Once again, it was a tale of two halves for the Georgetown men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon in Chicago, Illinois. The Hoyas managed to narrowly defeat the DePaul Blue Demons after a poorly played first half.
Georgetown (9-11, 7-8 Big East) turned the game around after halftime to beat DePaul (4-13, 2-13 Big East) 68-60 Feb. 27. Graduate forward Chudier Bile led the Hoyas with outstanding play, including a 19-points and 10-rebounds double-double. Strong play and 14 points each from first-year guard Dante Harris and senior forward Jamorko Pickett also contributed to Georgetown’s victory.
Both teams struggled to find any rhythm in the first half. DePaul deployed a three-quarter court press that wreaked havoc on Georgetown’s ball handlers, forcing 11 first-half turnovers. The Hoyas failed to score for nearly the first four minutes of the game and did not record a 2-point field goal until 12 minutes into the half. If not for a barrage of three-pointers, including two from Bile and another from graduate guard Donald Carey, the Hoyas would have found themselves in serious trouble early on in the game.
As poorly as the Hoyas played in this half, DePaul struggled just as much. The Blue Demons shot just 31% from the field, failing to capitalize on Georgetown’s repeated turnovers. DePaul’s offense was led by guard Charlie Moore, who scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the opening half. The Blue Demons ended the first half on an 8-2 run to make the score 30-26 at halftime.
After the break, Georgetown exploded on an 18-0 scoring run to open up a 19-point lead early in the second half. Pickett led the way, scoring three consecutive three-pointers to make up for his 2-point first half marked by foul trouble. A fast break layup from Harris and three more free throws from Pickett capped the Hoyas’ run.
Just when fans thought Georgetown had put the game away, DePaul went on a 10-0 run of their own, cutting the Hoya lead to 9 points with 10 minutes left to play. After trading baskets, a sweet midrange jumper from first-year forward Jamari Sibley with two minutes left essentially put the game out of reach. Sophomore center Qudus Wahab played well down the stretch both offensively and defensively for Georgetown.
One of the biggest storylines of the game was the absence of senior guard Jahvon Blair, Georgetown’s lead scorer. It was very unusual for such a crucial player to be missing without an injury designation in such an important game with postseason implications. When asked about Blair’s absence in a post-game press conference, Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) declined to elaborate beyond calling it a “coach’s decision.”
Ewing also praised Bile’s performance.
“I have to tip my hat off to Chudi, Chudi had a great game,” Ewing said. “We need the things that he’s been doing for us, that’s the reason why we’ve been winning.”
Georgetown will look to build upon this momentum as they finish out the regular season this week with two more Big East games. The Hoyas will take on Xavier (13-6, 6-6 Big East) at home on Tuesday night before finishing the regular season at UCONN (13-6, 9-6 Big East) on Saturday.