In a successful effort Wednesday night in Stillwater, Okla., the Georgetown men’s basketball team captured a big victory amid team turmoil, defeating the previously undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys 81-74.
On Monday, Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) announced that former sophomore forward Joshua LeBlanc and former sophomore guard James Akinjo were no longer members of the men’s basketball team for the remainder of the season, effective immediately. LeBlanc was also named along with junior forward Galen Alexander and freshman forward Myron Gardner in November civil complaints, which include allegations of burglary, sexual harassment and assault. Alexander and Gardner are still members of the men’s basketball team and appeared in the Wednesday game.
Playing in its first game since the departure of the two former All-Big East freshman members, Georgetown (5-3) opened the game against Oklahoma State (7-1) with intensity. The Hoyas wound up handing Oklahoma State their first loss of the season days after the Cowboys gained a No. 25 ranking in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Sophomore guard Mac McClung led all scorers with a season-high 33 points in an efficient 12 for 21 shooting performance. Senior center Omer Yurtseven added 19 points and graduate guard Terrell Allen, starting in his first game of the season to replace Akinjo, scored 15 points.
The game started with even play as the teams exchanged baskets in the opening five minutes. After back-to-back buckets from McClung and Allen, Georgetown led the Cowboys 13-12 with 15:56 left. With 11:56 remaining, McClung and junior guard Jahvon Blair scored five straight points to put the Hoyas up 23-15.
The teams collectively went almost three minutes without scoring from 11:26 to 8:54 in the half. Alexander broke the scoring drought by sinking a three-pointer to put Georgetown up 26-17, giving the Hoyas their largest lead of the game.
Oklahoma State fought back and after Yurtseven made two free throws; the Cowboys made a three-pointer to go into the half trailing 36-32. In the first half, Georgetown forced nine turnovers and held Oklahoma State to 36.4% shooting from the field.
After halftime, Georgetown scored four straight points to take an eight-point lead, but Oklahoma State soon stormed back. The Cowboys went on a 21-8 run to take a 53-48 lead with 12:06 left to play as Ewing called a timeout for damage control.
The strong run by Oklahoma State, however, did not dampen the Blue and Gray’s offensive efforts. After Georgetown trailed for almost three minutes, McClung caught fire, making three consecutive three-pointers and single-handedly going on a 9-0 run to put the team up 61-55, a lead they would not relinquish.
The Cowboys fought back to cut the deficit as Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III, who scored a team-high 29 points on the day, finished a three-pointer to pull within three. Yurtseven responded quickly by knocking down his first three-pointer of the season to put the Hoyas back up 64-58.
Oklahoma State remained relentless, preventing the Blue and Gray from pulling away by cutting the deficit back down to four points. Despite the Cowboys’ efforts, McClung came through again with a tough driving layup and free throw to propel Georgetown to a 74-67 lead.
With 38 seconds left on the clock, Allen made a three-pointer to put the Hoyas up 77-69. The eight-point cushion would prove to be enough to secure the victory for Georgetown. With the clock winding down, the Cowboys had no choice but to foul to stop time. Allen took to the line and made four consecutive free throws to ice the game.
Georgetown, in handing Oklahoma State its first loss of the season, outrebounded its opponent 43-29 and made 14-14 free throws. The Hoyas shot 50% from three-point range in the second half.
Ewing felt his team played together in the game, something he has been working on with the talented but inconsistent squad.
“I keep telling my team, stop thinking about ‘me’ and start thinking about ‘we,’” Ewing said in a postgame on-court interview with ESPN.
Georgetown will try to keep the momentum going as it travels to Dallas to take on Southern Methodist University. The Hoyas are scheduled for tipoff Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU and can be heard locally on The Team 980 on 95.9 FM.