For just more than 20 minutes, it appeared that your never-say-die Georgetown Hoyas might just pull off yet another critical win to solidify their position on the NCAA Tournament bubble. But the minutes, miles, and maladies that these Hoyas accrued over the past several weeks finally caught up with them in the second half, as a critical scoreless stretch doomed them in a 73-63 loss to Providence.
Ever since four players left the program during the non-conference slate, Georgetown has been operating with little margin for error. That margin shrunk to zero with recent injuries to Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven. Gamely, the remaining Hoyas have continued to fight, often playing the full 40 minutes. They seemed to find endless reserves of energy and will, battling their way to a pair of critical, recent wins against DePaul and Butler.
During Wednesday’s second half, as head coach Patrick Ewing noted post-game, all that heroic effort finally took its toll. Georgetown went more than 13 minutes without a made field goal. Any semblance of offensive rhythm came to a grinding halt, as weary Hoyas lurched their way through fruitless isolations. Inside, Yurtseven’s absence was felt more keenly than ever, as Qudus Wahab battled foul trouble and ineffective play and Timothy Ighoefe looked overmatched against the Providence front line. In the time Georgetown went without a made basket, the Hoyas’ 6-point lead turned into a 10-point deficit.
As you might expect, the team-wide numbers for the Hoyas weren’t pretty. Georgetown shot just 39 percent from the field (with a hardly better 41 percent inside the arc), and made just 4 three-pointers. The Hoyas lost both the rebounding and turnover battles to a deeper Providence squad. Georgetown’s only consistent source of offense came from attacking the rim against a handsy Friar defense, as the Hoyas earned 32 free throw and made 25. Jahvon Blair led the team with 20 points while Terrell Allen put in 16, but both struggled to generate offense during the fallow second half. Jamorko Pickett put together a double-double of 12 point and 11 rebounds but, like his teammates, contributed to the extended drought by missing some critical second-half looks.
Regardless of outcome, these Hoyas impressed tonight as they have throughout short-handed run. They continued to compete and scrap, even while tugging at their shorts and leaning over during stoppages. Jagan Mosely got up from a couple of hard falls, never asking out of the game.
Tonight’s tough loss didn’t foreclose an NCAA Tournament run, but it lengthened the odds considerably. Just as it can’t withstand another injury, Georgetown can’t afford any more losses in a series of must-win games. Unfortunately, there is no rest for the weary, and the Hoyas must now hit the road for a must-win game at DePaul Saturday night. While tonight’s result makes that trip look uncertain, what is clear is that Georgetown won’t go down without a fight.