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PRIMO! Georgetown Wins Season Opener Over Coppin State

Spears scored 28 in overtime win!

Rafael Suanes/Georgetown Univ.

It was not pretty at all, but the Georgetown Hoyas came away with an opening game overtime win over the Coppin State Eagles to break a 21-game losing streak from last year. Newcomer guards Brandon Murray (18 points, 8 assists) and Primo Spears (28 points, 10-19 FGs, 4 assists) showed several ways to score, while Bryson Mozone revealed some timely scoring (20 points, 7-14 FGs) and Akok Akok reminded fans of his versatility on both ends (18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks).

Wahab was limited to 15 minutes due to foul trouble, but had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Wayne Bristol looked good at times, and Jordan Riley showed off his athleticism at the end. Denver Anglin and Ryan Mutombo got a few minutes apiece.

Georgetown shot 34-71 (47.9%) for the game and 7-18 from three (39%), while CSU was 28-72 (39%) from the field and 13-38 (34%) from three. The Hoyas ended up with 18 turnovers, while the Eagles had 17 turnovers. Justin Steers scored 21 points off the bench on 5-10 shooting with 6 offensive board and 6 defensive rebounds, making 11 of 13 free throws. Penn State transfer point guard Sam Sessoms was held to 16 points on 7-19 shooting (2-8 3PT), with 6 turnovers. Preseason conference first-teamer Nendah Tarke scored 17 points on 6-16 from the field (4-10 3PT) with only 6 defensive rebounds.

The Hoyas started with Primo Spears, Brandon Murray, Bryson Mozone, Akok Akok, and Qudus Wahab. The Eagles began with Sam Sessoms, Nendah Tarke, Kam’ron Blue, Daniel Titus, and Justin Winston. Never without some surprises, Georgetown was missing Bradley Ezewiro during warmups in addition to not seeing Dante Harris or Jay Heath.

Akok took the tip and made the opening basket with a long two. Spears showed off an athletic spin move that was a little off and Wahab rebounded with the and-one layup. The Hoyas pressed and almost got a steal, but ended up with Wahab fouling Winston in the act of shooting. GU turned it over but CSU missed a layup contested by Akok. Murray missed two free throws but got the rebound and made a floater.

Wahab exited, not even two and a half minutes in, with his second foul on a push for an offensive rebound. Bristol came in as first off the bench, with Akok as center.

The pace was quick, but there were no transition points for either team in the first 4 minutes. Mozone was fouled on a three-point attempt and the game had its first timeout. The grad transfer had a nice stroke and made all three free throws. Hoyas went into full court pressure after the foul shouts and Spears was whistled for the reach-in.

Akok showed off his defense with a second block and Mozone fouled Steers who made both free throws. Tarke hit a three and Murray answered with his own to retake the lead 13-11 with 13:44 left in the half. Steers drove on Wahab with two fouls and made an easy bucket. Spears answered with a drive of his own.

Murray shined again by hitting a three after an Akok offensive board and kick out and immediately stealing CSU’s second pass. He missed an alley-oop but ran down, got the defensive rebound, and snuck behind the defense to draw the foul on a layup. Hoyas led 18-13 with 11:12 left in the half.

The Hoyas left Rojas open for a corner three and Wahab got startled by a physical double team and Georgetown turned it over on a shot-clock violation. Georgetown got caught ball-watching and Rojas was open in the corner again but missed the three. Spears dribbled out of control and found Mozone who forced a pass to Wahab for a turnover. Wahab raced back for the block but instead got his third foul. Murray buried a three to keep it 22-19 with 9:30 left.

Spears drove and kicked to Akok for a dunk to get to 24 points at 9:00 left before Tarke hit a three and Bristol fouled Steers on the floor and Sessoms ripped a long three. Anglin came in for Murray and Spears turned it over on a strange lob. Anglin took a charge on the other end. Coppin State held the lead 25-24 with a media timeout at 7:41.

Hoyas turned it over on a bad pass from Murray to Anglin and Sessoms missed a gunned three. Mozone attacked on a drive in transition and got two but Rojas hit another three from the opposite corner. CSU led 28-26 and then Mozone turned it over on a travel during a pump fake (8 TOs at this point). Bristol took a charge from Sessoms and Akok tied it up on a put back. Georgetown dropped into a zone and Steers travelled in the post. It was still tied until a Spears hit two free throws with 4:27 left, 30-28. Again, they pressed out of the foul shots, tipped some balls, and Akok got another block. Hoyas still led at the timeout at 3:54.

