Patrick Ewing starts the 2018-19 season out 1-0 with a win against new perennial rival University of Maryland Eastern Shore. With a final score of 68-53 (and limited TV coverage) some basketball fans may be concerned that this game was close. It was not. The Associated Press curtly recapped that “[t]he Hoyas’ lead reached 19 early in the second half and they led by double figures the rest of the game.” The last 15 minutes felt like a scrimmage or exhibition as Ewing worked through some lineups against the Hawks’ mixed styles of pressure.
Accordingly, the box score does not tell the whole story about the young Hoyas’ performances, such as a new Hoya menace, but there were some interesting news and comments regarding the starting lineup, Kaleb Johnson, turnovers, and rebounding.
|Basic Box Score Stats|
The starting freshman guards made impressions as well. Akinjo showed off impressive ballhandling and poise running the point, falling into a pass-first role and dishing a team-high seven assists while notching two field goals, a pair of three-pointers, early in the first half. McClung was more eager to score; he made 4 of 10 field goals for eight points.
McClung couldn’t resist pulling out his signature move, but he did wait patiently to unfurl his only dunk of the night. It came early in the second half on a breakaway, when he whipped out a two-handed, behind-the-back slam that earned hearty applause from his coach and got the crowd of 4,189 on its feet (and was plastered on social media before the game ended).
Asked about the decision to start the freshmen guards over more experienced backcourt players, sophomore Jahvon Blair and junior Jagan Mosely, head coach Patrick Ewing was adamant.
‘That’s my starting lineup, he said. ‘They’re two terrific players. Nothing against Blair or Mosely, but that’s who I want to start.’
UMES junior forward A.J. Cheeseman on Georgetown freshman forward Josh LeBlanc: "He was hard to box out. He hustles. I like guys like that."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) November 7, 2018
Jamorko Pickett made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points for Georgetown, which has won all nine games in the series. James Akinjo had seven assists in 26 minutes and Trey Mourning made the first start of his career.
Georgetown led 31-21 at halftime with 10 points from Govan, who averaged 17.9 points and 10 rebounds last year. The Hoyas’ lead reached 19 early in the second half and they led by double figures the rest of the game.
’We’re going to get pressed this year, Ewing said. ’We’ve been working on it but we didn’t execute. We’ve got to move the ball.
Jessie Govan scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, while Josh LeBlanc added 11 points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate debut.
When the Hoyas were able to keep possession they turned toward the preseason All-Big East selection in Govan who scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half. While Govan was efficient when he got possession, his chemistry with Mourning seemed lacking [?]. They were often positioned too close to one another, making it difficult for Govan to create his own shot as defenders helped off Mourning.
According to coach Ewing, senior forward Kaleb Johnson has a sore lower leg, but is probable to return for Saturday's game against Central Connecticut State.— The Hoya Sports (@thehoyasports) November 7, 2018
“That’s what he does,” coach Patrick Ewing said when asked to comment on LeBlanc’s double-double. “That’s one of the reasons why I recruited him.”
Ewing, who doesn’t hand out compliments lightly, continued with his high praise of the Baton Rouge native.
“His energy, his effort, he’s going to be a menace. He’s going to be on the glass. He’s going to be getting steals. He’s going to be doing all the energy things. All of things that sometimes you don’t see on the stat sheet. He’s going to help you to win.”
Back-to-back three's from Akinjo puts Georgetown up 15-9 over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Freshmen look confident so far. So does Trey Mourning, who's a little rusty in his return after sitting a year. Started 0-3. #Hoyas— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) November 7, 2018
Kente on the court looking casual:
Starting tonight, I'm a big Georgetown basketball guy pic.twitter.com/bfAljSWUAf— Kevin Connell (@_KevinConnell) November 7, 2018
‘He should be poised and ready to take on whatever comes,’ Ewing said. ‘He has to go out and perform every night.
Last year was a tale of two seasons for Govan, who feasted on non-conference foes while being the primary focus of scouting plans during league play. He expects more of the same this year.
“I’m probably going to be the focus of a lot of team’s defenses, you know, and I gotta be ready for double-teams and having all of that attention on me,” Govan said. “I just gotta embrace that role and make the right play, whether it’s scoring or getting other guys involved.”