The reigning Big East Tournament Champions, your Georgetown Hoyas, took the court today for their much anticipated season opener against the Big Green of Dartmouth. Dartmouth entered the game 0-1 having suffered a tough loss to Boston College in their first competitive game in two years. They were physically overmatched by a BC team predicted to finish last in the ACC, falling down 23 at half before climbing back to suffer a 16-point defeat. The disparity between the two teams suggested this game may be of the cupcake variety for fifth year coach Patrick Ewing and company.
As for Ewing, the first major decision of the 2021-22 season was the starting five, which was somewhat up in the air following some offseason turmoil in the frontcourt and a reported injury to expecting starting center Timothy Ighoefe. Ewing elected to start sophomore Dante Harris, senior captain Donald Carey, freshman 5-star recruit Aminu Mohammed, redshirt sophomore center Malcolm Wilson and Citadel transfer Kaiden Rice. The Big Green trotted out the same 5 that started at Boston College, headlined by graduate guard Brendan Barry. Barry, whose grandfather played for the Hoyas, may be a familiar name as there was Georgetown speculation when he added his name to the transfer portal prior to last season.
The start of the game wasn’t ideal for the Hoyas. The aforementioned Barry hit two early threes and the Hoyas started cold. Malcolm Wilson’s energy immediately made a mark though as he created a second chance three for Dante Harris to get the Hoyas on the board and emphatically finished a pick and roll before the first media timeout. At the 14-minute mark, Ewing made his first substitutes bringing in Jordan Riley, Jay Billingsley, and Ryan Mutombo for Mohammed, Rice, and Wilson. Dartmouth followed with a quick 5-0 run to go into the under 12 media timeout with a 17-8 advantage. The Big Green extended their lead to 22-8 before Coach Patrick Ewing used his first timeout of the season.
Things only got worse as Maryland native and Sidwell friends alum Ryan Cornish caught fire for Dartmouth as they extended their lead to as many as 22 points. The Hoyas went small for the final two minutes of the half, which paid some dividends, as they shortened the deficit to a 37-21 Dartmouth lead going into half time.
The story of the first half was an inability to create good shots on offense and an inability to defend the three-point line on defense. Effort and execution was discouraging to say the least. The Hoyas looked entirely disjointed and issues were compounded by poor shooting even on the few good looks they got. At the break, the Hoyas were shooting 28% from the field and 25% from behind the 3 point arc while their opposition shot 47% from the field and 39% from deep with SEVEN made threes. Quite frankly, our guys couldn’t have played a worse half.
The Hoyas finally showed life coming out for the second half. They paired together a few focused defensive trips with a nifty Aminu Mohammed finish and two Kaiden Rice threes to immediately cut the deficit to 8 before Dartmouth called a timeout. The Hoyas came out of the break building upon this energy with a Don Carey And-1 and Kaiden Rice three to cut the lead all the way down to 2. The run was halted there however as Dartmouth countered with 3 more three pointers (the perimeter defense remained a problem) and settled into an 8 point lead before the Hoyas called a timeout at the 14 minute mark.
Then Ryan Mutombo entered the game and established his presence quicklywith two and-1s. A pair of Mohammed and Riley slams gave the Hoyas their first lead of the game at 50-48. But once again, the excitement was halted by a 11-0 Dartmouth run spearheaded by two more Taurius Samuels threes. Guarding him was a problem despite him being a standstill shooter. Donald Carey stopped the run with a three but it was returned by Samuels again, after an unnecessary Carey help-off.
The Dartmouth shooting barrage continued on as Brendan Barry knocked down a corner And-1 three which proved to be the dagger. The remaining 6 or so minutes were uneventful without the Hoyas really threatening to make it a game again. Dartmouth eventually took home the victory by a score of 69-60
There aren’t many bright spots to take away from today. There were ten encouraging minutes in the second half in which the team played focused defense and managed to create and make some three pointers. Perhaps you can point to the play of Aminu Mohammed as a highlight. The freshman finished with 17 points and 5 rebounds. But as a whole the performance was very disappointing for Patrick Ewing’s fifth Hoya team. A smaller, less athletic team came to DC and were able to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end, which amounted to SIXTEEN three pointers on a whopping 42% from downtown.
The Hoyas return to action on Tuesday against American.