In an upset defeat, the Georgetown University men’s basketball team fell to the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks 77-74. The Nov. 26 loss marked a disappointing end to the Wooden Legacy tournament for the Hoyas (2-3), who finished in last place out of four teams. Following the defeat, Georgetown now sits below .500 on the season.
On offense, the Hoyas saw 25- and 17-point efforts from graduate guard Kaiden Rice and sophomore guard Dante Harris, respectively. Harris scored the first bucket of the game and Georgetown traded baskets with the Hawks (3-3) to stay even early in the first half.
Junior center Timothy Ighoefe and first-year center Ryan Mutombo scored 9 of Georgetown’s first 14 points, making the center position a critical source of offensive production. Also in the first half, Mutombo recorded the first 3-pointer of his college career, cutting St. Joseph’s lead to just one point at 13-12. The Hoyas fought to control the lead over the next four minutes, but the Hawks proved to be up to the challenge.
After a series of costly deflections and turnovers from Georgetown, St. Joseph’s scored 12 unanswered points to take a 29-16 lead at the 6:20 mark. The Hawks pushed the Hoyas off balance, penetrating in the paint, capitalizing on fast break opportunities and making the three ball. St. Joseph’s forward Taylor Funk devastated the Hoyas’ defense, finishing the game 8 of 10 from the 3-point line and with 29 points in total.
Georgetown further failed to find a rhythm on offense, going through a four-and-a-half minute stretch without scoring once. The Hoyas also started the game 3 of 13 from three and shot a meager 30.3% from the field in the first half. Georgetown forced some off-mark three point shots in an attempt to match St. Joseph’s success but was unable to take the lead.
At the end of the half, however, the Hoyas appeared rejuvenated, transitioning to a full court press and rallying their defense. Georgetown put pressure on the Hawks’ inbounds and recorded a pair of consecutive steals, snagging 5 quick points off of 2 Harris baskets and pulling the Hoyas within 8. Georgetown’s 5 steals in the opening half were the team’s most in any half since recording 6 against Butler on Feb. 13, 2021.
Rice made a three-pointer with 17 seconds left in the first, providing some momentum heading into halftime. After 20 minutes, the Hawks led the Hoyas 36-26.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) made some adjustments to his team at the half and Georgetown emerged from the locker room with renewed focus. The Hoyas put on a valiant effort in the second half, outscoring St. Joseph’s 48-41 and shooting 58.62% and 66.67% from the field and from three, respectively.
In the first two minutes of the second half, Georgetown ran half court sets and went on a 7-0 run to stay within 3 points of the Hawks. Funk’s fifth three-pointer of the night cut short the Hoyas’ dominant stretch, and the Hawks stole back the momentum to extend their lead to 8 points.
Just when it looked like St. Joseph’s might pull away, Harris put his skills on display and showed why he was named Most Outstanding Player of last year’s Big East Tournament. The guard made a pair of shots and assisted Rice and sophomore forward Collin Holloway to help eliminate the deficit. Harris finished with a team high of 6 assists, and Rice finished with a season high of 19 second-half points.
The Hoyas were lucky to have Holloway, who finished with a much needed 5 points and a steal in six minutes of play, back from a foot injury. The Baton Rouge, La. native knocked down a three, registering his first points of the year and tying the game at 51 a piece with 12:06 left in the game.
After a block by Ighoefe that led to a three-pointer from graduate guard Donald Carey, Georgetown took the lead for the first time since the game’s opening minutes. It was a back-and-forth battle until the Hoyas lost the lead for good, with St. Joseph’s taking a 74-69 lead with 48 seconds remaining.
Rice banked an improbable three-pointer to drag the Hoyas within two points, bringing the score to 74-72. However, after a turnover and a few free throws, Georgetown went down 77-72. With eight seconds left and the score at 77-74, the Hoyas needed a three to tie the game but were unable to get a clean shot off before the buzzer.