Out of the timeout, Spears tried yet another alley-oop lob to Murray who could not handle the layup. Steers drove and drew a foul from Murray with a stiff arm. GU led by one and Mozone missed a good look at the top of the key. CSU moved the ball well but missed a look. Spears took a shot after an iso and missed. Tarpe stepped on the sideline while trying to drive and Georgetown got the ball back. Spears drove off of an Akok pick and dished to Bristol who drove and was fouled. He made them both. CSU reversed the ball well on the other end but missed a good look at a three. Spears got hacked on a handoff and made both his free throws to go up 34-29 with under two minutes left. Spears had a good dish and the ball worked to Murray who found Mozone in the paint.

It was a 10-1 run for the Hoyas with a minute left. Then Sessoms drove for two over Murray and Spears forced a pass underneath for a turnover (10th). Tarke his a three with a second left on the clock to bring it to 36-34.

Georgetown shot 11-29 FGs and 3-8 for three while Coppin State also shot 11-29 from the field but was 6-17 from three (35.3%). Hoyas had 25 rebounds (9 offensive) and CSU had only 13 rebounds (3 offensive). The Eagles had only 8 turnovers compared to Georgetown’s 10. Coppin State led in first half bench points with 11 and the Hoyas only had 2 in Bristol’s free throws. Murray led its 12 points in 19 minutes, but he had 4 turnovers. Spears had 6 points, 1 assist, and 3 turnovers.

To start the second half, Coppin State hit a jumper to tie it up and Spears turned it over on a bad pass, then fouled his man. Wahab made a strong move on a Akok tip out and was fouled. Q hit both free throws, Blue missed a three on the other end. Wahab got a paint touch and kicked to Spears who just missed a good look on a three. Tarke grabbed a rebound and took it to the other coast, but missed. Murray made a good move for a layup and Sessoms answered with a floater over a hesitant Wahab. Spears fed Mozone in the low post and got a good angle.

CSU beat the press and Blue hit a three. Mozone forced a shot in a double team and Blue got an open dunk in transition. Hoyas were down 42-43 and timeout was called with about 16:30 left. After the break, Wahab got a rebound and hooked it in to go up one, 44-43, before the under-16 media timeout. Hoyas had only 1 turnover in the half but were 3-9 from the field, while CSU was 4-7 on the floor (1-3 3PT) at this point. The focus was clearly to utilize Wahab.

Out of the timeout, Sessoms drove off a high ball screen and dished to Steers for another dunk. Wahab turned it over, CSU turned it over, and Murray found Akok for another long two. Steers grabbed an offensive board and Akok fouled him on the put-back. Steers hit two free throws to go up 46-47 with 14:30 left. CSU jumped a back door cut and hit an open corner three for Blue. Murray answered with a layup to bring it to 48-50 under 14 minutes.

Steers made another good bucket on a put-back dunk after Akok shifted over to help. Akok found a loose ball and got a dunk on the other end. Sessoms missed a three and Murray got blocked on a fast-break. Spears was flattened on a drive and the ball went the other way, Murray chased down Blue to block a dunk attempt but was whistled for the foul. Blue missed both free throws and CSU was up 50-53 with 12:26 left.

The Hoyas had great ball movement and missed a good look by Mozone for three off of Bristol penetration, but Akok got the rebound and the ball found him again for a three to tie it up. Bristol fouled Sessoms on the other end and it was tied at 53 with a media timeout at 11:48 left. Akok had 13 points and 8 rebounds at this point, shooting 6 for 7.

Sessoms hit a long three and Akok got whistled for a moving screen on the other end. Tarke his an even longer three to go up 53-59. Sessoms missed a jumper and Spears was fouled on a drive at the other basket. Spears hit one free throw and Mozone tipped the rebound off a CSU hand. The shot clock ticked low and Spears forced a ball to Akok that was grabbed and led to a layup. Hoyas hadn’t had a field goal in nearly three minutes.

Out of the timeout, Mozone hit a deuce at the top of the key to break the 8-1 run. After a missed open three, Bristol got an angle to the rim and drove for two to bring it to 58-61. Tarke missed another three and Mozone overshot a jumper. Bristol made a big block on Sessoms and there was a media timeout with 7:27 left. Hoyas had 6 turnovers in the half and CSU had only 1 giveaway. The Eagles’ shooting had slowed a bit, but they were still 4-11 from three (36.4%) at this point, while the Hoyas only shot 4 threes this half (9-20 half FGs).

Ewing had Mozone guard Sessoms and the Hoyas got a shot clock turnover. Akok got fouled on the other end, and was fouled again on the inbounds pass as he dove to the basket. It was Tarke’s fourth foul and he had to sit with 7 minutes left. Akok hit both free throws to hit a double-double and cut the Coppin State lead to one, 60-61. Murray forced a bad inbounds pass and the Hoyas got the ball back. It was a 6-0 run for the Hoyas. Still Murray forced a shot in some contact and failed to draw a foul, but Bristol was whistled for a reach on the rebound. CSU was in the bonus. Hood made two free throws and then fouled Murray. Mozone made a catch-and-shoot off the inbounds to bring it to 62-63. Steers got blocked by Akok but Bristol bumped him. Steers made one of two from the charity stripe to keep the lead 62-64.

