As the clock ticked under the minute mark, two free throws by senior guard Jagan Mosely closed out a 10-0 run by the Georgetown men’s basketball team to propel the Hoyas to a 71-60 advantage over the No. 19 Butler Bulldogs. The Blue and Gray went on to a 73-66 win to defeat its third ranked opponent this season, notching a fifth conference victory to keep its tournament hopes alive.
Georgetown (15-10, 5-7 Big East) faced a daunting task coming into the matchup Feb. 15, considering the Hoyas had dropped a 69-64 decision to the Bulldogs (19-7, 7-6 Big East) at home Jan. 28 and the Bulldogs had been ranked as high as the No. 2 team in the country in AP polls. In Saturday’s away game, the Hoyas were missing their two leading scorers to injuries — sophomore guard Mac McClung and senior center Omer Yurtseven.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) commented on his team’s ability to grind out a win despite the challenges it faced coming into the high-profile nationally televised matchup, noting a season characterized by comebacks.
“Coach Thompson always talked about the junkyard dog — having a junkyard dog mentality. No matter what the adversity is, you scratch, you claw, and be able to come away with a win,” Ewing said in a postgame interview. “And I think that’s what we’ve been doing. Not just today but all year.”
The first half of play featured a trade-off of scoring runs. An early 11-2 opening run from Georgetown gave the visitors a commanding lead at the outset, thanks to seven early points from graduate student guard Terrell Allen. Butler pulled within two, but back-to-back buckets from downtown by junior guards Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair put the Blue and Gray back up 17-9 midway through the first half.
Allen then ignited another Georgetown run by draining a contested three, but Butler fired back with a three-pointer to end the half. As the teams headed to the locker room at halftime, Georgetown held a one-point advantage at 32-31.
The game remained tightly contested throughout the second half until a layup from inside the paint by freshman center Qudus Wahab and two field goals by Pickett led Georgetown on a 7-0 run to bring the lead to 44-39 with 13 minutes remaining.
Butler forward Sean McDermott, who led the Bulldogs’ defeat of the Hoyas with a late three-pointer in the teams’ last meeting, found his offensive stride again in the second half. McDermott tallied 10 of his 12 points after halftime, leading a run that put the Bulldogs up 53-52 after two free throws from guard Kamar Baldwin.
Just as it looked like Georgetown would again fall narrowly to Butler, freshman center Timothy Ighoefe found a huge putback score, receiving competitive playing time for the first time in Big East play because of the injury to Yurtseven and foul trouble on Wahab. A bucket by Mosely on the ensuing possession put Georgetown up 61-57.
A Butler three-pointer cut the lead again to one, but Allen took over. He accounted for five of the Hoyas’ 10 unanswered points in the last three minutes of play, including an off-balance corner three-pointer to give the Hoyas a 66-60 lead with fewer than two minutes to play.
Free throws by Blair and Mosely down the stretch ensured a 73-66 Georgetown win, marking its second straight conference victory.
The Hoyas were led by a career day from Allen who dropped 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, tying his career-high 22 points scored against the UCF Knights last season. He also was a perfect 4-for-4 from three.
Blair finished with 16 points while Pickett had 12 and six rebounds. Starting in place of Yurtseven, Wahab made contributions to the effort on both ends of the floor. He scored 11 points and pulled in seven rebounds, continuing a strong season on the glass in which he has averaged more than 12 rebounds per 40 minutes.
Perhaps just as impressive as their performances on the offensive end, Allen, Mosely and Blair played all 40 minutes of the game. Late in the game they came away with critical stops on defense to gain the lead down the stretch. This bout was Blair’s fourth straight game without a substitution in the absence of McClung.
The team returns home to Capital One Arena on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. to take on the Providence Friars. The Hoyas lost to Providence 76-60 in their opening conference game this season but hope the potential returns of McClung and Yurtseven will help to continue their two-game winning streak.