The Georgetown men’s basketball team fell short to the visiting Marquette Golden Eagles 84-80 as the game slipped out of grasp in the last minute of play Jan. 18. Marquette’s senior guard Markus Howard, the reigning Big East Player of the Week, was too much to handle for the Georgetown defense as he dropped 42 points on the day.
In front of a crowd of 20,622 people at Capital One Arena, sophomore guard Mac McClung led the Hoyas (12-7, 2-4 Big East) with 24 points while senior center Omer Yurtseven scored 22 points and tallied 11 rebounds to notch his 10th double-double of the year. With the loss, Georgetown slips to seventh in the Big East while Marquette (13-5, 3-3 Big East) overtakes the sixth spot.
Both teams shot efficiently throughout the game with Georgetown shooting 50.8% from the field and Marquette shooting 46.9% from the floor. Success from the three-point line made the difference for Marquette as they converted 10 three-pointers and outrebounded the Hoyas 36-33 despite the size and strength of Yurtseven.
The game began with a back-and-forth first half that saw six lead changes. The Blue and Gray jumped out to an early 13-9 lead at the first media timeout, led by two inside buckets from Yurtseven. Marquette, however, warmed up as they put together a 10-0 run behind Howard’s success from deep with two consecutive three-pointers.
McClung responded to the Golden Eagles’ lead by sinking a jumper from the paint to give Georgetown back the lead at 29-28 with under eight minutes to play until halftime.
In the final few minutes of the half, Marquette surged with Howard on the bench. The Golden Eagles combined for four baskets in the paint to conclude the half with a 42-36 advantage over the Hoyas. Georgetown shot 57.7% from the field at the half with just three three-pointers in its seven attempts. Marquette shot just 48.6% from the floor but found success from the three-point line with eight buckets made in its 19 attempts.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) fired up the Hoyas during halftime as they started the second half on a 10-4 run to tie the score at 46. Junior forward Jamorko Pickett made consecutive corner three-pointers to lead the run.
Marquette and Georgetown continued to trade buckets and neither team jumped out to a lead over six points in the first 10 minutes of the half. With just over 10 minutes to play, junior guard Jamorko Pickett gave the Hoyas a 57-55 lead off a three-pointer to bring the fans to their feet. Howard, however, refused to let the Hoyas run away with the lead as he answered with eight straight points of his own while the Golden Eagles held the Blue and Gray to one layup during that stretch.
Marquette capitalized on their 8-2 run and extended their lead to seven with under four minutes remaining in the game. Yurtseven responded with a pair of jumpers and forced a turnover leading to junior guard Jahvon Blair’s three free-throws to tie the game at 76 with 1:34 on the clock. The fans at Capital One rallied around the Hoya offense with a surge of cheers, pushing for a third consecutive Big East win on Georgetown’s home court.
On the following play, Marquette called a timeout as the game stood at a stalemate. When the teams returned to play, Howard continued his dominant play with a sunk three-pointer to regain the lead. Pickett answered with a layup to bring the Hoyas back within one point and the Golden Eagles drained the clock down to 28 seconds before drawing a foul from Georgetown.
Marquette sunk its free throw to extend its lead to two before fouling Georgetown to send McClung to the line. McClung missed his first attempt before making his second, again pulling within one of the Golden Eagles.
Marquette’s free throw shooting would prove to be the difference in the game, as the team capitalized on two more free throws in the last nine seconds of play to force Georgetown to score on the next possession to remain in contention. Senior guard Jagan Mosely failed to make both of his free throws and Marquette sealed the victory with a final score of 84-80.
Despite McClung, Yurtseven, Pickett and Mosely combining for 67 points on the day with individual efforts in the double digits, the Hoyas struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the game. Ewing recognized his team’s inability to execute its offensive strategy and pointed to the Blue and Gray’s lack of cohesion as a major factor in the loss.
“The difference is that we didn’t do a good job on the pick and roll. One, the guards are looking for the pick and roll; two, the bigs didn’t get up in time to show or help,” Ewing said in an interview with GU Hoyas.
On the defensive end, the Hoyas conceded 17 second chance points to the Golden Eagles while only notching eight themselves. In transition, Marquette capitalized for 11 points on turnovers compared to Georgetown’s six.
At the end of the day, Howard, Marquette’s leading scorer this season, proved too much for the Georgetown defense to handle, accounting for half of his team’s’ points. Ewing gave a nod to Marquette’s performance but also noted his team’s failure in shutting down Howard.
“They’re a good team, [Howard] is a good player and we can’t give him everything,” said Ewing.
Georgetown next heads to Cincinnati on Wednesday to face the Xavier Musketeers in its seventh conference matchup of the season. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcasted on FS1.