The Georgetown Hoyas beat the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans in overtime with the help of a combined 63 points from freshman guards James Akinjo and Mac McClung, who outscored the Trojans in OT. McClung, scoring 38 points, was rewarded as the Big East Freshman of the Week.
The offense looked good at times, including during overtime, but the defense continues to have its woes. Here are the links:
McClung came out hot, making three three-pointers in the first half. His fourth make from beyond the arc was the back-breaker in the extra period.
Ewing started three freshmen — forward Josh LeBlanc started in Trey Mourning’s place; Mourning was in concussion protocol after taking a blow to the head in Georgetown’s previous game — but McClung seized the stage. Georgetown’s record book does not include single-game highs, but the non-university-affiliated website hoyabasketball.com lists Mike Sweetney as the previous player to score 38, in a game against Notre Dame in 2003. “We’re excited to get the win, but we’re excited to get back, keep growing,” McClung said.
Akinjo added 25 points on 8-for-17 shooting, including three three-pointers, and dished seven assists.
ICYM Mac McClung’s 38 (and all the bad defense) https://t.co/D6CBjwON5N— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) December 23, 2018
He sank 10 of 21 shots from the floor including four 3-pointers, several assertive driving layups and a dunk to satisfy the fans familiar with his aerial work via YouTube videos. McClung hit 14 of 16 free throws, though the two misses in the final seconds of regulation kept Little Rock alive for a game-tying 3–pointer at the buzzer. His 4-point play with 46 seconds remaining in overtime, set up by a pass from fellow freshman James Akinjo, sealed the win.
“I just tried to stick to the game plan,” the deferential McClung said of his performance. “James did a lot of great things too. We just try and feed off each other’s energy. Akinjo, hardly a supporting player, had 25 points and seven assists.
“It becomes real fun,” Akinjo said of playing with McClung. “You get the crowd involved. He’s making shots; I make a couple plays here and there. It’s real fun playing with him. He makes it easier for me and our team as well.”
Attention future historians: The first words spoken by Mac McClung in official Georgetown capacity. pic.twitter.com/VED5yVTKgb— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 22, 2018
Mac Attack!— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 22, 2018
Mac McClung puts up 38 points in Georgetown’s win over over Little Rock.pic.twitter.com/c2eNt8KR3S
Kaleb Johnson has largely become a forgotten man but he came up big today. Not only did he cover the bigger Maric, he also came up with several key rebounds. “Kaleb Johnson came off the bench and played his butt off,” said Ewing.
But the day belonged to McClung and fellow freshman, Akinjo (25 points, 7 assists). The two freshmen have impressed Ewing. “They’re playing extremely well. They’re growing every game.” In the overtime, McClung took over scoring 10 of his 38 points in overtime. His four point play sealed the game in the extra period. When asked if he came out with an aggressive mentality, McClung said, “I just tried to stick to the game plan”.
This is how you win #NCAAB basketball games #HoyaSaxa! #Georgetown point guard James #Akinjo with two nice assists to #MacMcClung @McClungMac for bk to bk 3’s! #MacMania scores career high 38 points & Akinjo adds 25 as #Hoyas beat #LittleRock in OT 102-94. Nice Job @CoachEwing33 pic.twitter.com/s6gSOuZ9uq— Ash Vanderbilt (@AshVanderbilt) December 23, 2018
“Josh deserved it,” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said of LeBlanc’s start. “He was the next man up. Trey was hurt, and the way that [LeBlanc] had been playing, he deserved it.” ...
The second half began in chippy fashion, as Govan quickly picked up his fourth foul, and LeBlanc was called for a technical just three minutes in. Both teams struggled to match their first half offensive production, and with Govan, Georgetown’s leading scorer on the season, on the bench in foul trouble, the Hoyas were forced to look to other places for offense. In his place, freshman forward Grayson Carter played 13 minutes, while senior forward/guard Kaleb Johnson added 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench.
