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The Casual Awards: Stormin’ Past the Johnnies!

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

Hi there. So that was exciting, huh? For those of you who left the Garden early or threw your remote control in disgust midway through the second half, you may be a bit confused as to why you are seeing Awards on this fine day. And the answer, quite improbably, is that your Hoyas actually….won. We did it! We beat St. John’s and now we get to celebrate like the champions of life that we most certainly possibly might be (unless you’re a Niners fan).

But before we start pondering how much longer our UNDEFEATED record in February will last, it’s time to give away hardware to those most deserving. You know the drill. Away we go…

The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano v Alma Trieste - LBA Lega Basket A Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

The Whole Damn Team.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

These guys deserve it. Look- this team has suffered an awful lot of nonsense this season. From transfers to injuries to close losses to general terribleness, there was every reason for us to lose this game. With McClung unexpectedly out with a foot injury and St. John’s relishing an opportunity to avenge the shellacking we gave them last month at Cap One Arena, most folks would probably find ways to excuse another loss, even if it happened against the lowly Johnnies. And when things started getting out of hand midway through the second half, with the Hoyas trailing by 17 and looking tired and listless, we were expecting extended garbage time that could seemingly only be comforted by Bill Raftery’s humor and Georgetown’s moral victories.

But alas, this team never stopped playing and never stopped fighting. We finished with 20 assists on 26 field goals.

Throughout all of the ups and downs, we as fans continue to watch the games and support the team for a chance to witness games like this one. When there was virtually no reason to keep going, the players on Sunday found a way to keep going. So kudos to Omer, Jahvon, Terrell, Jagan, Qudus, George, Jaden and Jamorko for never giving up.

The Twilight Zone Award for Totally Bizarre and Upside Down Occurrences:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

Georgetown was down 17 points in the second half. Georgetown was playing without Mac McClung. Georgetown was playing on the road. Georgetown was basically down to six regular contributors. Georgetown was assessed two technical fouls. Georgetown missed three key free throws down the stretch. Georgetown’s point guard picked up his fourth foul with ten minutes to go. Georgetown’s first lead of the second half was with ten seconds remaining.

All of these things happened. And yet, somehow Georgetown still won this game. This is not a result with which our fanbase is familiar. We are not used to winning games like this one. St. John’s squandered a big second half lead, committed a bunch of turnovers, literally dribbled the ball off of their feet on the final possession, and managed to piss away a very winnable game. That was pretty much the most Georgetown thing to do.

The way St. John’s lost is the way we have become accustomed to losing. Heck, it’s how we lost to Butler just last week. Nothing makes sense right now. Left is right. Up is down. DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER.

The Jagan Mosely Award for Delivering Thunderous Dunks Award:

Omer Yurtseven? Yes! Omer Yurtseven!

The big man has heard the criticism loud and clear. Virtually the entire fan base is shouting “Go up strong, big fella!” As skilled as he is, and as pretty as his base line jumpers may be, we all want the Big Yurt to stop twisting and turning and settling for long two-point jumpers. We want him to take the ball strong to the basket and impose his will on dudes. He missed a game winning dunk against UNC Greensboro. He was stuffed repeatedly by Xavier. And he has found every reason to eschew Qudus-like dunks in favor of hookers in the lane.

Which is why it was a pleasant surprise when Yurt decided, in the waning minutes on Sunday with your Hoyas down two points, to BRING THE PAIN and dunk over two guys to tie the game.

It was unexpected. It was surreal. It was amazing. Keep that fire in your belly, Turkish.

The John Beckwith and Jeremy Gray Award for Wearing Boat Shoes to a Garden Party:

Mac McClung.

Bro. Mac’s street clothes on the bench were pretty casual. Boat shoes? Yes please. On Super Bowl Sunday at the Garden, Mac brought his sartorial talents to the Mecca.

The Andy Reid Award for Coaching Excellence Award:

Patrick Ewing.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

For those who have been critical of certain aspects of Ewing’s coaching (the hard hedging, the shoddy perimeter defense, the inexplicable lackluster play at the start of each half), we hear you. But on Sunday at the Garden, Coach Big Pat surprised us in the second half. By incorporating an occasional 2-3 zone and ramping up the press, Ewing threw a bunch of different defensive looks at St. John’s and they were totally unprepared. So big ups to the big fella. The adjustments worked. A tip of the cap to you, sir.

And speaking of which….

The Sarah Connor Award for Running a Successful Press:

Patrick Ewing.

