Even with outstanding efforts from sophomore guard Primo Spears, the Georgetown men’s basketball team could not muster the strength to fight back against Xavier University in Cincinnati on Jan. 21, losing 95-82.
The game began with the Xavier Musketeers (16-4, 8-1 Big East) taking an early 24-13 lead over the Hoyas (5-15, 0-9 Big East). Georgetown quickly responded with an 11-point unanswered run to tie the game 24-24 behind buckets by Spears, sophomore guard Jordan Riley and junior guard Wayne Bristol Jr.
The Musketeers restored their lead, but with 5:29 left to play in the first half of the competition, Riley and Spears stepped up again and brought the Hoyas within 4 points.
With 2 baskets from junior forward Akok Akok, including a reverse dunk, and a triple from graduate forward Bryson Mozone to tie the game at 38 apiece, Georgetown went on a 7-3 mini run, but Xavier reciprocated with a 7-1 run of its own to end the half with a 45-39 lead.
In the second half, the Hoyas came out strong with a pair of baskets from senior center Qudus Wahab, a Spears jumper and a pair of Akok free throws to go on an 8-3 run and bring the Hoyas within one point at 48-47. However, the Musketeers regained control of the game, taking the deficit to 9 points before a Spears’ 3-pointer made it a two-possession game once more.
Georgetown eventually came within two possessions of Xavier, but the Musketeers were able to hold the Hoyas off. When the Musketeers increased their advantage to 69-59, the Hoyas were forced to call a timeout. A designed 3-point play from sophomore forward Bradley Ezewiro out of the timeout cut the lead to 7. However, that was the closest the Hoyas would get for the rest of the game, as Xavier went on to win 95-82 at the buzzer.
Despite the double-digit loss, Spears turned in an impressive performance, scoring a career-high 37 points on a game-high 15 field goals, which included 3 triples. This performance eclipsed his previous scoring high of 34 points, which he recorded in his final regular season contest as a first-year with the Duquesne University Dukes. The Hartford, Conn. native notched his first career double-double by adding 11 assists, tying his career high from a loss to DePaul on Dec. 29.
Akok and Wahab’s contributions prevented the final scoreline from being even more lopsided. Akok was productive on the offensive end, notching a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds on a 6-of-9 shooting efficiency rate, while being equally disruptive on the defensive front, with 3 blocks and 2 steals. Wahab, who returned to the Hoyas this season after a forgettable junior campaign at the University of Maryland, had an efficient offensive performance, with 10 points from perfect field goal and free throw shooting. He also chipped in 3 blocks and 2 assists.
The Hoyas made their way back home to Capital One Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 24, where they beat the DePaul Blue Demons (9-11, 3-6 Big East) 81-76 to up their first conference win in two seasons.