In a season with absolutely no margin of error, losing at home to a similarly positioned Marquette team on Saturday was a lost opportunity for a shorthanded Georgetown bunch trying to find a road map to a 9-9 mark in league play that would certainly have them in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.
Even with Markus Howard going for 42 points, the game was still there for the taking had Georgetown rebounded better – particularly on the defensive end – or made a few more free throws down the stretch.
Facing their largest deficit of the second half at 76-69, coach Patrick Ewing called a timeout with 3:33 remaining that provided instant results. Omer Yursteven – who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds (his 10th double-double) – scored on two consecutive trips in the paint before Jahvon Blair tied it up with three pressure filled free throws with 1:34 left.
It looked to be all going Georgetown’s way after Yurtseven blocked Sacar Anim on the next possession but the Hoyas once again failed to secure a rebound when they needed it the most. The result was a dagger 3 from Howard just a few seconds later that nearly ended the game although the Hoyas would get more big chance.
Mac McClung – who finished 24 points and six rebounds – missed a key free throw with 10 seconds left to end the Hoyas hopes at getting to .500 in the league this weekend with an 84-80 loss to Marquette.
The Golden Eagles improved to 3-3 in the BIG EAST while Georgetown dropped to 2-4.
“When you play a team like this, we can’t give them 13 offensive rebounds and 17 [second chance] points,” Ewing said afterwards.
“We have to do a much better job of boxing out so that’s another area that we lost the game. We have to step up and make our free throws.”
Georgetown shot 11 for 16 from the line, with McClung going 5 for 8. Since missing the Providence game, McClung is hitting 63 percent from the line whereas he was at 90 percent before the injury.
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Ewing said when told that McClung’s numbers have dipped recently from the line.
“We take enough free throws in practice for guys to make them. He’s one of our best free throw shooters. He’s just got to step up and make them.”
So even with Howard scoring 28 of Marquette’s 42 second half points, the Hoyas were right there if not for poor rebounding and free throw shooting. Ewing could also use some more from his juniors in Jamorko Pickett and Blair. Pickett was much better after halftime making both of his 3-poitners and scoring on a late drive to the hoop but it’s clear that Ewing needs to get him in more catch and shoot situations. That’s his strength on offense right now. As for Blair, he can’t play that long and not get up any shots. Georgetown needs something from his role off the bench.
So, what’s this mean?
Well the dream of going 9-0 at home in league play is dead although that was unlikely anyway. It’s not so much that Georgetown lost this game – they lost this game last year and still ended up getting to .500 on the season in the BIG EAST – it’s just what with such a short bench they really need to take care of business in close games as there are sure to be some clunkers waiting out there.
Georgetown gets one of their best shots at a road win when they travel to Cincinnati on Tuesday to play a struggling Xavier team. Ewing has yet to win at Xavier but the Hoyas did split a pair with the Musketeers last season.
“The calvary’s not coming over the hill to save us,” Ewing said about his lack of depth. “We played hard but we didn’t play well enough to get the job done.”
Qudus Wahab and Blair combined for nine points off the bench while each of the starters played at least 33 minutes with Jagan Mosely playing 38 after going all 40 on Wednesday against Creighton.
Wahab was an efficient 3 for 3 in six minutes and has made 9 of his last 10 shots going back to the Villanova game.
With five assists, senior Jagan Mosely now has 300 on his career and is tied with Markel Starks for 20th in Georgetown history. Looking at the list, it’s most likely that Mosely ultimately ends up in 14th place although there’s an outside shot he gets up to 12th….Blair failed to officially attempt a field goal for just the fourth time in his career despite playing 20 minutes….Georgetown fell to 13-6 under Ewing in BIG EAST play when scoring at least 80…The Hoyas dropped their first game of the season when scoring at least 80 as they are now 12-1.