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Some Nights, the Demons Win: Hoyas lose at DePaul, 74-68

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

Your Georgetown Hoyas are playing for their postseason lives in every single game right now, and tonight’s trip to Wintrust Arena was no exception. The remaining Hoyas could not vanquish the DePaul Blue Demons, falling by a score of 74-68. With only four games remaining in the season and three of those against ranked opponents, this defeat likely burst the Hoyas’ fragile bubble for good.

Senior guards Terrell Allen (21 pts, 8 reb) and Jagan Mosely (13 pts, 4 reb, all-around warrior) turned in steady, stellar backcourt performances; Jamorko Pickett kept the team in the game with 15 first half points. Outstanding rebounding from Qudus Wahab facilitated the Hoyas’ offense, while team-wide freethrow excellence allowed Georgetown to hang around even when the field goals were few and oh-so-far between.

A few lineup questions were answered in the minutes which preceded tipoff. Mac McClung was spotted walking across the hardwood in a walking boot and (very sharp) suit, confirming that the reaggravated injury which caused his early departure from the game against Providence was enough to keep him sidelined. In happier news, Omer Yurtseven, who had decided to sit out the last contest with residual ankle pain, was back in the starting lineup for Georgetown.

Jaylen Butz opened the scoring, but Pickett quickly answered with a contested runner. The rest of the Hoyas’ lineup was less locked in, and down 6-2 with two minutes elapsed, Coach Ewing called his first timeout. Pickett drove baseline and layed it in, Charlie Moore answered, and then Pickett knocked down what we later realized would be Georgetown’s only three-pointer of the half. A transition alley-oop to Butz heading into the U16 had the Hoyas on their heels. Ewing mixed it up coming out of the break, sending Jaden Robinson onto the floor. Whatever the cause, a hooker from Wahab and layup that Mosely sent in from high off the glass got Georgetown close, and a pair of freethrows from Pickett gave them their first lead of the game.

The Hoyas went on an 8-0 run, forcing DePaul to endure a four minute drought during which they went just 1-7 from the floor. Unfortunately, because we cannot have nice things, Omer Yurtseven went to the locker room with 9 minutes remaining in the half, ostensibly having reaggravated his ankle. The tables were turned, and it was DePaul’s turn for an 8-0 scoring streak; the Blue Demons were up 20-15 with 7:28 remaining in the first half.

Allen found a way to the basket, Timothy Ighoefe and Mosely made their freethrows, and the Hoyas were up by a point. Yurtseven returned to the court, and while his ability to elevate was affected, he continued to fight alongside his teammates. The two squads traded momentum and the lead throughout the remainder of the opening session. Freshman Romeo Weems, who averages 7 ppg, hit three triples in a row, because that’s just what happens.

Allen and Mosely made some key plays (and baskets), and the rebound-by-committee tactic was paying dividends. George Muresan got a hand up to prevent DePaul from grabbing their own miss; the ball was instead collected by Mosely, who got the bucket with a soaring, angled runnner. When Yurtseven collected a rebound off a Paul Reed miss with 14 seconds remaining, he lobbed it off to Mosely, who immediately brought the ball up the floor while scanning ahead. He found Pickett, who made impressive mid-air adjustments and floated up a runner just before the buzzer sounded. It was 36-36 at halftime. Pickett already had 15 points, and the Hoyas were 14/14 from the line having been in the bonus since the midway point of the half.

Play resumed with lots of quick ball movement from both teams, with neither able to convert throughout the early minutes of the second half. The teams only combined for 11 field goals in the first ten minutes. Jahvon Blair, who had scored between 16 and 30 points in each of the past five games, was nearly a non-factor. There was another four-minute stretch wherein Pickett mysteriously disappeared from the bench and the only Hoyas points came from freethrows. And yet, when Mosely collected the deflection off a failed DePaul alley-oop attempt and hit a streaking Allen with the pass, the basket and-1 from the senior point guard made is a tie game, 55-55 with 6:37 remaining. With Pickett MIA and Yurtseven’s jumping ability severely limited, Allen and Mosely were working hard inside, grabbing rebounds at both ends of the court among the frontcourt players.

The rest of the game felt like an eternity. It should have been over when Oscar Lopez Jr. found Weems in the corner and put DePaul up 64-57. It could have been finished when Jahvon Blair turned it over with two minutes remaining and Butz’ layup brought the Blue Demons advantage to 66-59 with 1:44 remaining. It might have seemed futile when Moore’s pair of freethrows had DePaul up 68-61 with only 41 seconds remaining. Each and every time, like they have all season, the Hoyas — the ones on the court, that is — refused to give up.

Jagan Mosely fought for every inch to drive DePaul out of position. Terrell Allen drew a shooting foul outside the arc. Jamorko Pickett had returned to the court, and he grabbed two of his own misses before putting one away. Georgetown clawed their way back to within three with 32 seconds left to go, but they could get no closer.

I am sad that this game played out the way it did, but I am so incredibly proud of the overall manner with which this team has comported themselves.

Your Hoyas get a few days to ice their wounds before taking on Marquette (at Marquette) for an 8:30pm tipoff on Wednesday, February 26th.

Hoya Saxa, everybody. Get some rest.