The Georgetown men’s basketball team (11-5, 1-2 Big East) could not hold onto a halftime lead against Xavier (10-7, 2-2 Big East), and fell, 81-75...
The Hoyas were up by as many as 17 points in the first half, but could not maintain their advantage due to poor shooting and rebounding.The Hoyas were unable to keep up their hot shooting from early in the game, as they went 3-of-14 from deep in the second half after going 7-of-13 in the first. Georgetown was also dominated on the glass in the second half. They had just ten rebounds to Xavier’s 20 and allowed Hankins and Jones to have their way inside, with the pair combining for eight offensive rebounds in the second half.
The Musketeers answered their coach like the rest of the season hung in the balance. And maybe it did...
When Steele got fiery in that huddle, he saw a look from his players that told him they would be alright in what Steele said was the toughest performance from his team this entire season...
Xavier settled down, went to its two-three zone and started to wage war in the paint, and the paint is where Xavier won the game. That, and a four-turnover performance that Steele said he’ll take every time his team takes the floor.
For the first time this season, Xavier’s big men – Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins – played together at the same time.
Patrick Ewing said Xavier went to its zone and the zone "messed us up."— Shannon Russell (@slrussell) January 10, 2019
The Musketeers (10-7, 2-2 Big East) have won six in a row and nine of 10 against the Hoyas (11-5, 1-2), who were missing two starters. With the Musketeers trailing by 17 late in the first half, Hankins had a fast-break dunk and a reverse layup that sparked a 17-point run. Jones’ 3-point play completed the run and tied it at 39-39.
Jones finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Hankins and Jones are the Musketeers’ only post players. Coach Travis Steele has been reluctant to play them together, fearing they’d get in foul trouble. He gave them a chance on Wednesday and it worked out nicely. “That’s the first time you’ve seen it,” Jones said, noting they’ve played together in practice. “It definitely felt great. We’ve been in coach’s ear trying to stay on the floor, both of us at the same time. Today we proved we can both stay on the floor.”
Paul Scruggs made a pair of free throws and a layup as Xavier pulled ahead by seven points and didn’t trail again. Scruggs finished with 10 points.
To Georgetown’s credit, they didn’t fold after giving up the lead. They stayed competitive and the teams traded the lead throughout the first ten minutes of the second half. Once Xavier took a 55-54 lead on Elias Harden’s second three-pointer of the evening, they never looked back, turning that into a 9-0 run and never letting Georgetown get closer than three points for the rest of the evening.
Zach Hankins had a career night for the Musketeers. In the first half, he was one of the only Xavier players playing well, scoring 10 of the team’s first 19 points. He continued to get better as the night went on and finished with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double in his time at Xavier. Tyrique Jones also had a double-double, with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Georgetown was unable to stop Xavier down low, leading to 48 points in the paint for the Musketeers.
Ewing said the game, for Georgetown, was lost in the paint where XU outscored it 48-28. Instead of settling for threes, he said the team should have gotten the ball inside.— Shannon Russell (@slrussell) January 10, 2019
Patrick Ewing said his team wasn't ready for Xavier to use both Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins at the same time— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) January 10, 2019
NB: Really, Ewing? Flashback (from Steele’s press conference, featured here):
Travis Steele said there's a chance we could see Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones on the floor together against Georgetown to try and win the battle in the paint, but Steele said they have to worry about foul trouble and keeping their bigs fresh to defend Jessie Govan— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) January 8, 2019
Xavier was 1-8 from deep when Travis Steele’s clipboard died. In the nearly 24 minutes of basketball that ensued, they shot just 5 more threes. Georgetown came into the game surrendering the arc but with a solid interior defense and - in Jesse Govan and Josh LeBlanc - two of the best big men in the conference. Xavier just didn’t care.
Coach Steele started Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones together for the first time all season, sending the message from the jump that he trusted his double pivot to be the focus of the game. The next 40 minutes - and especially the final 20 - would be vindication for the coach’s confidence, as they combined to shoot 15-23/0-0/12-14 on the way to 42/20/4 with 3 blocks and just 1 turnover. That’s a dominant performance.
Hankins ruled the first half, Jones the 2nd. The big pair combined to make 15 of 23 field goals, score 42 points and grab 20 rebounds. One can only imagine what Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing, defender deluxe in his playing days, thought as he watched his bigs get trucked by Hankins and Jones.
(How Ewing could watch this game and not play any zone is a question for the Washington writers. “They (XU) got 48 points in the paint,’’ Ewing noted. And very little resistance.)
Xavier (-5) led Georgetown 75-80 tonight with 14 seconds left.— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) January 10, 2019
With 0:02 left on the clock, Georgetown fouled to send Xavier to the free throw line.
The Result: Xavier added an additional point to win 81-75 and cover the spread.
Lucky day for Xavier bettors... pic.twitter.com/Fnb6sSO7pu
Zach Hankins led the Musketeers with a career-high 23 points, shooting 10-of-14 from the floor. Tyrique Jones finished with 19 points, matching his career high, after going 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
Hankins and Jones, who started together for the first time this season, helped Xavier dominate the points in the 48-28. Hankins and Jones each also grabbed 10 rebounds, as Xavier held a 36-32 advantage on the boards.
NB: Great photo, but ... tough night.
Markus Howard's 53-point masterpiece. Sam Hauser's miraculous three-pointer. Theo John's blocks. Clutch plays from multiple players. How do you sum up the greatest college basketball game I have ever witnessed? The latest @journalsentinel #mubb game story: https://t.co/hd59R0wz8h— Ben Steele (@BenSteeleMJS) January 10, 2019
In a season full of unbelievable performances by the 19-year old junior, this was as incredible as any of them. Howard scored those 53 points on 15-for-26 shooting. He was 10-for-14 from three. 14 of those 53 points came in overtime, including the first 11 that Marquette scored in the extra period in just 2:30. Should I mention that he also finished with six assists?
As incredible as Howard was, it was the sixth of his assists on the night that is going to dominate the conversation in Omaha for the next couple of days, because Marquette may have been given the gift of a game-tying three.
So there was a great game on CBS Sports Network while the Hoyas blew a 17-point lead on FS1. No justice.
Well, what else can fans do?
Let's pretend that game didn't happen.— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) January 10, 2019
Hoyas are back at it on Saturday against Providence.