After a loss to the United States Naval Academy Dec. 1, the Georgetown University men’s basketball team (1-2) returned to McDonough Arena on Dec. 6 to face the No. 11 West Virginia Mountaineers (4-1). The Hoyas struggled throughout the game with turnovers, and a late run by the Mountaineers allowed them to pull out an 80-71 victory.
Although the Hoyas were considered underdogs from the start because of their 1-2 record, they came out strong, forcing a travel on the Mountaineers’ first possession and a steal by graduate guard Jalen Harris on the third. Sophomore center Qudus Wahab opened the scoring for the Hoyas with a two-point shot, followed by a three-point shot by senior forward Jamorko Pickett to put Georgetown ahead, 5-0. West Virginia capitalized on two turnovers, going on a 9-3 run that ended only after Pickett sunk another three-pointer.
Georgetown regained the lead, with a score of 29-25, thanks to a 10-3 scoring run with three minutes to go in the first half. The teams continued to trade baskets, with graduate forward Chudier Bile sinking a three-pointer to give Georgetown a four-point lead with seven seconds until halftime. West Virginia point guard Miles McBride responded by drawing a foul and making both foul shots, leaving the score at 34-32 Georgetown at the half.
In the first half, there were three ties and 10 lead changes. Both teams were plagued by foul trouble, with both Wahab and West Virginia junior forward Derek Culver benched early after two fouls. The Hoyas struggled shooting from the field, with a field goal percentage of 36.67%. What hurt the Hoyas the most in this first half were their seven turnovers, which the Mountaineers capitalized on, scoring seven points off of turnovers alone.
The second half kicked off with Pickett picking up a third foul, which allowed West Virginia to narrow Georgetown’s lead by one. Blair went on to score his third and fourth three-point shots of the day, bringing Georgetown to its largest lead of the game, 42-37. West Virginia’s Culver and sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe countered with some baskets, but Jalen Harris helped the Hoyas maintain their lead with a slam dunk, putting Georgetown up by five.
After back-and-forth play, the Mountaineers went on a 10-0 run that allowed them to gain the first lead since the first half. Three turnovers and a number of fouls allowed this run to happen before it was ended with a three-pointer by Jalen Harris. His score enabled Georgetown to attempt a comeback with a 7-0 run, but Culver and Tshiebwe put a stop to it with two baskets, putting West Virginia back in the lead, 58-57.
Down by one point with eight minutes left to play, Ighoefe scored off of a dunk and drew a foul to tie the game, 60-60. Soon after, Blair was called for a travel with just five seconds left on the shot clock, forcing Georgetown to call a timeout. At this point, Georgetown led in turnovers, with 15 compared to just three for the Mountaineers. Ighoefe fouled out of the game with five points, causing Wahab to be subbed in with four fouls.
Although there was much back and forth between the two teams, the Hoyas were never able to regain the lead. A 14-9 run late in the game by the Mountaineers sealed Georgetown’s fate and granted West Virginia the 80-71 victory.
Turnovers were Georgetown’s greatest weakness in this game, with the Hoyas committing a total of 15 turnovers compared to the Mountaineers’ five, resulting in a 21-to-four advantage in favor of West Virginia in points off of turnovers. Despite the loss, Blair had a career-high 19 points, hitting five out of 12 from three-point distance. Pickett also added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Georgetown looks to improve upon limiting turnovers when they travel to New York City to take on St. John’s again on Dec. 20. Tip-off begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on FS1.