Hoya fans stood in noticeable anticipation at Capital One Arena on Feb. 8 as senior forward George Muresan took to the line with two seconds on the clock as Georgetown clung to a two-point lead over DePaul University. Muresan calmly sunk his two free throws to propel the Blue and Gray to the 76-72 victory in a game the Hoyas once trailed by 11 points.
With sophomore guard Mac McClung sidelined for his third straight game due to a foot injury, junior guard Jahvon Blair led the scoring with a career high 30-point performance.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing saw the team’s performance as a positive in an unpredictable season, specifically commending Blair’s career-best performance along with each players’ individual contribution in the win.
“This was a great team effort. Everyone helped. Jahvon – he had 30 points, and we needed all 30 of them, but it wasn’t just his points,” Ewing said in an interview with GUHoyas. “Guys stepped up, guys did everything that we needed for them to do. We still turned the ball over a little more than I wanted but it was a great win.”
The visiting DePaul Blue Demons (13-11, 1-10 Big East) opened the game with offensive intensity to silence Georgetown (14-10, 4-7 Big East) early on. The Blue Demons accumulated a 10-point advantage just over five minutes into the opening half off shooting 7-for-9 from the field.
With 9:45 on the clock, Georgetown trailed DePaul 23-12 until Blair and senior center Omer Yurtseven found the bottom of the basket to bring the score to 23-17. The Blue Demons continued to convert baskets, but the Hoyas stayed within six points as Yurtseven capitalized on back-to-back dunks in the 15th minute of play. The Hoyas tallied five straight points to close out the first half trailing the Blue Demons 38-32.
In the second half, the teams emerged more evenly matched, as DePaul and Georgetown exchanged several baskets out of the locker room to keep the Blue Demon’s advantage hovering in single digits.
After the U-12 timeout, Blue and Gray went on a 13-2 run led by two Blair triples to claim their first lead of the game at 59-57. Behind over 10,000 fans at Capital One Arena, the Hoyas utilized their home court advantage to spark the late comeback led by Blair.
With four minutes left to play, junior forward Jamorko Pickett converted a three-pointer to extend the Georgetown lead to 66-61. DePaul responded with three points from foul shots to pull within the range of a basket, but once again, Blair made a jump shot to maintain the Georgetown lead at four with two minutes on the clock. Muresan sealed the game by making both free throws, ending the contest at 76-72.
Ewing praised Muresan’s efforts to put away the game for the Blue and Gray and earn the team’s fourth conference win, emphasizing the importance of the team’s play down the stretch.
“We needed to get the ball in, he was able to get the ball and then knock down two huge free throws to seal the victory,” Ewing said in an interview with GUHoyas.
The night ended with career highs for two Hoyas; Blair’s career scoring performance and freshman center Qudus Wahab’s career-high blocks per game. Blair has played his best games of the season in the absence of McClung, recording 71 points over his last three appearances. In the matchup with DePaul, Blair played the entire 40 minutes and shot 11 of 18 from the field, earning recognition on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll for his performance.
The 6’11” freshman center also left the floor with a personal best, utilizing his height for a career-high six blocks in 23 minutes of play.
Joining Blair in double digit scoring, Yurtseven finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds while senior guard Terrell Allen had 12 points and a season-high nine assists.
The Hoyas concluded the game shooting 44.8 percent (26-58) from the field with an improved 54.2 percent (13-24) in the second half.
On the day, the Georgetown defense forced 15 turnovers from DePaul compared to its 14. While holding the Blue Demons to 15 turnover points, the Hoyas notched 23 turnover points of their own.
Georgetown travels to Indianapolis next Saturday, Feb. 15 when they play the Butler University Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 2:30pm at the Hinkle Fieldhouse and will be broadcasted on FOX.