Perhaps the most mysterious Georgetown team in modern history - with nine newcomers - tipped things off on Wednesday night by holding on to beat a pesky UMBC squad picked second in the American East.
Coach Patrick Ewing got solid performances from grad transfer starter Donald Carey and freshman Kobe Clark. Carey got the Hoyas going early when he scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half while Clark pulled down 10 rebounds in 12 minutes.
Ewing really seems to like what Clark gives the Hoyas in terms of energy and intensity and it sounded like more minutes could be in the reserve’s future.
“I thought he did an outstanding job,” Ewing said about Clark’s nearly rebound per minute output. “As long as he continues to do that he’s going to be on the floor.”
While most figured Carey would start at small forward and push Jamorko Pickett to the four, there were decent arguments to be made for fellow grad transfer Chudier Bile to get the nod. As seen on TV, Bile wasn’t in uniform and afterwards Ewing said the Northwestern State transfer was hurt.
The surprising and possibly worrisome news was that Georgetown’s highest ranked - freshman Jamari Sibley - was a DNP - Coach’s Decision.
“Jamari just didn’t play,” Ewing said afterwards when asked if he was injured. “I didn’t play him.”
A 6-foot-8 power forward who played last season Oak Hill Academy, Sibley came in as Georgetown’s lone four-star recruit in the class of 2020. This will definitely be something to watch closely as Georgetown will need Sibley on the court sooner rather than later.
HONORING THOMPSON JR
There were a lot of symbols during Wednesday’s game. Georgetown honored John Thompson Jr by naming the court at McDonough after him. In paying tribute to Thompson Jr, Ewing wore a towel over his right shoulder just as his former coach so famously did during his career. Also, the players wore sayings on their jerseys to promote justice and awareness.
“It means a lot,” Ewing said about the court at McDonough being named after Thompson Jr.
“Coach Thompson is an integral part of my life. I had the opportunity to play for him for him, to be a mentor, friend, confidant and then I had the towel over my shoulder in honor to him. All of the things the guys have on their jersey they are using their platform to fight for their rights and keeping it alive. We’ve lost too many people for senseless incidents, systemic racism. It’s something that has to stop.”
Last season Georgetown was 0-14 when scoring less than 73 points. The year before the Hoyas were 1-12 when scoring 75 points or less. Basically in the Ewing Era this team needs to score north of 75 to feel good about a win.
Tonight’s win was the third fewest points Georgetown has scored in a win under Ewing.
70 - UMBC (tonight)
69 - St. John’s (2018)
68 - UMES (2019)
NEW ADDITIONS CON’T
Grad transfer Jalen Harris started at point guard and handed out a game-high six assists in 26 minutes but was the only Hoya not to score (0 for 6)....Frosh Dante Harris was the first sub off the bench which was probably aided by the fact that UMBC had small and speedy Darnell Rogers on the court. In ten minutes, Harris scored two points and had an assist...Collin Holloway managed three points and two rebounds in two minutes while 7-footer Malcolm Wilson made his debut after sitting all of last season and opened his collegiate scoring account with a dunk to the end first half. He also grabbed four boards and seems to have been cheated out of a block or two on the official stat sheet.
MOVING ON UP
Jahvon Blair finished with a game-high 23 points which included two 3-pointers. Blair passed DaJuan Summers and moved into 11th place in program history with 146 shots from deep. The senior has a good shot at joining D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jonathan Wallace as the only Hoyas with over 200 made 3-pointers when it’s all said and done.
Despite playing basically a half - 21 minutes - starting center Qudus Wahab had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his second career double-double. Wahab matched his career-best in rebounds and was just two off his scoring high. The sophomore big only fouled out once last season and picked up four fouls just twice in the Hoyas final 10 games. It will be really important for Wahab to stay on the court this season for Ewing.
Blair scored his 23 points on 22 shots. That’s just one off his career high for attempts which came last season at Creighton. While his shot wasn’t falling from deep (2 for 8) he managed to both get to the rim and pull up in the paint. That’s a good sign as in his last outing he took 14 of his 16 shots from deep despite being struggling.
Fellow senior Jamorko Pickett also had the green light but struggled to get going by finishing 3 for 15. Afterwards Ewing admitted that it wasn’t good enough but he was also happy to see him try and fight through it rather than shy away.
“Jamorko was 3 for 15 but one one of the biggest difference between him and other years was he kept on playing, he kept on shooting,” Ewing said. “Other years he would stop but now he just continues to play and continues to do other things.”