Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

MEN’S BASKETBALL | New-Look Hoyas Cruise in Opener

DERRICK ARTHUR CUDJOE/THE HOYA | Freshman guard James Akinjo had eight points and seven assists while playing 26 minutes in his debut.

The Georgetown men’s basketball team came out victorious against Maryland Eastern Shore in its home opener Nov. 6, defeating the Hawks 68-53 in Capital One Arena.

The Hoyas (1-0) will look to win their early-season nonconference games by large margins, according to graduate student forward Trey Mourning, who started his first game as a Hoya on Tuesday. Mourning missed all of last season due to injury.

“This is a great team. We won by 15 and expect to win by more, especially against teams we play at the beginning of the season before conference play,” Mourning said in a postgame press conference.

Sporting three new starters against the Hawks (0-1), the Hoyas came into Capital One Arena for their first game in year two of Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s (CAS ’85) tenure on the Hilltop. Ewing started Mourning alongside senior center Jessie Govan and sophomore guard Jamorko Pickett, as well as freshman guards Mac McClung and James Akinjo.

Three Hoyas scored in double figures: Govan lead the team with 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half, while Pickett had 11 points on an efficient 4-5 from the floor.

Georgetown has many options on the offensive end, according to Ewing.

“We have a lot of firepower on this team, a lot of guys who can score,” Ewing said in a postgame press conference.

Freshman forward Josh LeBlanc also put forth a strong contribution, chipping in 11 points and leading the team in rebounds with 11 in 23 minutes off the bench.

LeBlanc has the intangibles to be a strong contributor for the Hoyas this season, Ewing said.

“That’s what he does, that’s one of the reasons why I recruited him, you know — energy, effort,” Ewing said. “He’s going to be a menace. He’s going to be on the glass and getting steals. He’s going to do all of the energy things, the things you don’t always see on the stat sheet.”

Mourning, who had seven rebounds in 28 minutes, said it felt good to return to the court after redshirting last season due to injury.

“It was kind of like my first game ever, too,” Mourning said. “I think it’s probably the most minutes I’ve played and it just felt good being out there and getting the win.”

Halfway through the first half, Georgetown went on a 13-0 run to take hold of the game. Govan scored five straight points for the Hoyas to extend their lead to 16 with 2:27 remaining in the half.

The Hoyas’ new backcourt duo of McClung and Akinjo saw mixed results in their first taste of college basketball. While they each scored eight points, they also turned the ball over a combined seven times.

McClung finished a highlight-reel slam dunk off a Hawks turnover at the start of the second half. But with 13 minutes remaining, the Hawks cut their deficit to 12.

The Hoyas responded, as Mourning hit a jumper and Pickett followed with a three-pointer to put the game out of reach at 50-33.

Georgetown shot 44 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range while holding Maryland Eastern Shore to 35 percent shooting.

With the help of Mourning and LeBlanc in the frontcourt, the Hoyas out-rebounded the Hawks 40-33.

Maryland Eastern Shore established control inside during the contest, outscoring Georgetown in the paint 32-24.

Pickett said the Hoyas must perform better in the paint.

“We could have got inside a little more, but first game, a few people had a little jitters,” Pickett said in an interview with The Hoya.

The Hoyas committed 19 turnovers on offense, which Ewing chalked up to early-season inexperience.

“We still have a long way to go. We’re still working, still grinding, still building our team dynamics,” Ewing said. “We’re still learning and learning each other.”

Rebounding will be a focus in practice this week, Mourning said.

“Rebounds is the most important thing. We lost seven games last year in the last minute because we failed to get a rebound,” Mourning said. “And, that’s something we need to change in order to be successful this year.”

Georgetown returns to action Saturday night as they host Central Connecticut State (1-0) at 6 p.m. Fans can watch the game live on Fox Sports 2 and listen locally on 980 FM.

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