In a close game for over 30 minutes, Georgetown Hoyas finally pulled away from Appalachian State Mountaineers late in the game for an 83-73 win on Tuesday night. Coach Patrick Ewing had everyone suiting up and 11 players with 7+ minutes.
With Jessie Govan in early foul trouble, much of the scoring was left to the freshmen. Josh LeBlanc was, again, the subject of discussion regarding his “energy” and his role in the lineup. James Akinjo went without a turnover for most of the game and gave up two (4 assists), while Mac McClung had 3 turnovers and went 6 for 7 from the free throw line. Greg Malinowski had 11 points, all in the second half.
For the Mountaneers, Ronshad Shabazz scored a game-high 20 points, while Isaac Johnson scored 10 and recorded a personal best of 17 rebounds and Hunter Seacat added a career-high 10 points. It’s a familiar defensive story.
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LeBlanc popped because of his effort and energy, particularly on defense, even though it was his freshman classmates, guards James Akinjo (17 points, four assists) and McClung (14 points), who led four scorers in double figures. LeBlanc, a 6-foot-7 forward from Baton Rouge, was everywhere. He had 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for his first double-double since the opening game of the season, and he added three assists, two steals and a block. Hoyas guard James Akinjo tries to work his way to the basket against the Mountaineers’ defense.
“He still has a lot to learn, but just his energy, his effort, blocking shots, getting his hands on balls, getting offensive rebounds, putbacks — all of the things that he brings to the table, we need,” Ewing said. “And he’s the only one that we have that does it.”
FINAL: Hoyas 83, App State 73. This was close until the veeery end.— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) December 19, 2018
Akinjo leads with 17, McClung has 14, Malinowski 11, LeBlanc 10. Five of those Malinowski points came at the free throw line. He's done well off the bench this year, but it was the freshmen show again today.
James Akinjo made three 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Josh LeBlanc posted a double-double and #Georgetown pulled away late to beat Appalachian State on Tuesday night. #Hoyas https://t.co/3t1tjGEa5K— ABC 7 Sports (@ABC7Sports) December 19, 2018
James Akinjo made three 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Josh LeBlanc posted a double-double and Georgetown pulled away late from Appalachian State for an 83-73 victory on Tuesday night. The Hoyas (8-3) led 72-69 with 1:41 remaining when LeBlanc dunked off a pass from Akinjo, Greg Malinowski put in two free throws and Jessie Govan finished the 7-0 run with a 3-pointer for a 10-point lead — their largest of the game — with under a minute left.
LeBlanc is cleared for takeoff— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) December 19, 2018
There were some bright spots Tuesday night. LeBlanc, he of the seemingly limitless athleticism and energy, had 10 points and an equal number of rebounds to go with a pair of steals, a block, and three assists. That last number was perhaps most intriguing, as LeBlanc moved the ball with touch and savvy, notably hitting Akinjo for a huge corner three late in the second half. He also got the dozens of fans in attendance on their feet with a couple of highlight-reel dunks, including a borderline trademarked put-back slam.
Akinjo had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, showing off an ability to get his own shot even as he struggled with sometimes uneven decision-making. Carter used his extended minutes to score his first points as a Hoya, and generally looked ready for the opportunity he got. And Malinowski emerged from a first-half exile to pour in 11 points, all after the break.
Ewing in full, on lineups: “I’m going to play with whoever is going great at the time. I believe in everybody on this team. I think that anyone can come in and give us a big boost at any time. I’m happy with what I have.”— Hoyas247 (@Hoyas247) December 19, 2018
Would you like to guess who led Georgetown in rebounds? Well, you know it wasn’t Govan. Take a guess! That’s right. It was JOSH LEBLANC! Why isn’t he starting? Why is he coming off the bench. There’s no good reason for this to still be happening. He also had ten points for his second double-double of the season.
Govan: "We're an inside first team, and if we get paint touches off of post ups and drives, it just opens everything else up."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) December 19, 2018
Georgetown senior guard Greg Malinowski entered the game with 14:51 left in the half, and sunk a 3-pointer a little over two minutes after stepping onto the court. He hit two of his three shots from beyond the arc, and went 5-of-5 on free throws. In the post-game press conference, Malinowski said that he’d been working on his shots from the free-throw line, and that he wasn’t concerned with being put into the game so late. “We have such a deep roster, you never know who’s going to be playing,” Malinowski said.
Ewing agreed, saying that he would continue to switch up the Hoyas’ starting lineup. “Any night one of them can have a great game,” Ewing said. “I’m going to play with whoever is going great at the time. I believe in everyone on this team.” The Mountaineers had a brief revival with a nine-point scoring run about 11 minutes into the half, but only held onto their two-point lead for 35 seconds. The Hoyas pulled ahead and managed to widen their lead to 10 points, finishing the game with a final score of 83-73.
Govan on the difference in playing with Trey vs. Josh: pic.twitter.com/pytm4r1uxa— Hoyas247 (@Hoyas247) December 19, 2018
The Hoyas (8-3) used an early 6-0 run to build a 14-9 lead, only to see Holley respond with back-to-back triples to give App State (4-7) a 15-14 edge. Georgetown pushed its lead back to eight points at 28-20, but App State answered with the next eight points to tie the score at 28-28.
The Hoyas took a slim 44-42 lead into halftime. In the second half, Georgetown opened a 57-50 advantage. But App State roared back with a 9-0 run, capped by a layup from O’Showen Williams, to take a 59-57 lead with 9:41 to play. From there, the Hoyas scored 12 of the next 16 points to open a 69-63 lead. App State pulled within three points at 74-71 with just over two minutes to play, only to see Georgetown score seven consecutive points to put the game away.
The Hoyas held a slim 46-44 edge in rebounding, with the Mountaineers posting a 13-10 advantage on the offensive glass. The Black and Gold also tied a season-high with 10 steals and assisted on 16 of 27 made field goals.
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Ewing on Akinjo: "A lot people say that Georgetown is a school of just bigs, but we've had some good guards come out of here. I think both him and Mac can be one of those guys."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) December 19, 2018
It’s the first time a single Division I conference will represent the country in men’s basketball at the Pan Am Games.
”We are very honored to have been chosen by the NCAA and USA Basketball to represent the United States in this prestigious competition,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said. “This will be a unique educational, cultural and competitive experience for our participating players and coaches, and we look forward to working with Coach [Ed] Cooley to assemble the best possible group to carry the basketball flag in Peru.”
Govan on the Big East/Pan-Am games announcement (seniors are eligible): "That would be really cool. Anytime you get a chance to put USA on your chest it's an honor."— Hoyas247 (@Hoyas247) December 19, 2018