Coming off a dispiriting week that saw their NCAA Tournament hopes dwindle, and still suffering from injury woes, your fighting Georgetown Hoyas could have been excused a no-show on their trip to Marquette. And a casual fan who just inspected the play-by-play might have judged from the Golden Eagles’ early 20-point lead that the Hoyas just mailed it in.
The truth was more complicated, even if the result was hardly better. An undermanned Hoya squad continued to scrap its way through an increasingly lost but nevertheless noble season, losing 93-72 at Marquette. The loss, however valiant, further darkened Georgetown’s dimmed postseason fortunes.
Anyone familiar with the Hoyas’ defense — the worst in the conference by a mile — would have recognized the danger posed by Marquette’s offense, next-to-best in the league. Georgetown doesn’t have fresh legs to shuttle in and out, doesn’t have length across the forward positions, employs a pair of freshmen big men who are still learning their way across the court, and still sometimes employs suspect defensive strategies that seem as likely to yield buckets as prevent them.
True to form, the Golden Eagles shot 57 percent from the field against the Hoyas (almost 70 percent from two!) while pumping in 14 triples from beyond the arc. Some of that hot shooting came in a fast start that saw the hosts build in an inhospitable 38-18 lead, a margin abetted by a five-minute stretch where the Hoyas didn't connect from the field. Marquette’s gaudy numbers also were abetted by a number of easy baskets yielded by Georgetown’s press—rolled out to try to force a few turnovers and get the Hoyas back into the game.
To their credit, though, the Hoyas kept at it, whittling the Marquette advantage to 11 by the half, and continuing to play gamely despite not getting close enough to pose a real threat the rest of the night. Jagan Mosely put up a season-high 19 points, as the offensively reserved senior guard saw and took scoring opportunities presented to him. Jahvon Blair (7-18; 4-9 3FG for 18 points) also was a source of points, but, tellingly, all of them came with the Hoyas down double digits. The Georgetown supporting cast, such as it is these days, continued to do its best, with walk-ons George Muresan and Jaden Robinson each seeing action, and Robinson and now back-up center Tim Ighoefe each contributing a pair of buckets. Jamorko Pickett battled leg cramps to pluck his way through an up-and-down but always maximum effort game, while Mosely and Blair sat just 3 minutes apiece.
A common refrain on twitter during the game is what might have been. It’s impossible not to wonder how good Georgetown could have been with a healthy Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven, let alone the four transfers who departed early in the season. It’s hard to know how much of this gritty effort is borne of the circumstances — whether the Hoyas could summon the same will if they weren’t raging against the dying light. Whatever Georgetown’s fate in that alternate, full-strength timeline, this team has remained admirable even as its fortunes have turned south.
Now, Georgetown returns home for a pair of home games sandwiched around a trip to Creighton. It seems increasingly unlikely that a dramatic reversal, and an NCAA Tournament berth, are on the horizon. That is a shame, particularly for Mosely, a senior who has continued to show up and give maximum effort each game, but likely will never be able to do so on the biggest stage. Even so, the Hoyas’ three upcoming March games will make for compelling viewing.