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“I’m back” - Ewing expects full complement of players at No. 21 Providence Thursday

Patrick Ewing is back after missing the last two Georgetown games

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Georgetown Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After missing Georgetown’s last two games - both double-digit defeats - coach Patrick Ewing was back for a normal pre-game media availability Wednesday morning.

“I’m here, I’m back,” Ewing said as he appeared on a video conference call ahead of traveling to face No. 21 Providence on Thursday afternoon.

Without Ewing patrolling the sidelines and his loud, booming voice echoing around Capital One Arena for most to hear, the Hoyas have doubled their losing streak up to four game; putting themselves in a big - although early - 0-3 hole in Big East play where the schedule doesn’t get any easier the rest of the way.

Assistant Louis Orr was the acting head coach in the most recent losses to Butler and St. John’s as Ewing wasn’t present in accordance with DC Department of Health guidelines.

With players also shuffling in and out of the active gameday roster the Hoyas have used a different lineup in each of the last four games and seven for the season. That could change as Ewing started off his session with some good news.

“As far as I know everybody’s back,” Ewing said.

“Everybody’s available. Hopefully we’ll be full strength barring some crazy thing that might happen today. Everybody should be ready.”

The biggest news here is that Donald Carey should play for the first time since Georgetown’s 80-73 loss to TCU on Dec. 18 which came immediately before the Hoyas nearly three-week covid pause. Carey - Georgetown’s captain - is one of four Hoyas in the Top 20 for Big East scorers - 12.8ppg - and is also one of the best 3-point (47%) and free throw (94%) shooters the league.

Carey has started all 11 games he’s been available for and played at least 30 minutes in all but two. He’s also scored in double figures nine times. He also seems like the leader in the country in four-point opportunities. For a team short on experience, Carey’s presence will be a big boost for a team that needs all the help it can get.

So what was it like for Ewing to have to watch his team play from afar?

Well, not that great.

“It’s definitely difficult,” Ewing said about not being able to be with his team.

“It’s hard to be a part of it and help with the gameplan and talking with my coaches and talking to the players and then have to sit there and watch and have no voice.”

“We’ve dug ourselves a hole but we still have a lot of games to go. We’ve only played three games. We’ve lost some games that we could have probably won if we played better but we didn’t. So it is what it is and we have to regroup and come ready for Providence, a Top 20 team.”

Let’s take a look at some of the other things Ewing said on Wednesday:

On Providence possibly only having the minimum seven players and if the game is definitely going to be played:

“They have their seven guys. We’re practicing today and we’re flying there right after practice. Based on everything I’ve got, the game is on.”

On what he’s seen since he’s been out:

“We have to do better, we have to play better. There’s a lot of things that we didn’t do well that we need to fix. One of them is taking care of the ball which is something that we’ve talked about until I’m blue in the face. All three games that we’ve lost we’ve given up 20 plus turnovers. To me that’s where we’re losing the games at. We have to do a much better job handling the ball, taking care of the ball, making the right plays. If you have your shot, take your shot. When we drive in there sometimes you don’t always have to drive in there to shoot it. Make the right play.”

On what’s happened since he put the team on ‘notice’ after the Marquette loss:

Since then we’ve lost two more games. We have a long way to go but we still have 16...17 games to play. It’s no time to panic. We have to play with a sense of urgency and we can’t lose anymore games. We still have time to rectify our season and get ourselves back in the hunt. That’s all I keep talking about is we talk about our non conference schedule or we talk about this is why we play our non conference schedule to get to this point. The Big East is the most important part of our season and we have to do a better job of finishing the season.

And the last one comes from me.

Even though I couldn’t make it, I was able to submit a question that was answered. Earlier in the season Ewing said after losses to Dartmouth and South Carolina that they would be bumps in the road and the team would improve. I asked what areas did he expect to see improvement and why has the progress been slower than he originally expected

“Bumps in the road still. What has slowed the progress? Corona.”

“We have been out for 10....13 days. Then we had five more people out for 10...13 days so really we have not had a full compliment of guys in two weeks. I think that has definitely hurt us. Not just us but other universities. Some people are doing better than others. When you are counting on freshman to help lead your team then sometimes there’s going to be growing pains and we are going through growing pains right now.”