After a much-needed, 4 day break from play, your Georgetown Hoyas returned to action tonight against the DePaul Blue Demons. Coach Ewing called on Malcolm Wilson to be the starting center for tonight’s contest, along with the 4 usual starters: Harris-Carey-Mohammed-Holloway. In their last meeting in Chicago, DePaul’s David Jones posted the Blue Demons’ first triple-double in program history, but tonight, Jones was inactive due to an ankle injury. This, with the sentiment that DePaul is usually a BIG EAST bottom dweller, meant it was undoubtedly the Hoyas’ best (and last) chance to capture the elusive first BIG EAST W of the season. In the end, the Hoyas put up a great fight, but came up just short, again.
In the early goings, we got a taste of what the rest of the 1st half would look like, as both teams struggled mightily with turnovers. Only 4:30 into the game, the Hoyas had 4 turnovers to the Blue Demons 3. Georgetown was led by the seemingly tireless Mohammed (18 PTS, 9 REBS) who had 7 of the first 9 Georgetown points.
After the under-4 minute timeout, Ewing deployed Mutombo (3 PTS, 2 REBS, 3 BLKS) and the ¾ court pressure we have been seeing sporadically this year. This lasted all of one defensive possession as the press was called off after a DePaul 3. Mutombo quickly tallied 3 blocks as well as an offensive rebound and put-back before committing a foul and being subbed out for Ighoefe. The pace of the next several minutes was fast, but you wouldn’t know it from the score as turnovers for both teams continued to hinder any offensive (7 each). Thankfully, the under-8 timeout paused the sloppy track meet with DePaul leading by 4.
Out of the timeout, DePaul went on a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 11, forcing Ewing to use his 1st and only timeout of the half. The Hoyas responded well. Billingsley (10 PTS) and Carey (3-9 3-PT, 15 PTS) hit back-to-back 3s to start a 6-0 run. The Georgetown defense looked good for a change over the next several minutes getting several consecutive stops, but they could not cash in on the offensive side of things, surrendering 4 empty possessions themselves. The DePaul lead remained at 5 with 4 minutes left in the half.
To close the half, Wilson (9 PTS, 3 REBS, 2 BLKS) went to the free-throw line and stunned commentators, Chick Hernandez and Pete Gillen with his 1-handed free throw form. But guess what, he made them both, so who cares how he shoots it. This cut the deficit to 4 before the break.
Out of the half, Georgetown wasted no time getting into the scoring. A Wilson And-1 followed by a Harris lay-up gave the Hoyas their first lead since it was 16-15. DePaul responded and took the lead back, but not for long. Two Wilson jams, a Carey triple, and a Holloway lay-up coupled with no DePaul scoring forced DePaul head coach, Tony Stubblefield, to use a timeout with the Hoyas up 40-37.
A few minutes later, Donald Carey, Mr. 4-Point Play, gave the Hoyas their largest lead of the game at 5 with 10:40 left. The scoring slowed and shots were not falling, but the pace of the game was unrelenting. DePaul had a slight advantage during this time as they were able to cut the Hoya lead to 1 with 8 minutes left, 50-49.
After the timeout, Aminu committed his 4th foul and was forced to come out of the game with 6:23 remaining. DePaul did not hesitate to take advantage, as Javon Freeman-Liberty (25 PTS, 7 REBS) immediately converted 2 lay-ups to flip the scoring and give DePaul a 58-53 lead. Ewing smelled trouble and used his 2nd timeout to get Mohammed back in to quell the DePaul run.
With the under-4 minute timeout complete and the Hoyas down 62-55, it felt like the Hoyas’ best chance to get a conference win was slowly slipping away. But, the Hoyas showed no quit. After a bucket from Billingsley, Mohammed and Harris combined for a steal in the full-court pressure, which was converted for an And-1 lay-up by Mohammed. Then, on the next Hoya possession, with no time left on the shot clock, Billingsley launched a step-back 3 from Foggy Bottom, and in the antithesis of how this season has gone, BANG! Hoyas lead 64-63 with 2:15 remaining.
With a minute left, Aminu went 1 of 2 from the charity stripe to give the Hoyas a 1-pt, lead, but it didn’t last long as Freeman-Liberty answered immediately with a contested lay-up to give DePaul the lead with just under a minute to go. Carey had 2 good looks on the ensuing possession, but neither fell, and Freeman-Liberty went back to the free-throw line to extend the DePaul lead to 3. The last possession was a furious effort for the Hoyas trying to tie the game with 4 3-PT attempts and 3 offensive rebounds, but the Hoyas came up just short, 68-65, and they stillremain in search of their first BIG EAST win.
Another loss is frustrating, especially to an undermanned DePaul team, that is usually the caboose of the BIG EAST. In trying to take some positives away headed into the final stretch of this year, this game was close all the way through, and Georgetown showed no letting up. I hope Hoya fans come out in droves for Donald Carey on Senior Day this Sunday. This kid is special. He is Ewing’s 1st solo captain, and he brings it in every game. I will be the first to tell you that 0-16 in league play is beyond frustrating, but one thing that we cannot dispute is this team’s heart, passion, and drive. They want to win. When they make a play, they are excited and the bench is excited. It is remarkable to see a team struggle so hard, be winless, and still fight tooth and nail every time they lace it up. This season is not going the way anyone wants it to or thought it would, but Donald Carey is a tremendous basketball player and he’s the engine of this team. He showed it tonight.
On to the next one where UCONN comes to town after a barn burner in Storrs this past Tuesday vs. Villanova, where they pulled out a victory with Coach Dan Hurley being ejected late in the first half. Senior Day at Capital One Arena @ 12:00PM.