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The Casual Awards: Ironmen in Indy

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NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Casual Awards – Hinkle Magic Again!

Well, that was unexpected. Despite playing without their two leading scorers for all 40 minutes of this contest, your Georgetown Hoyas put together a gritty, feisty, gut-wrenching effort in collecting their BEST WIN OF THE SEASON (EWING ERA?) and stunning a sold-out crowd at Hinkle Fieldhouse (for the FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR). Butler entered this game with a 12-2 home record and the highest NET ranking in the conference (#12). Georgetown didn’t seem daunted at all.
And now, incredibly, Kamar Baldwin will end his senior year without ever notching a home victory against your Georgetown Hoyas.

Before we take a close hard look at the ever so soft BUBBLE, let’s hand out hardware to those most deserving. Away we go…

The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

AP

Terrell Allen.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Last year it was Greg Malinowski; this year it was Terrell Allen.

Seemingly every year, an unsung Hoya hero emerges to have the game of his life and lead the District’s Barking Bulldogs to an improbable win in Indianapolis. This year, there is no question that guy was TA, who poured in a career-high 22 points on 9-14 shooting (including all four of his three-point attempts).

From start to finish, Allen played with the heart of a champion. Entering the game, he was averaging a fairly pedestrian seven points per contest, but in this one he scored seven points before the first TV timeout. Allen was everywhere. He sliced to the basket and hit runners in the lane; he scored on a hooker in the paint; he drilled deep threes; he played lockdown defense; and he was the calming presence this team so desperately needed.

With 90 seconds to go and the outcome still yet to be determined, Jagan Mosely found TA in the corner and he drilled a three as the shot clocked expired to put Georgetown up six points and effectively ice the game. (He got fouled on that shot too.)

The Spin Doctors Award for Being Two Princes Award:

Qudus Wahab and Timothy Ighoefe.

Georgetown v Butler Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With Yurtseven out, our two Nigerian princes led the way at the 5 spot. In a combined 40 minutes, they totaled 15 points and 12 rebounds, which was absolutely fine. Q was effective down low and found himself on the receiving end of a few good passes for easy dunks and lay-ins. He also proved to be a nice defensive stopper, using his seven-foot frame to prevent Butler’s guards from getting too close to the rim.

Meanwhile. Timmy Iggy gave us some solid minutes and managed to hold down the fort while Q was out. His massive offensive rebounds and putback lay-ins late in the second half were enormous baskets down the stretch. He’s still got some work to do, but it was so damn refreshing to see him looking like he belonged out there.

We would happily give either of these lads our bank information and social security numbers to share in their family fortunes.

The Andy Reid Award for Coaching Excellence Award:

Patrick Ewing.

Georgetown v Butler Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Two games in a row, and three out of four. Without the need to make frequent substitutions (due to our depleted bench), Ewing has really been effective in managing our games. On defense, he mixed in some zone and press. On offense, he figured out a way to find minutes for Ighoefe and Wahab without either guy fouling out or getting gassed. We’re still troubled, at times, by the porous perimeter defense and hard hedges from our big men, but Ewing is finally starting to put together his vision for this program.

There was every reason for this short-handed squad to give up and roll over before the game started. No one would’ve batted any eye if Georgetown had been blown out at Butler, especially when the Hoyas were without Mac and Yurt. But, incredibly, they didn’t. Ewing had these kids fired up, motivated, and believing they could win this game. And win they did. The Hoyas didn’t win a cheap one or luck out. They led for 33 minutes and every time Butler went on a run, they responded.

We’ve ribbed Ewing for some of the coaching decisions after losses. So let’s celebrate him for beating a ranked team on the road with only a handful of guys. If we can keep the mojo going, win some more games, and finally get some commitments from guys like Moncrieffe, the DELUSION TRAIN will once again return….

The Ironman Award for Playing All 40 Minutes Award:

Jahvon Blair and Jagan Mosely and Terrell Allen.

Syracuse v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

At this point, we’re just taking it for granted. Our Mac-less guards have demonstrated an extraordinary amount of stamina (for never sitting on the bench), grit (for playing hard the whole game despite the minutes), and smarts (for not being too aggressive on defense and limiting the number of fouls they commit).

Blair also deserves credit for his 16 points (while shooting 50% from deep), while Jagan deserves a tip of the cap for his steady leadership, his five assists, and his ability to fight through an apparent knock on his right hand.

The Brandon Bowman Award for being an Up and Down Player who Delights us when he Plays Well Award:

Jamorko Pickett.

Georgetown v Butler

Look, it’s no secret that Pickett has struggled this season. In the last five games before this one, he was shooting about 20% from the field. And he has frequently troubled us with fouls, turnovers, and a lack of situational awareness.

But when he plays well, he’s a treat to watch. For much of the season, Pickett has been asked to play out of position at the 4; so he’s needed to defend bigs more often than usual. And to his credit, in certain games he has stepped up. His defense is usually pretty stout and his length allows him to deflect passes and block shots.

Against Butler, Jamorko chipped in with 12 points and six boards. And we needed each and every one of those points and rebounds. He hit three massive threes (on only four attempts) and he played an impressive 37 minutes. At this point, we all know Pickett’s strengths and weaknesses. He struggles off the bounce and gets flustered late in the shot clock. But he’s a very good spot up shooter and rebounder. If he can limit his mistakes and not try to do too much, he will continue to be an essential piece on this team.

