WASHINGTON - It’s extremely early by college basketball standards but Georgetown has already packed a season’s worth of highlights, buzz beaters, overtimes, career-performances, and soul crushing daggers into their first two BIG EAST home games of 2019.
There’s still seven more to go!
In flipping the script from recent outings the Hoyas were the team that needed to come back not once, but twice, in order to snap an eight game losing streak to Providence in leveling their conference record at 2-2.
Georgetown need a career-best performance from senior Jessie Govan to go along with a buzzer beating banked 3-pointer from freshman Mac McClung – who was playing for the first time since Dec 22 – just to force overtime.
If that wasn’t enough freshman James Akinjo made up for a poor late game decision in regulation to save the Hoyas towards the end of the first overtime before Georgetown eventually pulled away for the 96-90 victory in double OT.
McClung finished up with 16 points and four rebounds in his first ever BIG EAST contest to once again prove that his ability to break the internet has had no problem translating to the college level.
Three who mattered:
Govan: This one is obvious. The senior got his first win in seven tries against Providence and all it took was a career-high 33 points including a team best three 3-pointers in a double overtime thriller. The big man is terrorizing the BIG EAST in his final go around as he’s scored at least 25 points in three consecutive games.
Grayson Carter: Georgetown’s fourth freshman made his presence felt in the Hoyas win on Saturday despite playing a limited role. Carter made the most of his time by scoring six points in five minutes on a perfect 2 for 2 from deep. The Dallas native was on the court as the Hoyas finished the first half on a 9-0 run to cut the gap to 36-34.
Nate Watson, Providence: The local kid was unstoppable around the rim for the Friars. Watson finished with 21 points on an efficient 9 for 11 from the field in 38 minutes. Govan’s struggles on Watson defensively towards the end of the first half might have been the reason for Carter’s first half appearance.
-- If you were surprised that Providence didn’t foul Mac McClung in the final seconds of regulation with the Friars leading 73-70, you weren’t alone!
Coach Ed Cooley said afterwards that the plan had been to foul once the Hoyas inbounded the ball with 3.9 remaining. Providence guard Makai Ashton-Langford had the first chance to give the intentional foul but couldn’t catch up with McClung.
“Thought we had the game won twice,” Cooley said after the loss. “We tried to foul on the first one so credit to the young man for getting open and avoiding our players. End of game execution wasn’t very good.”
-- Jamorko Pickett is rounding into form as conference play has begun. After nearly coming up with the big shot late to beat St. John’s last Saturday, Pickett made his presence felt in every aspect of the game against Providence. The talented sophomore was bothering Friars all day with his length which resulted in a career-best four blocks. Although he finished with just six points Pickett was able to get to the basket, one of which resulted in a big second half dunk. Pickett also kept alive three possessions with a season high three offensive rebounds. As Jamorko goes, so will the Hoyas.
--Akinjo has no problem shaking off a mistake. After going off script towards the end of regulation, the California native played all ten minutes of overtime leading all scorers with 12 points. Akinjo was 5 for 7 from the line and 3 for 4 from the field including that big 3-pointer at the end of the first OT.
“Got mad at James at the end of overtime but he made up for it in both overtimes,” Ewing said with a smile about learning to live with freshman mistakes.
Akinjo finished with 20 points and a career high nine assists in a team best 47 minutes.
-- Govan and Providence’s Alpha Diallo came into Saturday tied for the lead in the conference with five double-doubles each. The left the game still tied, but now at six games. Govan finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds while Diallo had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Friars. Each native New Yorker also hit big 3-pointers for his squad.
-- Jahvon Blair didn’t play until the end of the first overtime when Akinjo hit his game tying 3-pointer. The sophomore has hit at least one 3-pointer in 11 straight games coming into Saturday but saw just eight seconds of action against the Friars.
-- Greg Malinowski struggled to find his shot after going back to the bench with McClung healthy. The William & Mary transfer started the last four games for the Hoyas, scoring double-figures in the last three highlighted by a career-high 26 at Butler. Malinowski finished 0 for 3 with two points, five rebounds, and four assists before fouling out.
--Through 17 games this season Georgetown has used seven different uniform options sparking many strong opinions from the fan base. The Hoyas improved to 3-0 with the home white uniforms, their most wins in any uniform without a loss. Georgetown previously beat Liberty and Appalachian State in the whites.
Mac McClung on the last play of regulation: “Coach drew it up. I caught the ball and I just kind of…I looked and Jessie was wide open maybe I should have hit him but I just shot it with confidence and coach all says he loves that in a player – confidence and believing in himself and that’s what I feel about myself.”
QUOTABLE PT 2
Providence coach Ed Cooley on facing Jessie Govan: I’m tired of seeing his ass. I’m tired of him. I can’t wait until he leaves. He’s a tough matchup at that position. He can stretch the floor. He’s got a great touch. They utilize him in the right way. He’s a tough matchup for our league.”
Georgetown looks to get back above .500 in the league when they play their first ranked team of the season on Tuesday in No. 21 Marquette.