WASHINGTON – Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing shook up his starting lineup but the result was the same as the Hoyas fell to Creighton 91-87 on Monday night.
Jessie Govan led the Hoyas with 22 points and 12 rebounds and James Akinjo added a career-high 11 assists in his first action off the bench as Georgetown (12-7, 2-4) dropped to two games under .500 in BIG EAST play in losing their fourth straight game to Creighton (11-8, 2-4).
Akinjo was replaced in the starting line-up by Jagan Mosely while Jamorko Pickett was replaced by Greg Malinowski.
When asked if he took any solace in the losses all being close, Ewing responded “No” without hesitation.
“At the end of the day, it’s a loss,” Ewing said.
“We have to grow up fast, the freshmen have to grow up faster than they’re growing up, the upperclassmen have to step up and get the job done.”
Ty-Shon Alexander scored a game-high 26 points for Creighton including six 3-pointers with none bigger than his uncontested long distance shot to put the Bluejays ahead for good at 87-85 with 55 seconds left.
Alexander’s dagger 3-pointer came on a loose ball scramble after Mitch Ballock eventually grabbed his own missed layup. Ballock iced the game with four late free throws.
Davion Mintz led four other Bluejays in scoring with 17 points as Creighton made 13 of 29 3-pointers a season after knocking down 16 3-pointers.
Creighton finished the game on an 8-2 run after Akinjo gave the Hoyas an 85-83 lead with just over two minutes left on his second 3-pointer of the night.
Govan missed Georgetown’s final chance to tie things up late when his turnaround jumper was off the mark. Ewing later said he felt Govan had been fouled on the play.
Mac McClung and Josh LeBlanc added 10 points each. McClung was limited to five minutes in the second half after Ewing felt his freshman guard was being bothered by a leg injury.
Georgetown has now lost three of four league games at home by a combined 10 points.
Georgetown took the slimmest of leads into the halftime break at 42-41.
While the first half saw five ties, Creighton never led. Georgetown held an eight point advantage at 21-13 after a Trey Mourning baseline jumper with 11:23 remaining. Creighton responded with an 8-0 spurt to tie the game on a Marcus Zegarowski 3-pointer with less than eight minutes left.
Creighton hit seven first half 3-pointers, led Alexander who went 4 for 6 from deep in scoring 15 points before the break.
Govan and McClung paced the Hoyas with 10 points apiece while Akinjo was scoreless on 0 for 5 shooting in nearly 13 minutes of action. Akinjo checked into the game after sitting on the bench for the first seven minutes.
Creighton took its first lead of the game after a Ballock 3-pointer on the Bluejays second possession after halftime. Greg Malinowski gave the Hoyas the lead right back with a 3-pointer of his own, his first made shot from deep since the Xavier game.
Ewing called a timeout with 16:56 left after Martin Krampelj’s steal and fast break dunk gave Creighton a 53-47 lead. The Bluejays started the half on a 12-5 run after never leading in the first period.
Akinjo’s first made shot of the game cut the Creighton lead to 56-54 with 14:44 left. He had missed his first six shots of the night.
Jahvon Blair’s 3-pointer with just under nine minutes left brought the Hoyas level at 70 after Creighton had led by as many as eight.
Akinjo really got cooking right around this time. First he hit a rolling Govan for a basket to give the Hoyas a 73-72 lead after Georgetown had trailed most of the half.
The frosh point guard then found Govan all alone under the hoop for a dunk to give the Hoyas a 78-76 lead with 4:17 left. The very next time down, Akinjo found a cutting Mourning who finished with a slam for the 80-77 lead.
With the Hoyas down 83-82 Akinjo called his own number from the top of the key and drilled a 3-pointer to give Georgetown the lead with just over two minutes left. It would be their last.
Ewing on motivating his team:
“I’m not big with the motivation. I think you’ve got to be self-motivated. There was always guys that, when I was in the league they were like, this one is a great motivator, that one is a great motivator, but I always thought I was self-motivated. I think that the guys have to look deep into themselves and get ready for what’s coming.”
WHEN IT WAS OVER
With the Hoyas trailing 87-85 the Hoyas last good chance to tie or go ahead came after a timeout with 55 seconds left. The Hoyas got their big man a shot but Govan missed his jumper while Ballock secured the rebound. And that’s how the Hoyas lost for the fourth time in five games since opening league play with a win at Butler.
THREE THAT MATTERED
Jessie Govan, Georgetown – After only 14 points in the Marquette loss, the senior center was back over 20 points for the fifth time in six league games. It was Govan’s conference leading 7th double-double. Offensively he’s the best big in the conference.
James Akinjo, - Georgetown – Despite starting the game on the bench the freshman point guard registered a career high 11 assists and just one turnover in 30 minutes.
Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton – The sophomore guard came in as the Bluejays leading scorer and didn’t disappoint in scoring 26 points on 8 for 16 shooting. Alexander was deadly from deep making 6 of 11 including the final dagger.
Georgetown travels to Madison Square Garden on Sunday to complete the season series with St. John’s. The Hoyas play three of their next four on the road with the one home game coming against Xavier on Jan 31.
The Hoyas have wasted a home heavy start to league play by going just 2-4 overall, 1-3 at home. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Georgetown gets back to .500 this season in the BIG EAST if things don’t turn around quick
Mosely had five points and four assists in his first start his season. The junior point guard also hit his fourth 3-pointer of the season. Mosely started one game last season and 20 as a freshman.
Govan had more points (10) in the first half on Monday than in either of the Hoyas losses to Creighton last season when he had seven in each.
Akinjo followed up his 1 for 10 outing against Marquette by going 2 for 11. Akinjo has been struggling from the field against BIG EAST foes.
Nine different Hoyas hit at least one 3-pointer LeBlanc was the only Georgetown player to see action and not attempt or make a 3-pointer. All ten players that played scored at least three points.
Georgetown used its sixth different starting line-up this season. Only Jessie Govan has started all 19 games this season for Ewing.
The Hoyas did not make players available after the loss which has become the norm this season.
Malinowski scored nine points after combining for just 3 points on 0-5 shooting the last two games after being sent back to the bench with McClung healthy. The William & Mary transfer was 3 for 4 from the field.
Since Creighton broke out their baby blue uniforms, Georgetown wore black at home for the first time this season and maybe in a long time – I can’t recall. The Hoyas had worn black at home twice this season – at Syracuse and at Butler.
Lots of former Hoyas were in attendance. Dikembe Mutombo joined current Wizards Jeff Green and Otto Porter who helped Washington defeat Detroit earlier in the first game of the day night MLK Day Doubleheader at Capital One Arena.