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LINKS: Ewing’s Handling of Spears, Murray Seems Insane

Primo plays 37 minutes to shoot 0-1 with 5 assists in UConn loss

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut at Georgetown
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, it’s insanity, right? Well, your Georgetown Hoyas (6-18, 1-12) lost 32 of their last 33 BIG EAST games when No. 24 UConn (18-6, 7-6) came to town and unsurprisingly outlasted the Hoyas, 68-62. In the loss, Primo Spears, one of the conference’s top scorers at 16.8 ppg, attempted one shot (0-1) in 37 minutes of playing time. He did have 5 assists and only 1 turnover, but Patrick Ewing allowed Spears to pretty much be a non-factor in a close game against a top-25 team, while attempting no second-half shots.

At the post-game press conference, Ewing spoke of Spears, saying UConn “wanted to take the ball out of his hands, they were denying him and harassing him pretty much the whole game ... and he fell and hurt his back, that also hurt, but I thought they did a great job of taking the ball out of his hands.” It wasn’t just UConn to blame for his performance, it was coaching mismanagement.

Why was Spears playing 37 minutes if he was not himself, one way or another? Why did Primo still have 19 minutes in the second period with an injury or some funk? Insane.

Brandon Murray carried the game’s scoring load with 21 points on 8 for 18 shooting but managed a whopping 7 turnovers (of the team’s 10 in the game). Murray only played 34 minutes, and had 5 fouls, but he did play the entire second period without a breather. Insane.

In a game where Georgetown led 61-60 with 4:42 left, the Hoyas managed to miss all seven final field goal attempts and two of the last three free throw attempts. Where have we heard this before?

When Patrick Ewing talks about “execution down the stretch,” why is always a surprise that the most heavily depended upon players are struggling at the end of the games?

Jay Heath (5-11 FGs) had 13 minutes in each half in his second game back. Jordan Riley (1-6 FG) and Bryson Mozone (2-3 FG) each had only 7 minutes in the second half. Denver Anglin did not play in the game. It seems that the leash is much shorter for some players than others. It also seems like this team’s supply of discipline is much shorter than others.

Why are players permitted to have 5 first-half turnovers and not get yanked for a breather? Why is the struggling point guard given more minutes after being neutralized for most of the game? Insane.

After Wednesday’s Creighton game, Ewing said “You know when we have [Murray and Spears] not scoring the way that they have been scoring for us, it’s hard for us to win.” In that game, Murray scored 11 points (4-14 FG) and Spears had 10 points (5-18 FG) in 37 and 35 minutes, respectively. Was Murray’s 8-18 FG shooting an improvement? How about 0-1 from Primo? Why not try to get others more involved in the offense?

What in the world has happened in the last 13 games—let alone 33 games—that has demonstrated that a “let-them-play-through-their-funk” strategy is helpful to the team or the athletes? Insane.

Both Spears and Murray are tremendous talents being mismanaged, game-in and game-out, in a desperate attempt to steal a win. It’s not going to work.

Well, it might work if the referees gift Georgetown another 40-plus free-throw night somewhere in the last 7 games like that lucky DePaul win.

Here are the links:

No. 24 UConn uses late rally to beat last-place Georgetown | AP (BOBBY BANCROFT)

It was a game far closer than expected as UConn began the day at No. 8 in the Net Rankings while Georgetown sat near the bottom.

“This would have been a tough one in terms of the metrics and everything that’s at stake for us,” Hurley said. “There was a lot of pressure on us, in that under four timeout, because the group knew we could ill afford to come and lose here” ...

Karaban knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 3:03 left to restore the UConn lead at 63-61. With the game winding down and the Hoyas still within a possession, Karaban ended Georgetown’s upset bid with his third 3-pointer of the day with 27 seconds left...

Georgetown missed its final seven shots of the game. The Hoyas have lost three straight since a Jan. 24 win against DePaul ended their record-setting, 29-game Big East losing streak. Georgetown has now lost 32 of the last 33 conference games going back to March 2021.

“I didn’t think we executed very well down the stretch,” Ewing said about his team’s late struggles in both games with UConn this season.


Despite leading for most of the game, the heavily favored Huskies (18-4, 7-6 Big East) needed a late 8-1 run to earn the season sweep over the last-place Hoyas. UConn has won two straight and three of four.

Brandon Murray’s three-point play with 4:42 left put the Hoyas on top at 61-60. It was Georgetown’s first lead since the 16:16 mark in the first half. Murray scored 14 of his game-high 21 points after halftime for the Hoyas (6-18, 1-12), who have lost six straight games to UConn.

Karaban knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key. After Murray missed a 3-pointer on the other end, Sanogo followed up a Huskies miss with an emphatic dunk for a 65-61 lead.

After another Murray free throw cut the Huskies lead to 65-62, Karaban knocked down another 3-pointer for the final points of the game. Karaban finished with 11 points and was 3 for 7 from deep after making 1 of 5 to start.

Georgetown missed its final seven shots of the game. The Hoyas have lost three straight since a Jan. 24 win against DePaul ended their record-setting, 29-game Big East losing streak.

UConn men’s basketball downs Georgetown on the road, 68-62 | UConn Blog

Georgetown held an early 7-5 lead but the Huskies were ahead until the half ended tied at 31. Both teams shot well, a good sign for UConn offensively but not a good sign defensively.

This pattern continued in the second half, with the same three players leading the way offensively and UConn staying ahead — but not by much — across the second half. Though the Huskies led by as much as eight, the Hoyas kept fighting to stay in it. The hosts even took a brief lead but a late push sparked by Alex Karaban — who finished with 11 points, all in the second half — brought the Huskies to victory.

Turnovers and points in the paint were fairly even while UConn held a slight rebounding edge overall. The Huskies finished at 42 percent from the field and 50% from three, compared to 43% on both for the hosts.

As Tristen Newton goes, so goes the UConn men’s basketball team: ‘He’s figuring it out’ | CT Insider (David Borges)

Newton did a little bit of everything on Saturday, particularly in the first half. Just over eight minutes into the game, Newton had eight points, two steals, two assists and two rebounds, accounting for 12 of UConn’s first 15 points. In the latter half, after Georgetown had cut its one-time eight-point deficit down to one, Newton hit a tough fallaway, followed by a layup off a pass from 7-foot-2 Donovan Clingan at the high post, to give the Huskies a 50-45 lead.

Newton wound up with 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in 33 minutes. But the self-effacing Texan wasn’t about to brag about it afterwards.

“First 3, I didn’t even know I was open, Andre (Jackson) told me to shoot it, so credit to him,” Newton said. “Credit to everybody giving me good looks. Most of the time it’s either assisted or a good screen, so credit to my teammates.”