The Georgetown Hoyas (9-11, 7-8) jumped to a 15-point lead in the first half and managed to hold off a second-half comeback from the Xavier Musketeers (13-6, 6-6) to win 72-66. It was a big win for a Tuesday night and may be the last home game at McDonough Arena for the foreseeable future.
While the seniors and grad-students were given credit, Chudier Bile was the driving force behind holding off Xavier’s attempt to snatch victory.
He was certainly not alone out there. Pickett provided a spark in the first half and a couple times in the second. Blair got the offense going in the first half with the two big runs. Harris penetrated, scored, and dished well in spurts. Wahab passed out of double teams. And, to be honest, there was some decent team defense.
But no Georgetown fan was feeling good about the 38-23 lead against a bubble-hungry Musketeer team. The 15-point margin was almost too big for comfort. Whether it’s a case of an opponent’s panic-induced press or Georgetown’s fade in aggressiveness, large leads are a recipe for Hoya Migrainoia. Luckily, a heavy dose of Chudi in second half has been the recent cure.
Bile was all over the court on Tuesday night, especially at the end of the game where he had two blocks, a few free throws, and several key rebounds. The Xavier game isn’t the only time.
In the win over Providence, Bile had 12 second-half points. Bile had 15 in the second against Creighton, 9 against Butler, and 14 against Xavier. On the flipside, Bile only had 5 points in the second half against Villanova and was blanked by Creighton and UConn in each latter half of the late-night home losses.
When Bile is not hitting late, others have stepped up to secure victory. Bile only scored 5 points in the second period against Seton Hall, where Pickett had 11 second-half points, and Chudi only had 4 points in the second at DePaul, where Pickett had 11 and Dante Harris added 10.
The point being, as good as Patrick Ewing’s offense looks at times, buckets down the stretch have not always been easy to come by for the Hoyas. Chudier Bile and his second-half scoring efforts have been key determining factors in the outcomes of the past 9 games.
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Chudier Bile had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Georgetown to a 72-66 win over Xavier on Tuesday night.
Jamorko Pickett had 18 points and seven rebounds for Georgetown (9-11, 7-8 Big East Conference). Qudus Wahab added 13 points and Jahvon Blair had 12 points.
The Hoyas’ much-improved interior defense flexed their muscles early against Freemantle and senior forward Jason Carter. Pickett and sophomore center Qudus Wahab helped cause a nearly 4-minute scoring drought as the Musketeers missed 5 straight field goals. Freshman guard Dante Harris and sophomore center Timothy Ighoefe punished this inadequate offensive performance from Xavier with a three and a big tip in to give the Hoyas a 13-9 lead.
Ewing praised his defense postgame saying “we work on our defense every practice. It’s been clicking for us of late. It has to continue if we want to do damage in the Big East tournament.”
FINAL - Georgetown 72, Xavier 66— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) March 3, 2021
The Hoyas built a 19-point lead and held off the Musketeers’ comeback bid in DC. Jamorko Pickett goes for 16 points and 7 boards on his senior night, Chudier Bile with 16, Qudus Wahab with 13 and 7 + Jahvon Blair added 12.
“Everything’s a coach’s decision,” Ewing said when asked about Blair. “That was a tough game. We made too many mistakes, mental errors, gave them all those offensive rebounds in the second half. We had the game in hand . . . and we just let them come back. We turned it over. They got second shots, and all that hurt us. But we were still able to do enough things to come away with a win against a very good team. . . . We just didn’t do a good job of closing out the game” ...
“There was a lot of mixed emotions today, knowing that it’s my last [home] game,” senior Jamorko Pickett said. “We just want to win out this game and next game and [go] into the Big East on a high note” ...
“It was a huge win for us,” Bile said. “Shout out to my teammates for finding me when I was open. It was a must-win for us. We feel really good. We’re clicking really well. We’re playing together and sharing the ball. We’re just playing really unselfish right now. Everybody’s main focus is just winning.”
The final two minutes were stressful for Georgetown fans, but the Musketeers failed to convert several critical opportunities to extend the game. The Hoyas made some boneheaded turnovers down the stretch and seemed to struggle with Xavier’s full-court pressure, but they did not relinquish their lead at a single point in the second half.
Chudier Bile served as Georgetown’s engine on both ends of the floor, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks while shooting 4/7 from downtown. Pickett added 18 points and 7 rebounds in 38 minutes. Wahab also finished in double figures, scoring 13 points and securing 7 boards of his own despite finding himself on the bench as Ewing went small to close the game.
Bile approved of the decision to go small, saying after the game, “When we go small we can switch 1-5. We can play a lot of different ways, which will give a lot of teams trouble”.
With Xavier looking bereft of ideas, Coach Steele leaned on youth. Down 16 with 8 minutes to play, CJ Wilcher blocked a shot, collected the loose ball, and found Zach Freemantle on the run out for a basket. Kyky drew a foul and hit the FTs. Kyky hit a three. Kyky hit another three. In a blink, X was down 7 with 5:59 to go.
Then disaster struck. Jahvon Blair drew butter soft calls on Paul Scruggs twice within the span of a minute. Combine those two with the laughable double tech and the charge from the first half, and Xavier’s senior leader was out of the game due mostly to questionable officiating. The free throws put Georgetown back up 9 with 5:37 to play.
Still, Xavier didn’t quit. Kyky worked a pick-and-pop and found Zach Freemantle for three. Then Kyky drove all the way across the floor to hit at acrobatic running scoop shot over two of Georgetown’s shot blockers, calling “and-one” as he slid to the floor. The refs didn’t agree, but no matter. Xavier was within four with 4:15 to play.
Ball rotation found Chudier Bile wide open on the wing. His fourth three of the game was a bridge too far for X.
Latest Kente Korner is up!@NationWideNolan joined me after Georgetown's win over Xavier— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) March 3, 2021
Hoyas have now won 4 of 5 and are still in the mix for the 5 seed in the BET...should Ewing get BE Coach of the Year votes?
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