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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 Year, Same Hoyas; Crushed by Creighton in Big East Play

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Starting the new year on the wrong foot, the Georgetown Hoyas (7-7, 0-3 Big East) fell to the Creighton Bluejays (10-4, 1-2 Big East) 77-60 on Jan. 2 at Capital One Arena, their third straight defeat.

With sophomore guard Jayden Epps, Georgetown’s leading scorer and primary ball-handler, out with an ankle injury, the Hoyas looked to other players to produce.

Senior guard Jay Heath was that man in the first half, scoring 9 straight points for the Hoyas to give the team a 15-10 lead with 12:39 remaining in the first half. 

GUHoyas | Senior guard Jay Heath sparked the Hoyas’ offense early in the first half against Creighton.

But that was where Georgetown’s troubles began. Holding the Hoyas scoreless for just under seven straight minutes, the Bluejays quickly took a 19-15 lead as part of a 9-0 run.

Senior forward Supreme Cook finally broke the drought with an elbow jumper to pull the Hoyas within 2, down 19-17. Nonetheless, Creighton continued to cruise, guard Baylor Scheierman extended their lead to 24-17 by sinking a 3-pointer with 4:42 remaining in the half.

Scheierman starred throughout the game, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists for the Bluejays.

Down 28-20, freshman guard Rowan Brumbaugh cashed in two free throws, the only taken by either team in the entire first half, and graduate forward Ismael Massoud hit a jumper to leave the Hoyas down 4 entering halftime.

Some season-long, underlying issues permeated for Georgetown in the first half despite the close score. The Hoyas were out-rebounded 23-13 in the first period, and the team shot only 30% from the field. If not for 11 first-half Creighton turnovers — extremely uncharacteristic for a team that previously was only averaging 10 turnovers per game — Georgetown would have found itself in much deeper waters.

Regardless, the Bluejays exploited the Hoyas’ poor shooting to start the second half, cutting down on their turnovers with their offense coming to life. Creighton quickly pounced on Georgetown, with a 14-7 run in the first 3:45 of the half to push the score to 42-31.

All 7 points came from Brumbaugh, who excelled in Epps’ absence. He tallied a career-high 19 points — 15 of which he scored in the second half — and a career-high 5 assists in the game, a silver lining in an otherwise poor team performance.

Simply unable to produce on offense, Georgetown entered another nearly five-minute scoring drought soon after. Creighton took advantage of this lapse in focus to push the score to 49-31.

And still, the Bluejays refused to take their foot off the pedal behind a season-high 25 points from guard Trey Alexander and 12 points down the stretch from 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner, whom the Hoyas had difficulty guarding all night.

Defensive connectivity, especially in the second half, is something Georgetown’s coaching staff say they will continue to stress. 

“Our defense disappeared in the second half. I loved our effort in the first 20 minutes. I thought we were connected. I thought we had some passion and enthusiasm. And then the second half and, yeah, I don’t know what happened,” first-year Head Coach Ed Cooley said in a postgame press conference. “It’s an embarrassment the way we’re guarding right now. It’s an absolute embarrassment.”

With the game largely out of reach, Georgetown showed a bit of life late with a 10-0 run with 2:42 remaining, moving the score to 68-54. However, an Alexander 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the game sealed the eventual 77-60 Creighton victory.

Seeking their first Big East win under Cooley, the Hoyas’ last two losses — 81-51 to the then-sixth-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles (11-3, 2-1 Big East) and this defeat to the preseason No. 8 Creighton Bluejays — show how far the program is from true competition in the conference.

Nonetheless, Cooley said the Hoyas have improved game by game, continuing to grow in this young season.

“This is back-to-back games in the second half where we’ve just melted, so just talk to our men about that. We’ll get better at it. We’ll continue to improve,” Cooley said in a postgame press conference.

Still, Cooley asked fans for their continued support as the team navigates the transition period.

“We need people to come out and help us get through this transition and help get us through this build,” Cooley said. “It may not be pretty right now, but when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous.”

The Hoyas next play Jan. 6 at 12 p.m. against the DePaul Blue Demons (3-10, 0-2 Big East) in a winnable Big East clash at home.

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  • R

    Ronald W Carr JrJan 5, 2024 at 7:36 pm

    Not the same Hoyas! This year, they have a chance to gel, and maybe make the NITs.

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