Your Georgetown Hoyas have had a long and torturous season. But fans were hoping for a miracle on senior day as the Hoyas played their last home game of the season. Unfortunately, the Hoyas were unable to send seniors Kaiden Rice and Donald Carey off with a win, falling to the UConn Huskies 86-77.
The Hoyas tweaked their starting lineup again, opting for Timothy Ighoefe over Malcolm Wilson, surprising the commentary crew. But Coach’s firm faith in Ighoefe was rewarded early on as he scored the Hoyas’ first points of the game off an offensive rebound and putback. Captain Don Carey would subsequently hit a graceful scoop shot. The Hoyas led at the first TV timeout, benefitting from multiple UConn turnovers and two quick fouls on Adama Sanogo.
The teams’ shooting improved thereafter. For the Hoyas, Carey added a 3 and a midrange jumper. A UConn highlight was Maryland native Jordan Hawkins putting Aminu Mohammed on a poster. That may have been the turning point as UConn surged ahead. Ewing tried various lineups, including turning to Kobe Clark early, who demonstrated his characteristic hustle by pulling in two offensive rebounds and drawing a third foul on Sanogo. Nevertheless, the Hoyas trailed 22-16 with 7 minutes left in the half.
Kobe Clark continued to get extended run and made a number of nice feeds to Ryan Mutombo in the paint. Mutombo struggled with the athletic UConn frontline but still tallied 7 early points. Carey and the brief Clark – Mutombo chemistry were among the few bright spots as UConn dominated the remainder of the half. Poor transition defense and lack of ball movement on offense were the familiar culprits. The Hoyas trailed 41-26 at half, with Carey and Mutombo leading the way with 9 and 7 points respectively. Dante Harris, Kaiden Rice, and Aminu Mohammed all failed to score from the field. As a team, the Hoyas managed a meager 3 assists and 1 3-pointer.
The Hoyas shot better in the second half, with Harris in particular finding his outside shot. But the talent difference between the teams was clear, and UConn executed its gameplan on offense and defense even with Sanogo in foul trouble. The Hoyas made the game look far more respectable than it was with a 11-0 run in the last few minutes. Coach Ewing has claimed numerous times that the Hoyas are one or two possessions from winning Big East games, but the reality is that dispiriting blowouts have so become the norm that single digit losses are now characterized as “progress.” Against the Huskies on senior day, the Hoyas managed that, barely.
Kaiden Rice and Don Carey probably did not expect to this season’s struggles and deserved far better sendoffs.
Rice, a transfer from the Citadel, impressed Hoyas’ fans early this year with his marksmanship. Few will forget his Georgetown-record 10 3s against UMBC. While his shooting cooled somewhat in Big East play (save for a magical second half in the first DePaul game), he has been one of the Hoyas’ only consistent offensive threats throughout the season. Fans might reasonably wonder what Rice would have been capable of with better playmaking.
This brings us to Don Carey, Patrick Ewing’s first captain at Georgetown. The Maryland native joined the Hoyas after beginning his college career with Mount St. Mary’s and Siena. Although Carey was a somewhat under-the-radar transfer (legend has it that Jamorko Pickett touted Carey to the staff), fans knew that he would bring experience and shooting to the Hilltop. However, Carey greatly exceeded those expectations. Carey started on last year’s Big East Tournament winning team and will live on in Georgetown lore for his clutch 4-point plays. As one of the only returning Hoyas, Carey upped his game markedly in the offseason, becoming much more effective at driving and finishing at the rim. On the season, he leads the team in several advanced statistical categories, including win shares and +/-. Quite frankly, Hoyas’ fans will not want to ponder next year without him and were fortunate to watch his development.
Thank you, seniors. The Hoyas will hope to win their first Big East game of the season against Seton Hall in Newark on Wednesday. Until then – Hoya Saxa.