As the buzzer sounded at Capital One Arena, graduate student guard Terrell Allen launched a last-chance three-pointer that bounced off the rim and stifled the Georgetown men’s basketball team’s comeback attempts in a 66-63 loss to Xavier.
The March 1 defeat marks Georgetown’s (15-15, 5-12 Big East) fourth straight loss as the Hoyas sit in eighth in the Big East standings. Suffering from a short rotation with the absence of injured sophomore guard Mac McClung and senior center Omer Yurtseven, the Hoya defense, despite its height, was overpowered off the glass and outrebounded 41-30, with Xavier pulling in 16 rebounds to Georgetown’s 10.
Xavier jumped out to an early lead in the first half, scoring 11 unanswered points after the first media timeout to make the score 23-13. Sophomore guard Jaden Robinson responded to the Musketeers with a steal and fastbreak layup to fuel a 7-0 run by the Hoyas. Senior guard Jagan Mosely capped the scoring with a layup and cut Xavier’s lead to 23-20. To close out the first half, junior guard Jahvon Blair converted on a jumper while Xavier knocked down two more buckets to extend its lead to 28-22.
The second half brought the fans at Capital One to their feet as the Blue and Gray launched a late comeback against the Musketeers to recapture the lead.
To open the half, junior guard Jamorko Pickett sunk a three-pointer followed by a Mosely layup to pull within one at 28-27. Again, the Musketeers pulled away with a 7-0 run to build up their lead. Much of the half consisted of this back-and-forth play, with the Hoyas pulling within a possession only to have Xavier respond with a string of baskets to increase its advantage.
With 7:09 remaining, Xavier held onto a comfortable eight-point lead, but Allen and Blair quickly knotted a pair of buckets to bring the score to 52-49, forcing a Xavier timeout.
The Musketeers held on to their slim lead in the following minutes until back-to-back three-pointers from the Hoyas provided a late surge.
After Pickett sank another three-pointer, Allen found Blair deep from the right wing and Blair converted the must-needed three-pointer to tie the game at 61 with just over a minute on the clock. Following a quick bucket by Xavier, Georgetown freshman center Timothy Ighoefe scored his first points of the game with a tip-in to once again tie the game at 63.
As the crowd rose to its feet, Xavier’s lead scorer, forward Naji Marshall, silenced the cheers from the crowd with a step-back three-pointer from deep in the last four seconds of play to force a Georgetown timeout.
After drafting up a last-chance play in the huddle, the Hoyas let off a series of quick passes down court to find Allen at the top of the arc. Allen’s last-second attempt, however, hit the rim and sent the Blue and Gray to the tunnel with a 66-63 loss.
The narrow loss comes as another hit in a tumultuous Georgetown season, but Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) expressed satisfaction with his team’s ability to remain in contention throughout the game.
“I thought my guys played hard. They didn’t give up; they kept fighting,” Ewing said in an interview with GU Hoyas. “We dug a deep hole in the first half but we were able to come back, tie the game with minutes to go and then [Naji Marshall] made that incredible shot.”
In the absence of McClung and Yurtseven, Blair once again had a solid game scoring 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting, marking his fifth straight game scoring at least 15 points. Pickett posted 12 points on the day while Mosely contributed 11 points in 40 minutes of play.
On the day, the Musketeers shot 41% from the field compared to 37% for the Hoyas.
The loss furthers the Hoyas’ conference woes as the team looks to the first round of the Big East Tournament next Wednesday, March 11, for a chance to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Georgetown rounds out regular season road play Wednesday, March 4, in Omaha, Neb., where it will face off against the No. 11 Creighton Bluejays at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports.