Georgetown scored a much-needed road victory over the Creighton Blue Jays on Feb. 3. With just over a minute and a half remaining, it seemed Georgetown may fail to pull off the upset over Creighton. The Hoyas were just a fraction of a second away from receiving a shot clock violation at the last minute when senior guard Jahvon Blair banked in a three-point heave, putting the Hoyas up 79-70 and sealing the victory.
This game marked a back-to-back win for Georgetown (5-8, 3-5 Big East) after a three week long hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hoyas started the game strong, forcing a turnover on the very first possession of the game and converting on the other end. They also rattled off an 11-0 run in just under three minutes, led largely by several Blair dishes. The Hoyas went into the half leading Creighton (13-5, 9-4 Big East) by 5 points.
Despite never regaining the lead, Creighton made several pushes in the second half that kept the score tight. Down by 10 points with just over six minutes left in the game, the Blue Jays turned to their junior forward Christian Bishop, who sank a free throw, made a layup and slammed down an emphatic reverse dunk to bring the game within 6 points.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) called a timeout to reassess after the Hoyas’ lead had been cut to 72-66 with slightly over 4:30 left in the game. Afterward, Georgetown made key buckets courtesy of graduate forward Chudier Bile and sophomore center Qudus Wahab and put together crucial stops on a number of Creighton jumpers. Despite extending the lead once again, the Hoyas were not out of the fray, as the game was still within three baskets.
With 2:38 left, Creighton senior guard Mitch Ballock, whose shots had kept the Bluejays within striking distance of victory throughout the game, pulled up from the elbow and swished his fourth three-point shot of the game. Though there was potential for the Hoya upset to fall through, Bile grabbed an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession and Blair clanged in the dagger.
For the second consecutive game, Georgetown struggled to close out properly. Freshman guard Dante Harris fouled Creighton’s star guard Marcus Zegarowksi on a three-point attempt, and Zegarowski drained each free throw. More fouls ensued, but despite the continued late-game antics, the Hoyas managed to beat Creighton 86-79.
The major contributions to the Hoya win came from their upperclassmen. Seniors Blair and Jamorko Pickett combined for 38 points on 23 shots, and they shot 9-14 from beyond the arc.
Ewing also inserted Chudier Bile into the starting lineup for the first time after a strong performance against Providence. Bile proved to be a worthy addition, as he scored 17 points on 7-13 shooting and logged a number of clutch steals. Coach Ewing praised Bile in his post-game comments.
“I thought he played great,” Ewing remarked. He added it was going to be difficult to keep Bile on the bench, given these recent breakout performances.
This was a statement win for Georgetown, despite this season’s challenge of a young roster. The Hoyas were yet to string together two consecutive wins; they have now embarked on a significant comeback by beating Creighton in Omaha, something they have not done in six years. Ewing also considered this a major win and even stated this game was his best victory as Georgetown’s head coach.
“I’m not sure if it’s my best win, but I love it…we beat a ranked team…we didn’t back down… we just kept on fighting and was [sic] able to come away with a huge win,” Ewing said in the post-game press conference.
With a rejuvenated roster and a new and improved starting lineup, the Hoyas are certainly trending upwards.
They’ll look to continue this winning streak against the Villanova Wildcats (11-2, 6-1 Big East) on Feb. 7 at 2:30 p.m.