body shake before hitting from distance to force the extra period.
#BIGEASThoops Freshman of the Week - James Akinjo— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) November 19, 2018
➡️ Averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists
➡️ Posted 19 points and 7 assists in first collegiate road game (at Illinois)
➡️ Hit 3-point bucket with 4.9 seconds left vs. USF to force OT pic.twitter.com/uDoJuK4dT6
Take what you will from these stats, but I don't think anyone, even those who believed Akinjo would start, expected him to get as many miles under his belt as he has early on. Ewing is giving his freshman point guard the reigns and allowing him to learn as he goes. #Hoyas— Tyler Pearre (@tyler_pearre) November 19, 2018
Govan connected on a three-pointer with his team down five and just over two minutes remaining. Akinjo penetrated into the lane and found LeBlanc with a fantastic pass, and the latter scored a layup to cut the deficit to just one point. Then, Akinjo connected on a floater to give Georgetown its first lead in nearly 19 minutes of action. David Collins scored four straight points for USF, giving the Bulls a three-point lead with 13 seconds remaining.
Ewing called on Akinjo on the Hoyas’ last possession, as the freshman received the inbounds pass and was given an isolation opportunity on the perimeter. He dribbled to the top of the arc, hesitated, and drilled the game-tying three-pointer to force overtime.
Govan picked up where he left off by scoring on the Hoyas’ first possession, and they wouldn’t surrender the lead for the remainder of the game. Akinjo hit a layup to make it a two-possession game late, and Georgetown made its free throws to seal the comeback win.
Jamaica Classic— jim degeorgia (@jdmoose65) November 18, 2018
Georgetown is off to a 3-1 start, with its wins over teams ranked outside top 200 by 15-7 points; Hoyas are turning ball over 23.4% of time they’re #257 experience team (start two frosh, one soph) that is playing pace #54. South Florida allowed 59.7 ppg in
There’s not much good for Georgetown to take away from their trip to Jamaica. A win is better than a loss, but just barely, here. The biggest issue is offensive consistency. Georgetown’s playmaking was lacking for much of both games. Govan is capable of creating for himself and finishing set plays, while Akinjo has the bounce and vision to set up his teammates, even if his size and inexperience sometimes give him problems.
After that, the Hoyas really struggle to create offense. Sophomore Jamorko Pickett, whom we all hoped would make the leap into a secondary scorer, managed just 2 points for the entire trip. Mac McClung has his moments, but isn’t yet a consistent playmaker. Outside shooting also has been wanting, as Georgetown made just 8 of 37 three-pointers across the two Jamaica games. All of these weaknesses are heightened by infrequency with which the Hoyas appear to run set actions designed to yield open shots.
Escape from Jamaica: Georgetown Narrowly Averts Disaster by Beating South Florida, 76-73 https://t.co/6Wc6M4DZ3v— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) November 18, 2018
Ewing needs to create more opportunities for three-pointers….by people who should actually be shooting three-pointers. Our best three-point shooters are, in no particular order; Malinowski, Pickett, Blair, and Govan. Pickett and Malinowski shot zero three’s. Govan had four, but three of them were on the aforementioned fade screen play that Pat drew up. Blair had five, which is fine. Right now most of our outside shooting is coming of the dribble. We also have an incredibly clogged lane on most offensive trips because no one is afraid to let us shoot. Draw up some plays for Pickett and Malinowski, in particular, and you will see teams begin to respect the three. But they need to be spot-ups. None of this off-the-dribble garbage.
Fan Analysis: Hoyas vs. South Florida Bulls https://t.co/WJFgFcUVo2— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) November 19, 2018
For his efforts, Govan was named to the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic All-Tournament Team following Sunday’s action.
“It was a great team effort,” Head Coach Patrick Ewing said. “It took everyone to get this win. We still have a lot of work to do but we will enjoy this and get back to DC.”
Govan led all scorers with 27 points, including 18 and five in the second half and overtime period, respectively. Akinjo chipped in 14 of his own to go with a team-best five assists. Josh LeBlanc (Baton Rouge, La. / Madison Prep Academy) grabbed a squad-leading 10 rebounds and chipped in nine points on offense. Georgetown shot 43.1 percent for the game on 25 of 58 shooting and hit 21 of 27 free throws. GU’s defense held USF to 36.4 percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers. The Hoyas outrebounded the Bulls, 42-40.
What a week in covering @CoachEwing33 and the @GeorgetownHoyas.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) November 19, 2018
Our @BIGEASTdigital team has something very special coming in the upcoming weeks that you will not want to miss on Coach Ewing’s homecoming.
Just landed in NYC - Happy Feast Week everybody! pic.twitter.com/edjOOXVVNT
A big part of the reason Ewing said yes to the eight-team event ... was that he wanted his team to see where he came from. He also thought the trip would resonate with two players in particular: sophomore guard Jahvon Blair, whose parents were born in Jamaica, and junior guard Jagan Mosely, whose father is from the island, emigrated to Brooklyn when he was a few years older than Ewing and will travel to meet the Hoyas on the trip.
“It kind of comes full circle,” Mosely said. “Coach Ewing grew up in Jamaica, went his own way; now he’s very successful and has come back to coach in Jamaica. It’s like my dad — he grew up in Jamaica, came to America, became very successful, and now he’s going back to watch his son play.”
|Basic Box Score Stats|
Defensively, perhaps the most disappointing observations have related to the Hoyas’ apparent lack of growth and failure to adjust in slowing down the opponent’s number-one offensive option in most situations this season.
This is important as Coach Ewing and the squad have until Saturday to figure out a plan to cool off Campbell’s Chris Clemons... if you did not catch him yet, check back Friday for more links...
Looking forward to having a Thanksgiving Weekend @CBBonFOX showdown in DC with my guy @tarik4turner! @JGovan15 and @GeorgetownHoops host the TOP scorer in college hoops, @idropcoldbucks (31.6 PPG) and @GoCamelsMBB on Saturday at Noon on @FOXSports Regional Networks. Can't wait!— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) November 19, 2018