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LINKS: Rested Xavier Hands Georgetown Another Brutal Road Loss

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Georgetown let the game get away for Musketeers’ second BIG EAST win.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas (12-8, 2-5) lost to the Xavier Musketeers (13-6, 2-4) on Wednesday night. Xavier jumped ahead by exposing mismatches with length on both ends of the court and led (mostly) comfortably for the rest of the game.

The previously aimless Muskateers had a week off since their last game and used the time to strategize and focus on their defense. Tyrique Jones got extended minutes (10 pts, 32 mins), Naji Marshall (6’7”, 220 lbs) covered Mac McClung (19 pts, 6-19 FG) and KyKy Tandy had himself a top game (18 points; 7-13 FG, 4-8 3PT).

Omer Yurtseven (6 pts, 2 rb, 21 mins) struggled with physical post defense and found himself in foul trouble early. McClung went 0-4 from three and Mosely was 1-5 from the arc. Xavier efficiently implemented a pick-and-roll that somehow caught Ewing and the teal-clad Hoyas off-guard. Wahab was the only bright spot most of the time (9 pts, 19 mins, 4-5, 8 reb).

There wasn’t a Georgetown fan alive who didn’t foresee a great probability of the Hoyas contributing to saving Xavier’s season (and potentially Coach Travis Steele’s job).

In a game between two of the least consistent defenses in the conference, the 66-57 score was a disappointing symptom of the teams’ miserable field goal percentages (37% each). Whether the poor shooting came from off-nights or extra-aggressive defense is a point of debate among fans. Neither team’s supporters seemed to enjoy the refereeing, but facilitating a physical style of play has not benefited the Hoyas in many, many years. The Hoyas fought back at times, however their energy and confidence was inconsistent at best after the early run on the road.

Fans have seen the slow starts from GU before, but there’s typically hope for a comeback with Ewing’s push for pace. One may wonder how much longer that hope prevails this season for a bleeding fanbase. It might not be fair to blame losses at Providence or Seton Hall on missing Mac McClung—unless there is an ongoing issue with his health, eye, or other body part.

At 2-5, the Hoyas find themselves nearing the basement of the BIG EAST. While pundits may announce that there are no ‘bad teams’ in “the best conference, top-to-bottom,” folks around these parts are worried about trips to New York and Chicago in games Georgetown’s “supposed to win.” Fans are considering waiting 10 minutes after future tip-offs to see if Omer Yurtseven and Mac McClung start strong before tuning in.

Then again, there’s always chances for quality wins, with GU hosting #13 Butler next week and #10 Seton Hall the following week. Ewing & Co. have 6 days to figure out how to ignite better offensive starts and find some defensive stops.

Here are the links:

Musketeers Outmuscle and Stifle Men’s Basketball in Frustrating Defeat - The Georgetown Voice | GEORGETOWNVOICE

The Hoyas came out flat on the road yet again, shooting just 36.8 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from 3-point range. Yurtseven had his most frustrating outing, finishing with just six points while also racking up four personal fouls. Though Xavier didn’t shoot particularly well either, they collected 16 offensive rebounds compared to Georgetown’s seven, leading to a 20-6 edge in second-chance points. Four Musketeers finished with double figures...

Xavier uses balanced attack to beat Georgetown - Reuters | REUTERS

The Musketeers took a 35-23 lead into halftime by shooting 42.9 percent from the floor. They held the Hoyas to 28.6-percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes. Georgetown cut the deficit to eight multiple times in the second half but didn’t get under that margin until the final minute of the game.

Big East road woes continue for Georgetown, which falls at Xavier | WASHINGTONPOST

Yurtseven had one of his worst games of the season just when it appeared that he was hitting a stride in Big East play with strong games against Creighton and Marquette. Hampered by foul trouble, the 7-footer played 21 minutes and scored a season-low six points, just the second game this season he has failed to reach double figures. He grabbed just two rebounds.

“I don’t know if the foul trouble threw him off, but [Yurtseven] has to play better,” Ewing said. “We need for him to play big. We need for him to rebound, we need for him to defend, and we also need for him to score. Everyone on our team.”

KyKy Tandy, Xavier get back on track against Georgetown | BIGEASTCOASTBIAS

The most notable was change was the benching of starting point guard Quentin Goodin. The 6-foot-3 senior had started nearly every game since Edmond Sumner got injured his freshman season but has really struggled in Big East play shooting just 5-33 (15.2%). Using the cover of a pregame knee injury, Goodin was replaced in the starting line-up with 6’9” freshman forward Zach Freemantle but the real story was fellow freshman Kyky Tandy. Tandy came off the bench to log career highs in minutes (28) and points (18) to help lead Xavier to a much-needed win.

McClung scores 19 in Georgetown loss to Xavier | HERALDCOURIER

Freshman Qudus Wahab scored nine points for the Hoyas, who have lost five of seven.

A 13-0 run helped Xavier take control in the first half as Paul Scruggs’ 3-pointer put the Musketeers ahead 23-8. The Hoyas started 3-of-16 shooting and trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half. But four points from McClung during a 7-0 run helped reduce the Musketeers’s lead to 10.

Xavier basketball snaps out of losing streak with a strong win over Georgetown | CINCINNATI

Xavier woke up on the boards, too, out-rebounding Georgetown 48-38 with 16 offensive boards. It was the perfect depiction of precisely how Xavier wants to play. Freshman KyKy Tandy had a career-high 18 points. Marshall also had 18 points, five assists and four steals. Jones finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and Carter also posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.

A new-look Xavier rides the defense and Kyky Tandy past Georgetown by a final of 66-57 | BANNERSONTHEPARKWAY

After going down 4-2 with 18:04 left in the half, Xavier went on an 11-minute tear that put the game into a stranglehold from which it would never emerge. It started innocently enough, with Jason Carter (11/10/1) scoring from the post and Naji Marshall (18/3/5) knocking down a three. Then Jason Carter scored again as the stops kept piling up.

Tyrique Jones (10/13/2) slipped a screen and dunked all over Mac McClung. Carter - taking advantage of a post mismatch thanks to Xavier’s big lineup - got a couple more buckets and Georgetown could only answer from the line.

Change does Xavier good in much-needed Big East win over... | THEATHLETIC

And so it started, the banter of players ready for a celebration one long week after a demoralizing loss at Marquette and Steele’s postgame declaration that something had to change. The second-year coach rolled out an old rebounding drill that pitted players against each other instead of scout-team players or coaches with pads.

He said all five starting positions were up for grabs and meant it, pointing to the 14 Xavier Way practice stats as the ultimate judge. The system, charted via a graphic on a TV placed prominently in practices, awards players three points for each made 3-pointer and two points for every 2-point field goal, offensive rebound, assist and charge. One point is given per defensive rebound, block-steal, free-throw win, team win, foul drawn and deflection. The Xavier Way taketh away as well, so it’s negative-one for a foul and negative-two for a turnover or a blow-by.