Wahab came back in the game with four fouls and was fouled on a put-back. Q made both free throws and Akok blocked Sessoms on the other end. Steers got a tough two off an offensive board to go up 64-66. Wahab got hit on another offensive rebound and made two free throws to tie it at 66 with 5:41 left. Wahab had a double-double, too. Georgetown knocked away the ball with the press and Spears leaked out to get a nice lay-in to take the lead. Steers got another offensive rebound, was hacked by Mozone, and made two free throws to tie it again. 5 minutes to go and Spears hit a three, 71-68 Hoyas. Akok got a good block (5) on Steers but went down hard after getting hit in the eye. Georgetown turned CSU over and Murray hit a floater off the glass. Blue nailed a three to bring it to 73-71. Wahab was called for his fifth foul with an offensive push, which led to a media timeout with 3:53 left. Hoyas still up 73-71, but no more Wahab.

Blue pumped Bristol and drew a foul, hitting both free throws. Spears hit a jumper on the other end, but Rojas nailed a three in the corner to go up one. Mozone missed a good look at a three, as did Blue. Bristol drew a foul on the other end but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Sessoms turned it over and Spears got a layup on a screen and drive. 77-76. Akok fouled Steers, who made both. Spears hit a jumper in the lane and Sessoms missed a three and Mozone grabbed the rebound. Hoyas by one, 79-78. Ewing called timeout with 61 seconds left. GU had made 3 of their last 3 FGs, while CSU was without a field goal for about 2:30.

Out of the timeout, Spears drove again, making his 20th point. Murray picked a corner pass on the other end and Coppin State fouls Spears as he slowly brought the ball up. Blue fouled out and Spears hit the first free throw before a Georgetown timeout. 82-78 Hoyas with 25 seconds left. Spears hit the second foul shot to get GU to 83. Coppin pushed and Steers grabbed the missed layup over Akok. CSU called timeout after with 17 seconds left, 83-80.

The Hoyas run a five-behind the baseline play and get the ball to Murray. Murray did well to keep the ball away but missed both free throws. Coppin State rushed down for Tarke to shoot a three and miss, but Hood grabs the rebound and launches a buzzer beater to tie the game at 83. Perhaps Georgetown should have fouled. It was Hood’s first and only field goal after missing five shots.

To start the 5-minute overtime, Ewing stuck with Bristol. Spears missed a jumper but got it back in the next possession and did a spin for a runner. Bristol fouled out and Hood made both free throws. Riley replaced Bristol. Mozone missed a three pointer, his fifth miss. Hood, the hero for tying it, airballed a three. It was still 85-85.

Mozone grabbed a weak-side rebound off a Murray miss and got a put-back. Tarke barely jumped on deep three and the Hoyas walked it up before Hood fouled a driving Mozone. Mozone made two from the charity stripe to go up 4. Spears picked Sessoms’ pocket on a spin move and took it down for a contested layup, 91-85. Murray kicked it out to Akok for a three to make it 94-87, Sessoms missed with about 90 seconds left and Spears kicked it out Mozone who finally hit a big three to make it a 10-point game, 97-87. Steers drove and Riley rotated over for a definitive block with 55 seconds. Primo hit a jumper to reach 28.

At the other end, Riley pinned one on the backboard but was called for goal tending. Things got heated and Riley got pushed by Steers and Steers threw the ball at him. After a late referee review, a technical was called on each of Steers and Riley. 99-89 as the Hoyas dribbled up and let the time run out. The teams shook hands as ‘RoundBall Rock’ played.

In the second half and OT, Spears had 22 points and 3 assists, with only two turnovers. Primo was the engine that kept the Hoyas going, despite shooting 1-7 in the first half and finishing with 9-12 after intermission. Mozone had 7 points in overtime and Murray had two big assists in the final five minutes. CSU only scored 6 points while Georgetown scored 16.

The Hoyas snapped a 21-game losing streak and demonstrated that they had some fight and toughness. It wasn’t the cleanest win, and there are defensive concerns—both old and new—but the Hoyas overcame the early season adversity and showed promise.

Brandon Murray is the real deal, Primo Spears may be better than advertised, Akok can carry a team and stop runs, Mozone has some length reminiscent of past Hoyas, and Wahab will be solid for as long as he can stay on the floor. Fans saw some glimpses of depth, but getting the win in game 1 was likely more important.

The Hoyas face Green Bay on Saturday in local-only televised game. Plenty of time to review this tape and grow.