After a season opening win against University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the Georgetown men’s basketball team returned to McDonough Arena on Dec. 1 to face the Naval Academy. The Hoyas’ (1-1) offensive struggles continued, shooting just 1-of-9 from the field during the final stretch, allowing the Midshipmen (3-1) to pull out a 78-71 upset victory.
The Hoyas found themselves in a tight matchup from the start, which included long scoring droughts. Georgetown’s shooting woes were not limited to the second half as the Hoyas began the game with a mere field goal percentage of 29% on 5-of-17 shooting. With 7:28 left in the first half, Georgetown found itself down 17-16 after a pair of Navy free throws.
The Midshipmen extended their lead to seven with just over three minutes to go in the first period. In response, the Hoyas went on an 8-2 run of their own behind a slam dunk and three ball from senior forward Jamorko Pickett to tie the game at 26. Pickett finished the game with 17 points and six rebounds on an efficient 7-of-12 from the field.
Undeterred by the burst of scoring from Georgetown, Navy retained the lead at halftime after cashing in from downtown with just seven seconds remaining on the clock. Going into the locker room, the Hoyas found themselves down three and outrebounded by the Midshipmen 23-17, despite their significant size advantage.
After halftime, the Hoyas began to find a rhythm, aided by graduate transfer guard Jalen Harris’ shooting. They subsequently went on an 11-2 run, giving the Hoyas a 6-point lead. Navy continued to keep pace with the Hoyas, bringing the score to 39-37 with 15:23 left to play.
Georgetown continued to receive production from its veteran core to keep the Midshipmen at bay, with clutch buckets down low from sophomore center Qudus Wahab, as well as an and-1 from senior guard Jahvon Blair. With 12:35 remaining in the second half, the Hoyas retained a 50-45 lead.
After a long period of back-and-forth, Navy regained the lead behind the play of its leading scorer, guard Cam Davis, who blitzed Georgetown for 28 points on an impressive 10-of-15 shooting. Following one of Davis’ five three balls, Georgetown found itself trailing for the first time since the opening half.
The Midshipmen capitalized on the poor shooting of the Hoyas to go on a 7-0 run in the final stretch of the game, taking an 8-point lead. After a Georgetown turnover translated into a Davis layup with 1:25 left to play, the game became unwinnable for the Hoyas, with their score of 76-66.
After multiple Georgetown fouls, Navy finished the game, clinging to a 7-point advantage. Despite the inconsistent play, a few bright spots were still to be found. Wahab continued to build off his strong offensive performance against UMBC, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 from the field. Graduate transfer guard Donald Carey, who remained quiet offensively in the matchup, helped the Hoyas close the gap on the glass and outrebounded the Midshipmen 38-36 by adding nine boards of his own.
Ultimately, however, the Hoyas’ erratic play throughout the game was marked by poor shooting and turnovers. Although Blair finished the game tied for the lead in scoring with Pickett, he struggled to find a rhythm, shooting just 2-of-11 from deep. Overall, the Hoyas were outshot 41% to 50% for the Midshipmen. Additionally, Georgetown’s 13 turnovers resulted in a costly 19 points for Navy. The defeat was the first-ever loss by Georgetown to a Patriot League opponent and the first time a Head Coach Patrick Ewing-led squad has failed to start the year 2-0.
Georgetown should look to improve upon its performance when it hosts West Virginia in McDonough Arena on Dec. 6 as a part of the Big 12-Big East Battle. The game will be televised on FS1 and can be heard locally on the Team 980 on 95.9 FM.