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6 Straight: Georgetown Beats American, 80-60, to Continue Winning Streak Entering Big East Play

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Yurtseven leads balanced attack as Hoyas close out non-conference play

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Against visiting American University, Georgetown’s play fit comfortably on a somewhat drowsy mid-holiday Saturday afternoon. The offense, which has generated 80 points in each of the Hoyas’ six consecutive wins, barely got to that number amid a flurry of turnovers. The defense, which has been enlivened if not dominant over the same stretch, looked sluggish, allowing the visitors to shoot 60 percent inside the arc. Georgetown was never really threatened, but took its sweet time to assert itself, trailing momentarily midway through the first half before compiling an extended push spanning halftime that put the game out of reach. The win was pedestrian but enough to end non-conference play on a convincing note.

Omer Yurtseven was the headliner with 17 points and 8 rebounds in Saturday’s win, the third straight in which the Turkish big man has led Georgetown in scoring by overpowering an overmatched and outsized mid-major front line. The big fella has his deficits—for all the preseason talk of liking contact, he almost never finishes going toward the hoop, and he’ll never be fleet of foot on defense—but his strengths have been fully on display over the past two weeks, as he’s gone to work in the low block time and again.

Yurtseven was reinforced Saturday by Terrell Allen and Jahvon Blair, who finished the game with 14 points apiece. Allen, who has facilitated Georgetown’s resurgent offense over the past six games, stepped into a scoring role against American, probing into the lane off the dribble, finding hidden angles around the basket for crafty finishes. He also continued to set up teammates for open looks, finishing with a team-high 5 assists.

Blair, one of the 7-man skeleton crew that remains after the four transfers over the past month, didn’t have his most effective game of late, hitting just 2 of 6 triples while turning the ball over 5 times (a big part of the team’s ugly 17 giveaways). But with a shorter rotation, Blair has been able to contribute even on off days, grabbing 6 rebounds today and filling the scoring column.

Saturday’s rotation was shorter than usual because the first-half departure of Mac McClung, who left the game after getting hit in the eye by an American player. McClung’s face was visibly red around his eye after the contact. After shooting the flagrant free throws, he left and did not return. After the game, Ewing updated the situation only to say that Mac had gone to see an eye doctor.

Mac’s absence, combined with some foul trouble for Jamorko Pickett, meant that some unfamiliar faces were pressed into action. George Muresan enjoyed a few first-half minutes, turning an offensive rebound into a pair of free throws. Jaden Robinson even saw spot action. Late in the second half, Timothy Ighoefe got some run for the first straight game, powering home a career-high 8 straight point.

In addition to the Hoyas’ continued winning streak entering Big East play, the biggest takeaway from Saturday is the question of McClung’s health. Georgetown has been stretched thin even with him on the floor, and can scarcely afford to lose his offensive firepower as the competition ramps back up. Speaking of which, the Hoyas travel to Providence Tuesday, where they’ll open up conference play against the Friars and their terrifying mascot.