In the final game before the 2K Empire Classic Finals, the Georgetown Hoyas beat the Georgia State Panthers 91-83. In case you were busy last Sunday night, the several replays on YouTube (below) and the Casual Hoya recap should fill you in on how Ewing’s squad finally built some momentum.
Coming off a competitive game with Duke, GSU brought the solid defense and decent shooting that was promised. This made for another too-close-for-comfort non-conference test. For Georgetown, there were still some funky lineups, but Mac McClung supplied swift starts at the beginning of each peirod and Josh LeBlanc boosted the energy when GU need it in the second. Georgia State (with a surprise enrollment of 50k students?) typically performs well in the Sun Belt conference and should boast a decent NET/KenPom ranking at the end of the season, especially compared to some of Georgetown’s other opponents.
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“We need our guys to be able to make shots, especially wide-open shots. James didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. Jahvon Blair who’s supposed to be one of our best shooters he hasn’t been hitting his 3-point shot. Mac’s been struggling but he kind of came out of his slump today. Jamorko, he hit some, he missed some. We have guys on our team who are shooters, even Galen Alexander, but they have to step up and make shots.”
Mac McClung had 25 points and Omer Yurtseven recorded his fourth double-double in as many games with 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Georgetown to a 91-83 victory over Georgia State on Sunday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Josh LeBlanc finished with 12 points, James Akinjo had 11 (all in the second half) and Jamorko Pickett added 10 for Georgetown (3-1). McClung made all 11 of his free-throw attempts. The Hoyas were 40 of 51 from the foul line and Georgia State was 20 of 24.
The Panthers’ lead survived for the opening 6:20 of second-half action, but succumbed when Yurtseven converted an and-one layup. With the lead in hand, the Hoyas utilized a full-court press, with players such as LeBlanc and Terrell Allen providing valuable defensive contributions over the next phase of play. This pressure helped Georgetown force seven turnovers in the half, which turned into eight points. 
While the half-court offense appeared stale at times, the Hoyas found success in transition, pushing the pace to get easy baskets. This was punctuated by a heavy slam from Jagan Mosely with 6:18 remaining, which gave the Hoyas a nine-point lead. Though the Hoyas struggled to get stops on defense, the offense was able to score seemingly at will—thanks in part to their 37 free throw attempts in the stanze, and their lead was never seriously threatened for the remainder of the game. Ultimately, Georgetown’s 52 percent field goal shooting and 29 made free throws were the difference in the second half.
McClung made all 11 of his foul shots, while going 6-for-12 from the field. The sophomore guard had struggled in his two previous games.
Georgetown’s trio of sophomores leads a second-half rally against Georgia State https://t.co/AqlYCglj2t— Post Sports (@PostSports) November 18, 2019
Akinjo and McClung combined for eight of Georgetown’s first 10 points out of intermission, helping the Hoyas draw even. The teams traded punches after that until LeBlanc checked in to jolt the Hoyas where they needed it most: on the defensive end.
The Louisiana native brought his usual energy, and with just under nine minutes to play he had a critical block that kept Georgetown ahead by three, then two key rebounds and three quick points that pushed the Hoyas to a six-point lead. McClung then added a jumper and a pair of free throws to give Georgetown what was at the time its biggest lead of the game at 68-59 with 7:04 to play.
21 minutes of game highlights...
“I think every player goes through those types of slumps and I just kept my head right and I got in the gym and I’ll never quit in those situations,” said McClung. “I’ll always continue to work and Coach continued to believe in me and I kind of got out of it tonight.”
LeBlanc, as he always does, ignited his team with his spirited play on both ends of the floor. After scoring just 13 points in his first two games combined this season, LeBlanc had 12 points in the second half alone, along with four rebounds.
On Sunday night, the Hoyas seemed to get back into a rhythm as they took down Georgia State, with Mac McClung breaking out of his recent slump and Yurtseven posting his fourth double-double in as many games.https://t.co/PXyHoLwApc— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) November 18, 2019
Georgetown got off to a fast start behind McClung’s hot start. McClung was starting to show signs of getting out of his shooting slump scoring five of the Hoyas first seven points. But, he was quickly cooled off, in part, because of his own coach. Head coach Patrick Ewing continued his commitment to playing ten guys in the first half.
Not only did it cool McClung down, it seemingly took Georgetown out of their aggression. The Hoyas would get out of rhythm as they saw Georgia State go on an 18-3 run, giving the Panthers an eight point lead. Georgetown found themselves down 39-33 at halftime.
McClung started off the second half like he did the first by scoring five of Georgetown’s first seven points.
Georgetown gonna win the 2K classic and be ranked after— Trey Dickerson (@Dat_boy_TD) November 19, 2019