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One and Done: Hoyas drop DePaul, 68-60, in lone regular season matchup

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Bile leads with 19/10, Harris and Pickett add 14 points apiece

After a frustratingly disjointed start, your Georgetown Hoyas rallied and regrouped to cruise to a win over the DePaul Blue Demons, 68-60. With a January game cancelled due to the Hoyas’ COVID-related pause, this was the only BIG EAST regular season matchup between these two schools, and it was a game that Georgetown could ill-afford to lose. After the [insert adjective here] pregame announcement that senior Jahvon Blair would be a DNP, Coach’s Decision, it was an open question how the roster would organize itself to account for the absence of his leadership and 15 points.

It was a group effort, with Chudier Bile’s big first half on the way to his first double-double in a Hoyas uniform, finishing with 19 points and ten rebounds. A be-masked Donald Carey was active and efficient stepping back into the starting lineup, while Jamorko Pickett came up big in the second half with some back-to-back triples on the way to a 14-point performance. Dante Harris showed incredible quickness in transition and ended up with 14 points and 5 assists on the day.

This contest started with a lot of purposeless motion and no forward progress. For both teams. More than 3 minutes elapsed before Darious Hall hit the first field goal of the game, which was promptly answered with a three-pointer from Bile. Carey would follow that up with a triple of his own from the opposite corner, and then Bile nailed another from the arc only seconds later. After this 90-second barrage, the Hoyas did not make another field goal for 7+ minutes. The only points regularly being scored by either team came from the stripe.

Qudus Wahab was called for a charge when he attempted to take off for a dunk into a double team from 8’ away from the basket, and actually, we love to see it.

The passing was...not passing. There were 50% more turnovers than field goals within the first 10 minutes of play. Players from both teams hurled and bounced the ball with seemingly little regard for anyone being in position to receive it. By this metric, it was almost an improvement when Pickett’s cross-court pass was delivered smoothly into the hands of the referee. At one point Carey also tried to pass it to a member of the officiating crew.

Positives from the first half? Coach Ewing was going deep into his bench to play the freshmen early and often. TJ Berger got into the game, rejecting Charlie Moore with a well-positioned block, as did Jamari Sibley, who was showing off his mid-range game. Malcolm Wilson and Collin Holloway saw extended minutes as well. Beyond that, the Hoyas were getting to the line and sinking their free throws. Bile scored 15 in 15 minutes, half of Georgetown’s total heading into the break. At the half, the Hoyas were up 30-26 and the production assistants at FS1 were hustling to burn the tape before Dr. Naismith came back to haunt us all.

The Blue Demons opened the scoring in the second half, with Moore dropping a three pointer to bring his team within 1. Dante Harris’ fadeaway jumper as the shot clock expired on the next possession kept the Hoyas ahead. After a slow start from the field in the first half, Pickett woke up and took over for Georgetown, with back to back triples putting his team up 40-29 at the U16. He kept it rolling from there, hitting all three free throws when fouled shooting from beyond the arc, then sinking another from long-range. Facilitated by strong rebounding by Carey and good inside play by Qudus Wahab and Timothy Ighoefe, it ended up creating an 18-0 run for the Hoyas, putting them ahead 48-29.

The Blue Demons fought back, and a stretch starting at the 13’ mark of the second half featured the most organized execution from both teams. They wiped away much of Hoyas’ lead with triples from Moore and Ray Salnave, as well as contributions from freshman David Jones who had the best game of his college career (because it always has to be a career-high for somebody). With DePaul on an 8-0 run of their own, and Coach Ewing called a timeout to regroup. It worked.

Carey and Pickett brought the ball up the court, and after some good ball movement it ended up with Harris who drained a three. Moore answered with a long 2. Bile knocked down a step-back, one-legged jumper, which is a shot type that will have long tenure as a source of amusement for Georgetown fans (thanks, MD!).

Carey continued the run with a long three, Pickett found Harris in transition for a reverse layup, then Wahab got inside for a layup of his own. While no lead is safe, Georgetown appeared to have fended off the challenge when a fourth-chance shot by Wahab put the Hoyas ahead 61-43 with 5:05 remaining in the game.

One imagines that Coach Ewing was pleased with his players for getting back to a more comfortable margin, but he was loudly dissatisfied with Bile/Carey/Wahab as they fought for rebounds and attempted put-backs on the aforementioned offensive possession where it took many chances before Georgetown managed to get any points. You see, Patrick Ewing wanted them to dunk — and FS1 viewers were made well aware of this.

The Blue Demons made up a little ground in the waning minutes of this contest, but the result was no longer in serious jeopardy. Jamari Sibley had an extremely sweet fadeaway jumper to beat the expiring shot clock, a part of his game which we are looking forward to more of in the coming years.

We can forget that basketball was supposed to be played early in the first half, since the players apparently forgot that as well, and instead relish the fact that with today’s victory, the Hoyas picked up their sixth BIG EAST win. That’s more conference wins than Georgetown managed to accomplish in last year’s full-size schedule, and they’ve done so in a season where expectations for their performance were lower.

Next up, the Hoyas as back at McDonough on Tuesday 3/2, hosting the Xavier Musketeers for a 7pm tipoff that should air on FS1.

Hoyas win!