Our defense in the last ten minutes was fantastic. We played hungry. We forced turnovers and we just made things happen. We all know that this is the way Ewing wanted to play at the beginning of the season. But as the roster defections happened, and then became worse, it was unrealistic to think that we would run and trap with only seven players. But on Sunday we needed a defensive spark, so Ewing called on his guys to attack. And attack they did. We forced 12 turnovers in the second half. Defense became offense. It was fun.

The Ironman Award for Playing All 40 Minutes:

Jahvon Blair and Jagan Mosely.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 02 Georgetown at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s start with Jahvon. With the exception of Blair’s game at SMU this season, this was probably his best performance as a Hoya. The junior from Ontario was everywhere on Sunday. He poured in a CAREER-HIGH 23 points, handed out five assists, knocked down five threes, and played pretty well defensively. With Mac on the bench, we needed him to score. And score he did. He didn’t force his shots. He picked his spots and played within the rhythm of the offense. And he played ALL 40 MINUTES. Much deserved recognition for a guy who really delivered.

And now for Jagan.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 02 Georgetown at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Heading into the last five minutes of this one, we were witnessing perhaps Jagan’s worst game of the season. He was frustrated. He committed six turnovers. His wide open shots weren’t falling. He committed a technical foul after throwing the ball away. And it just wasn’t his day.

But then all of a sudden he turned things around. He took a charge, revved up the defense, and just started putting the pieces together. He hit a few clutch baskets and free throws down the stretch, drove to the basket and fed Yurtseven for the game-winning basket, and made a heady play at the end by passing the ball instead of drawing a foul with five seconds left. He stepped up at exactly the moment we needed him to. He finished the game with an impressive 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals. About as well-rounded as he can be. And, like Jahvon, he played ALL 40 MINUTES.

Imagine not wanting Jagan Mosely on the court when it matters. Couldn’t be us. #jerseystrong

The Waste Management Award for Getting Rewarded for Trash:

St. John’s.

Our defense in the last ten minutes of the second half was solid. We pressed, we had quick hands, and we didn’t allow any easy baskets. And yet, almost every time the shot clock went under ten seconds, the Johnnies would find a way to throw up a bad shot that would somehow find its way in the basket. It was painful to watch. Nothing is worse than defending well for 25 seconds and then having a guy throw up garbage that goes in. No play epitomized this frustrating run as much as the last-second leaner with one second on the shot clock to put STJ up by three points with over a minute to go. It was trash. And we’re just glad we didn’t lose the game because of it.

The Iowa Presidential Caucus Award for Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again Even Though it Doesn’t Make Sense:

Georgetown’s Hard Hedging.

Although the hard hedging wasn’t as costly as it has been in previous games, it continues to be a constant irritant. Every time Yurt steps outside the three point line to quickly double a guard, it leaves him far from the basket, prone to committing a silly foul on the hedge, and leads to open shooters or rolling big men. Smart teams have exploited the crap out of our defensive sets. St. John’s couldn’t on Sunday, but the next team surely might.

Remember what Seton Hall did to us in Newark? Romaro Gill abused us because of the hard hedge. We need to adjust.

Like the Iowa caucus – which is stubbornly allowed to remain the earliest state to vote in presidential primaries (even though Iowa’s demographics are hardly representative of the overall make-up of the U.S. population) – the hard hedging needs to disappear. Let’s spice things up, team.

The Junkyard Dog Award for Rebounding Like a Beast:

Omer Yurtseven.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 02 Georgetown at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yurt had 15 rebounds, including 12 in the first half, and we needed every single one of them. Our guy had SEVEN offensive rebounds to match the SEVEN his last name. SEVEN. Not SIX.

The Greg Whittington Award for Disappearing Before Games at the Garden:

Mac McClung.

Remember that January game in 2013 when Cool Whitt was surprisingly not available before the game? And we only discovered this news about 15 minutes before the game started? The same thing happened on Sunday with Mac McClung. A mysterious foot injury that we knew nothing about caused a panic in the run-up to the game. I mean, it was really only a panic for the dozens of Hoya faithful who still subject themselves to this torture, but still, there was a panic.

Why does this keep happening to us? When will it stop? Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop losing players.

The Butler Bulldogs Award for Overcoming a Double Digit Second Half Deficit to Win a Big East Game on the Road Award:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

Too soon?

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And now, Georgetown leaves New York on a high note. After this thrilling come-from-behind victory against the Johnnies, your UNDEFEATED IN FEBRUARY Hoyas head home to face Seton Hall. In a game in which we will almost certainly be expected to lose. But here’s the thing, fam. We may be undermanned, but we’re hungry. We continue to scrap and claw and fight. We ain’t dead yet.

It’s time to start avenging losses and keep this mojo running.

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Seton Hall.