“We’ve got a very good team,” Akinjo said. “Everyone can play. So when our bigs get in foul trouble like today, we’ve got guys like Kaleb Johnson, Grayson Carter, guys like that who can come in and step up.”
McClung and Akinjo came through in the extra session making clutch shots and converting their free throws. McClung was fouled, while draining a three-pointer to put the Hoyas up 98-90 in the final minutes of overtime. Georgetown shot 40 percent from the floor and went 33-45 at the free throw line. McClung converted 14 free throws on 16 attempts.
McClung’s short memory and his work ethic are only going to make him better from here on out. Talk to members of the team or students at Georgetown, and you’ll hear that he’s the most dedicated player on the team. While other players go out on weekends, McClung is often in the gym working on his craft. He doesn’t partake in the Georgetown nightlife nearly as much as other players on the team do.
As they gain more experience, both guards are starting to discover what their fit on this team is going forward, and how they can play off of each other. McClung is the firecracker scoring guard who can attack you in different ways, and Akinjo is the floor general who initiates the offense and can also do a little bit of everything.
Little Rock got into overtime when Ryan Pippins drained a straight-on 30-footer at the buzzer to tie the game at 84... McClung, who’s previous career-high was 18 points, finished the game 14 of 16 from the line...
The Hoyas were 11 of 11 from the line in overtime. Georgetown was 33 of 45 from the line, Little Rock 32 of 40 as the teams combined for 67 fouls and five technicals with six players fouling out and six finishing with four fouls...
The Trojans continued to shoot well in the second half while Georgetown shot 25 percent, but Little Rock had a majority of its 24 turnovers and was beat up 17-5 on the offensive glass, allowing the Hoyas 18 more shots.
Kaleb Johnson provided crucial minutes off the bench for Georgetown in his most substantial playing time of the season. With Trey Mourning ruled out (concussion protocol) and Jessie Govan and Josh LeBlanc dealing with foul trouble throughout the action, Johnson played solid defense and contributed 12 points and nine rebounds. He was second on the team in +/- at +12, trailing only Jagan Mosely’s +22. Mosely also played well off the bench, drawing a charge late in the game that stymied Little Rock’s offensive rhythm.
However, Georgetown will need to correct its defensive lapses it hopes to compete in the Big East. The Hoyas surrendered a whopping 40 free throw attempts in the win, and allowed Little Rock to shoot 50 percent from the floor
McClung Scored 38, Akinjo Added 25: And Then The Freshmen Spoke— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) December 23, 2018
"I just tried to stick to the game plan," McClung said.
"James did a lot of great things too. We just try and feed off each other’s energy." https://t.co/Wnt2ncgIGW pic.twitter.com/XGLT95LMj1
Little Rock built a one point lead at the end of the first half and held the Hoyas to just 25% shooting in the second, including forcing Georgetown to go 0-for-8 from three-point range. But 19 Trojan turnovers over the final 25 minutes proved to be too much to overcome.
Little Rock shot an even 50% for the game, converting 28 of its 56 shots, and was solid from the free throw line, making 32 of its 40 attempts (80.0%). The Trojans held the Hoyas to 40.5% shooting for the game and 36% from beyond the arc, outscoring Georgetown 36-28 in the paint.
It’s a win today, but questions persist about how ready this Georgetown team is to compete in the Big East. A 7-25 team a year ago, Little Rock entered Saturday’s game with a #326 RPI and a #268 NET ranking, lower than every Georgetown opponent but Maryland-Eastern Shore, but shot 50 percent and put up 94 points, effectively neutalizing Govan and the struggling Pickett. 
Without the extraordinary play of its guards, Georgetown might not have overcome a team picked for last in the 2018-19 Sun Belt race, and its lack of defense continues to be amplified each passing week. Although it is no longer the primary index for the post-season, Georgetown’s RPI has dropped 33 places in just one week, leading various Big East writers to reluctantly place GU at the bottom of the conference based on its performance to date.