[UNRELATED: This is an incredible story about Brandon Bowman and Ed Cooley that we had no idea about https://theathletic.com/515471/2018/09/11/one-day-away-ed-cooley-9-11-and-the-recruit-who-saved-his-life/]

The Villanova Wildcats Award for Running an Efficient Guard-Heavy Offense:

Your Georgetown Hoyas?

It’s weird, we know. But this team increasingly looks like those old ‘Nova squads. A bunch of smart and quick guards who pass effectively, get to the free throw line, and occasionally dump it down to our bigs. We’re obviously not winning the national championship this season, but sometimes it looks like we are watching guys who resemble Scottie Reynolds or Allan Ray. And Wahab reminds us of Ochefu.

This is icky to think about because GO TO HELL VILLANOVA, but if Georgetown is finally demonstrating its chops as a guard-heavy team that likes to run and rain threes, yay? Maybe we’ll get some guards who want to be the next Iverson? Or, dare we say, the next JAGAN MOSELY?

The Donald Trump Award for Casually Dismissing the Hard Work of the FBI:

The NCAA?

Remember when a bunch of schools got caught discussing payments to recruits? Head coaches were wiretapped. It was a thing. For real, it was. And now? Has this all been mysteriously swept under the rug?

Shareef O’Neal and Josh LeBlanc recently committed to LSU. Why? Isn’t Will Wade about to be sanctioned? James Akinjo just committed to Arizona. Why? Wasn’t Sean Miller literally minutes away from being fired last season? Isn’t the program about to be sanctioned? Kansas is going to be a 1 seed in the Tourney and might win it all. Why? There are recordings of Bill Self talking about giving money to recruits. Do we all have short term memory loss? Or are we cool with this because we still think Kansas “does things the right way”?

Kelvin Sampson is a damn good college basketball coach who lost his job at Indiana in 2008 for SENDING TOO MANY TEXT MESSAGES. Seriously. This became a national scandal and he was castigated for not being a rule-abiding Indiana man. And now? Several coaches have done far, far worse and no one seems to care. We know paying players is rampant in college basketball, but that doesn’t mean these transgressions should be overlooked.

We will continue to root against these cheaters until the NCAA finally takes action. End of rant. Hoya saxa, and whatever.

The Kerri Russell Award for Mysteriously Chopping Off Beautiful Flowing Locks of Hair Award:

Getty Images

Omer Yurtseven.

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

In between going to class and icing his sprained ankle, it appears that our favorite Turkish seven-footer had time to go to Georgetown Hairstyling and cut his hair. At first, we were as unsure about the look as we were when Felicity cut off her hair as she was still deciding whether to pursue Ben or Noel. And yes, this is a reference to a random WB show that existed before some of these players were even born, but still….

Now that your Hoyas are 1-0 with Yurt’s short ‘do, we’re down with it. One day someone will find Yurt’s incredible locks of black hair in a time capsule behind Lauinger Library in a box with a piece of masking tape that reads: “From the Year Georgetown Basketball Refused to F*cking Quit”.

The Dick Vitale Award for Eternally Celebrating College Basketball:

February 15, 2020.

These last five years have been tough. No Tourney appearances. Lots of disappointing losses every January and February. Nothing to get excited about in March. It’s an unusual and disheartening feeling. (Psyche! It’s familiar as hell.)

And yet, on Saturday some of us finally started to remember why we love watching college basketball. We saw five guys (TA, Blair, Qudus, George, Timmy) who were barely receiving minutes in November and December, along with two others (Pickett and Jagan) who always play hard, fighting and scrapping their way to an improbable road win and, in the process, rejuvenating our once slim Tourney hopes.

We used to love watching college basketball games. And the more Georgetown lost games and played meaningless basketball in February and March, the less interested we were in watching other teams play. But Saturday felt different. And now so many fans are getting sucked back in again. So, thank you for that. Even if it comes crashing down, the last couple of weeks have been awesome.

The Moses Malone+ Award for [Successfully] Going Fo’ Fo’ Fo’:

Jagan Mosely.

Georgetown v Butler Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Four trips to Hinkle. Four wins. Jagan Mosely forever.

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And now, your Hoyas find themselves in an interesting position. With six conference games left before the Big East Tourney, Georgetown is very much knocking on the bubble. Selection Sunday is less than four weeks away. And now that we have a bit of a chance, we can start paying attention to other games. So, congrats to Oklahoma State for upsetting Texas Tech, and mazel tov to SMU for upending Houston. These wins help us.

But more importantly, the best way we can increase our odds of dancing is to just keep winning. We have six games before the postseason and we will have a fighting chance to win all six of them. It won’t be easy, and we can just as easily lose all six of them, but the fact that we should have a fighting chance at least makes us smile.

These scrappy Hoyas seem ready for a fight. Next up is a Providence team that smoked us on New Year’s Eve and has a long recent history of pushing us around. On Wednesday night, whether we have four guys or seven, we need to come ready to fight. Let’s avenge another loss and give the home crowd something to celebrate.

KEEP BARKING.

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Providence.