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Out Like a Lamb: Georgetown Loses to Harvard, 71-68, in NIT

“Honestly, Smithers, I don’t know why Harvard even bothers to show up. They barely even won.”

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

Well, that was underwhelming. Georgetown sought to end its season on a high note, hosting Harvard (which you may recognize from the Georgetown Fight Song) in an NIT game in a lively McDonough Arena on Wednesday night. Having finished Big East play at .500 and just outside NCAA Tournament contention, the Hoyas could have redeemed themselves with a win or two, no matter the tournament. But Georgetown came out flat and barely improved, suffering through long scoring droughts en route to a 71-68 defeat at the hands of the Crimson.

Jessie Govan led Georgetown with 25 points in his final game as a Hoya, while James Akinjo finished with 15 points and 4 assists. Otherwise, Georgetown’s offense struggled to find consistency, shooting just 33 percent outside its two main guns.

The Hoyas went without a field goal for more than 8 minutes in a critical second-half stretch that saw Harvard turn a 5-point deficit into a lead of equal size. Georgetown briefly regained the lead in crunch time but couldn’t get enough stops to hold off the Crimson with the game on the line. A last-gasp possession yielded two errant Hoya heaves.

The defeat ends Georgetown’s season in somewhat unsatisfying fashion. For every rousing win, there was a deflating loss. For every meaningful stride by a freshman, there was a discouraging regression by a veteran. Seemingly every inspired, dogged performance was followed by a flat-footed one.

The Hoyas now face a long off-season with reasons for optimism, but also doubts. Georgetown returns an excellent freshman class, with more promising recruits on the way. But the Hoyas also face questions, particularly related to coaching, where game preparation and defensive coherence too often were lacking. The Hoyas are trending in the right direction, but not necessarily as smoothly as we’d like.