Is this what it feels like to be less stressed at the conclusion of a basketball game than you were at the beginning? It’s weird, but in a pleasant way that a person could get used to.
Your Georgetown Hoyas hosted the Coppin State Eagles tonight from historic McDonough Gymnasium, and ultimately got the W by a score of 80-48. Jamorko Pickett led on both ends of the floor, scoring 19 points and grabbing (what I’m too lazy to check but am pretty sure is) a career-high 18 rebounds. Jahvon Blair added 22 points of his own, finishing 4/8 from beyond the arc, including a second-half heat-check as the shot clock was expiring. Chudier Bile may be settling into a role as well, scoring 13 points and performing good cleanup on some of the Eagles’ longer misses.
By the time FS1 switched over to the Hoyas game after the conclusion of Seton Hall’s thrashing of Wagner, Georgetown was down by 4 with nearly three minutes played in the first half. It was actually several possessions (for each team) before viewers got to see a basket, when the Eagles’ Koby Thomas created his own opening for a layup in the lane, putting Coppin State up 10-4.
While he sometimes struggled to stay in front of Chereef Knox on defense, Qudus Wahab was key to keeping the Hoyas within range, drawing fouls, swatting passes, and facilitating rebounds on the defensive end, which ultimately put Pickett in position for a basket. The pace picked up briefly at this point, with Knox and Blair trading triples, but the next stretch featured more empty trips than the Metro system in early April. A brief reprieve was granted when Blair found Kobe Clark who converted his first shot as a college player, but Clark had a bad landing on the next possession and emerged from the locker room after halftime wearing a walking boot. (We cannot have nice things. At least, we can’t have many at once.)
Heading into the U8 media break, trailing 18-17, the Hoyas had 11 turnovers — greater than the number of field goals that they had scored. Georgetown’s execution did improve in the waning minutes of the half, which will be recounted next, but that should be considered against a backdrop of Coppin State going 1/13 shooting over a span of 6+ minutes. Pickett gave the Hoyas their first lead on a baseline jumper. Nendah Tarke scored a single driving layup within the Eagles’ drought, but Blair countered that with a triple. Pickett, getting into a rhythm, knocked down another from outside the arc. Bile put away a layup, Wahab earned some shots by getting fouled on a turnaround jumper, then Bile again with second-chance points (and-1) off a miss from Blair.
Out of a timeout with less than a minute in the opening half, Coppin State turned it over and allowed the Hoyas to hold for the final shot. Because it was that kind of a game, Chudier Bile rolled in a three just before the buzzer sounded. Having erased the 6-point deficit and then some, Georgetown went into the locker room up 38-23.
Jalen Harris opened the second half scoring, driving for a somewhat acrobatic layup made possible by good offensive rebounding by his teammates. After a series of misses (by both squads) that seem to blend into an impressionistic blob of bad basketball within my memory, Pickett broke things up by getting a tip-in.
One of the more entertaining elements of play within empty gymnasiums is the clarity with which on-court dialogue comes through, including the “No f***ing way, man” editorial comment that echoed through McDonough as the Hoyas gave up a contested transition three-pointer. Relying once again on second- and third-chance points, Donald Carey found Pickett under the rim, and the latter threw down the biggest dunk of the game.
Georgetown had a 52-32 advantage at the U12 timeout, and continued to expand both their lead and their bench player utilization from there, leveraging a mostly small-ball lineup. Jamari Sibley made his long overdue debut and earned an Otto Porter comparison from the broadcast booth. Collin Holloway came in at the 5-minute mark, and promptly got himself on the box score. Dante Harris, who will hopefully see more minutes at PG as the season continues, hit a hiiiiigh-arcing jumper. T.J. Berger subbed in around the U4, almost immediately knocking down a three from the corner then following it up with another shot-clock-beating layup, was also making a very strong case for more PT. Malcolm Wilson got on the floor as well. All in all, the Hoyas got 26 points from their bench and can boast an impressive 80-48 win.
It was really cathartic to see the team win tonight, and I’m sure the mental benefit to the players is huge. However, it is mathematically improbable for a team to get a 32-point win while giving up 26 turnovers (because that is A LOT OF TURNOVERS), so the Hoyas will hopefully work on cutting down on the ball-handling errors as the season progresses. Coppin State’s cold shooting created a much more forgiving environment than Georgetown is likely to see again this season.
Tonight’s win brings Georgetown back to a .500 record (2-2) on the season, and cleanses the palate from Navy ahead of the Hoyas’ BIG EAST opener against Villanova. That game got a slight scheduling shift, and will now be played at 7pm on Friday (12/11), airing on FS1.