After taking three weeks off due to COVID-19 protocol, the Georgetown University men’s basketball team took to its home floor against the Providence Friars on Jan. 30 in search of its second Big East victory of the season.
The Hoyas (4-8, 2-5 Big East) mounted a second-half comeback to pull away from the Friars (9-8, 5-6 Big East) and walk away with a 73-72 win.
This game was perhaps Georgetown’s most impressive win of the season. Providence jumped to an early 10-0 lead, but the Friars’ advantage did not deter the Hoyas. Propelled by buckets from senior forward Jamorko Pickett and graduate student forward Chudier Bile, Georgetown went on an 8-0 run that cut the lead to 29-22 with just over seven minutes left in the first half.
5 straight points from graduate student guard Donald Carey and another three-pointer from Pickett on Georgetown’s final possession of the half allowed the Hoyas to head to the locker room down 42-38.
Pickett opened the second frame with a jumper, and Bile drained a three-pointer shortly after to give Georgetown the lead. A few minutes later, a shot from downtown by Blair tied the game at 52.
With just 1:16 remaining in the game, sophomore center Qudus Wahab drilled the go-ahead bucket to put Georgetown up 70-69.
The Hoyas pulled off a huge defensive stop on the ensuing Friar possession. Pickett snagged a critical offensive board and passed to senior guard Jahvon Blair, who was immediately fouled and sent to the line. The veteran Blair came up strong in the clutch for the home team and made both free throws to give Georgetown a three-point lead with 16 seconds remaining.
In typical Georgetown fashion, the Hoyas made the game exciting by allowing a quick Friar basket. Bile then drew a foul and drained 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to put Georgetown up by 2.
Blair then committed a personal foul on Providence’s junior guard David Duke, opening the door for the Friars to tie the game with one second remaining on the clock. Duke made the first but missed the second shot to end a wild contest.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) commented on the chaotic finish, explaining how impressed he was with his team’s heart.
“We just kept on fighting, kept on persevering and then were able to come away with the win,” Ewing said. “We showed a lot of growth today.”
The Hoyas’ offense was sparked by their bench. Bile led Georgetown with 19 points off of the bench, 10 of which came from the free-throw line. Bile also pulled in a game-high nine rebounds. Wahab also contributed 9 bench points.
Bile spoke about his season-best performance and his role in the game’s outcome.
“I feel that I am starting to get more comfortable with the system and knowing where I am going to attack and get my shots,” Bile said in the post-game press conference. “It felt good to get this win for sure, to get back on the winning side.”
The rest of the Hoyas’ squad spread the scoring around fairly equally. Pickett found the basket five times, contributing 12 points, while Carey chipped in 10 points. Blair dropped 9 points and also led the team with six assists.
Georgetown had previously lost five straight games before its matchup with Providence, but if the Hoyas’ bench can keep up this performance, things could start to turn around.
The Hoyas now have an opportunity to build a conference win streak against a ranked opponent. Georgetown’s battle with No. 17 Creighton is set for Feb. 3 at 9:00 p.m. in Omaha, Nebraska.