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IT’S OVER: Villanova Ends Georgetown’s Season with BIG EAST Tournament Loss, 80-48

Hoyas fall apart after another slow start, 41-20, to finish the year

Villanova v Georgetown Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Your (11) Georgetown Hoyas (7-25 Overall, 2-18 BIG EAST) lost their final game to the (6) Villanova Wildcats during the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown’s dismal season ended with only two high-major wins, over DePaul and Butler. Though it is not official, by many accounts, this was Patrick Ewing’s last game as head coach of the Hoyas. It was always likely that Ewing’s last game would be at his NYC home court, The World’s Most Famous Arena, but seeing Big Pat and Georgetown finish like this feels a bit surreal.

Primo Spears led the Hoyas with 17 points (6-14 FG, 1-3 3PT) and 7 assists in 36 minutes, while Brandon Murray (3-8, 1-3 3PT) and Jay Heath (3-14, 0-5 3PT) each score 8 points in 30+ minutes. Bryson Mozone scored 5 points in 21 minutes, Wayne Bristol scored 4 points in 22 minutes, and Bradley Ezewiro scored 4 points in 15 minutes (1 rebound). Qudus Wahab scored 2 points (1-4) in 6 minutes and Jordan Riley was 0-3 in 21 minutes. Villanova had five players in double figures in this blow out win, including freshman phenom Cam Whitmore scoring 19 points.

In many ways this Georgetown team (KenPom #231) in March is the same team from November, e.g., the team who lost to Loyola Marymount (#106) and struggled with La Salle (#231) in Jamaica before Thanksgiving. Issues of transition defense, porous perimeters, unforced turnovers, and lack of ball movement followed Ewing’s Hoyas all season long.

Tonight, Villanova shot 15-35 (43%) from three against Georgetown and the Hoyas had 7 turnovers and only 9 assists (Spears with 7 of them). There were plenty of isolation sets run on the MSG floor in this game. Excuses about “chemistry” and “new faces” from Tim Brando and Bill Raftery rung hollow in the Hoyas’ 32nd game of the season.

While the Hoyas early loss to Northwestern (#43) this season doesn’t look so bad in retrospect, losing the game to American (#279) seems pretty indicative of how the Hoyas finished their season. Georgetown had 17 turnovers and only 12 assists that game. With only four wins since November 23rd—UMBC 79-70, Siena 75-68, DePaul 81-76, and Butler 68-62—there really wasn’t much reason for any optimism for the Hoya Faithful over the past three months.

The past few years haven’t been much better, save a tournament championship two years ago. Since Ewing has been coaching his alma mater, the team has gone 75-109 over the last six seasons, including 15-15, 19-14, 15-17, 13-13, 6-25, and, now, 7-25. While it is “just basketball,” it’s really hard to believe campus morale, alumni relations, and donations have been thriving in the past 5+ years.

In the first half of this opening round game—stop me if you’ve heard this before—Georgetown got out to a slow start. ’Nova had a 14-0 run for five minutes starting around the 15-minute mark. The Wildcats shot 8-16 from three in the first period, including Justin Moore shooting 4-6 from beyond the arc, and the Hoyas were a measly 34.6% from the floor (9-26 FG, 1-5 3PT). Akok Akok did not play and Bradley Ezewiro (2-2) got the start at center with weak first-half shooting by Bryson Mozone (0-1), Jay Heath (0-4), Primo Spears (4-8) and Brandon Murray (2-6).

The Wildcats led at the break 41-20 with their largest halftime lead this season and Georgetown’s lowest intermission point score (tied with the Seton Hall game). Villanova won the first-half rebound (19-11), points in the paint (14-10), bench points (9-2), turnovers (5-3), and points off turnovers (9-4) battles.

In the second half, the Hoyas hung with Villanova for the first 9 minutes and were within 22 points, 55-33. Through the first 12 minutes of the second, each team was shooting about 37% from the floor, but the Hoyas we 1-7 from three since halftime while Villanova (4-10) was still shooting well. The lead swelled to 25 with 7 minutes left, 65-40. and stayed at 25 with 3:27 left, 71-46, with VU on a 2-10 cold streak. Villanova took an insulting timeout.

The game finished 80-48 after a few more Villanova dunks. Denver Anglin and Malcolm Wilson got in for a few minutes. Tim Brando speculated on Ewing’s future, especially in light of the news of Syracuse parting ways with Jim Boeheim.

Getting hammered in the last two losses was not the way any fans wanted to see these players and staff finish the year. Perhaps the final collapses were emblematic of other issues, including losing Akok Akok who was the heartbeat of the team in many facets.

In any way, the Georgetown Hoyas’ 2022-2023 campaign is over and fans wait for further news on personnel changes.

The 2021 BIG EAST Tournament Championship seems like a decade ago.