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A Season in a Game: Hoyas drop to X, 66-63

Blair leads with 18, Pickett & Mosely in double figures, Ighoefe grabs 7 boards

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

The home crowd — and we can call it that, thankfully — at Capital One Arena today experienced a game which encapsulated this entire season for your Georgetown Hoyas.

Facing off against the Xavier Musketeers for the second time in BIG EAST play, the audience saw the team struggle to make shots early and find themselves on the wrong end of a double-digit deficit. They saw cold shooting and not-quite-coordinated defensive rotations. They saw a small group of players who refuse to quit clawing their way back into a game. They saw critical plays from veterans and walk-ons alike. They saw star players look on from the bench in suits and boots, and watched helplessless and pride fight for control of these young mens’ facial expressions. They saw the methodically Hoyas cut away at their opponent’s lead, until the game was even. With the final seconds disappearing from the clock, they saw a team that was inches shy of a win, inches from jubilation and a tangible reward for their hard work. They saw a team that deserved better — today and all season. Unfortunately, life is not fair and getting what one deserves is largely a self-consoling fantasy.

Happiness was not meant to be. With the game tied 63-63, Naji Marshall buried a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to put Xavier back on top. That is where the Musketeers would stay. Jagan Mosely found Terrell Allen, who took it up the court and launched a contested shot from five feet beyond the arc. It caught back iron and bounced harmlessly aside. Like I said — inches. The final score was 66-63.

First things first - Jagan Mosely would like to find this girl and her family to set up a photo on Senior Day. Can we help him out?

How did it get started? Slowly. Sloppily. Both teams averaged only one point per minute for the first five minutes of the game. At that point someone remembered that the baskets are not supposed to have lids, but only removed the one from Xavier’s end. The Musketeers went on a 11-0 run, getting contributions from Tyrique Jones, KyKy Tandy, and Zach Freemantle. While this was happening, Georgetown was trapped in a scoring drought that featured 2/12 shooting from the field to start and an early 16-5 deficit.

It was Terrell Allen that broke the spell, hitting a three pointer to give the Hoyas their first points in over three minutes. It would be nice to say that the miscues & turnovers by Xavier, particularly how their shooters repeatedly stepped out of bounds in the corner, were what Georgetown exploited to get back into this contest. However, that would be incorrect; they were unable to capitalize on the turnovers. Without the shot-creating skills of Mac MClung and Omer Yurtseven for the however-many’th game, the remaining Hoyas were simply grinding. It was not pretty basketball, but they found a way.

As Georgetown went on a run late in the half while X suffered through a six-minute scoring pause of their own, the layups (and freethrows) from Jamorko Pickett, Jahvon Blair, and Mosely showed the kind of contribution that pair would be expected to make. On the other hand, the field goals from Qudus Wahab’s layup, Jaden Robinson’s steal & bucket, and George Muresan’s jumper evoked various versions of, “Yup. Just like we all drew it up in November.” Either way, the Hoyas’ stones were leveraged in the proper way to make up some ground in this rock fight, and with four minutes remaining in the half, they had turned this into a one possession game, 23-20. That remaining interval was not pretty. Between the two teams, only three more field goals were scored before the break. All of the Georgetown starters except Jahvon Blair already had two fouls.

The Hoyas came out of the break fired up. A quick triple from Pickett and layup from Mosely brought them within a single point, 28-27. The momentum was short-lived, as a 7-0 run by Xavier was followed up by an ugly, multi-minute stretch where neither team could by a bucket. There were bad foul calls and a persistent inability for either squad to capitalize on opportunities as they arose. (Editor’s Note: I took a few minutes to complete a WMATA survey wherein the agency could be chastised for wanting to move the nearest metrobus stop from Georgetown’s front gates to 12 mile from campus. Voluntarily completing a public transit survey was less painful than this game. Let that sink in, folks.)

That said, this year’s Hoyas team never considers themselves to be out of a game until the clock reads 00:00. They are woefully short on manpower, but they have the tenacity, skill, and endless pride to tip that scale back in their direction. With 12:29 remaining, Jones got his own rebound and made a layup. This would not have been notable, except he decided to yap about it afterward. He was awarded a Technical foul (also his third PF) for that performance, and Blair knocked down the resulting pair of freethrows. The junior guard followed it up with a triple, cutting the deficit to three.

What Georgetown was also realizing was that Timothy Ighoefe plays hard and can be a beast of a rebounder, but as a freshman...he is not yet equipped to guard Tyrique Jones in the paint. However, just because you can idenitfy a problem does not mean that you can solve it, and Georgetown’s current bench does not have any answers. Or extra, eligible, un-maimed humans. While we’re at it, Malcolm Wilson was apparently the latest casualty:

A soaring lob to Jones could have shut down the Hoyas, fired up the Musketeers, and quieted the crowd. It had the opposite effect. The fans is Capital One had identified the enemy, and they got loud. The Hoyas were energized. Allen answered first, Xavier turned it over, Blair knocked down a triple, and the Musketeers committed their twentieth turnover of the contest to give the ball back to Georgetown. It was a one possession game with 6:26 remaining.

Quentin Goodin found Jones for a dunk, but Mosely answered with a floater. When Ighoefe battled Paul Scruggs for a rebound, causing the latter to foul out with 2:58 remaining, Ewing was officially tie-less. That’s when you know we have a game. Marshall and Pickett traded threes. Mosely was all over the floor trying to scramble for loose balls, fighting the front court players for rebounds, and deploying his signature charge-drawing abilities. All within a single play - he does everything for (t)his team.

Blair, who led the team with 18 points, buried a three with 1:04 remaining. Georgetown had tied it up for the first time since the game was 5-5. Marshall was fouled and hit both of his freethrows. Ighoefe was there for the putback to tie it at 63-63 with :17 remaining. Xavier got the ball back, and Marshall knocked down a triple. The Hoyas drew up a good play, with Mosely executing the clean inbounds pass to Allen for a clear path up the floor. Unfortunately, the ball caught too much iron and flew wide. While the team must have been disappointed, their performance gives nothing to be ashamed of and they should hold their heads high knowing they can hang with any team in this conference.

Georgetown is back in action on Wednesday night (3/4) at 8:30pm. They head to Omaha to take on the Creighton Bluejays, who were taken to what has to be the last woodshed in Queens this afternoon, dropping to St. John’s 91-71. The game will probably air on TV, because this is the year 2020, but no channel is currently listed.

Hoya Saxa.