When the Georgetown men’s basketball team opened its final home game of the season, senior center Tyler Adams was on the floor for the Hoyas, collecting an entry pass from senior guard Jabril Trawick on the low block. The 6-foot-9-inch senior center. spun, took one dribble and dunked home the game’s opening basket.
“It was a special moment,” Adams said. “I’m used to being in a suit.”
Adams travelled on road trips, attended shootarounds and patrolled the sideline with Georgetown during 71 Big East regular season games before playing his first conference game with the team against Seton Hall on Saturday.
Adams was diagnosed with arrhythmia just eight games into his freshman season and chose to stay on the team, although he would no longer be able to play.
“I was worried that [Adams] was so excited, so anxious, he may have a heart attack just from being excited out there,” Head Coach John Thompson III said.
Adams’ dunk during Georgetown’s Senior Day marked the first points Adams scored for the Hoyas since Dec. 3, 2011.
“I just have to say what a class act that was on Seton Hall’s part and [Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin] Willard’s part,” Thompson said. “It’s one thing for me to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to put Tyler out there and I’m willing to waste a timeout to get him right back out,’ but it’s another thing for the opposition to understand how important this was to us and to him and to understand that sometimes things are more important than if the ball goes in the basket or not.”
After giving Georgetown (20-9, 12-6 Big East) the early lead, Adams was immediately substituted for fellow senior center Joshua Smith to a standing ovation.
Meanwhile, senior forward and co-captain Jabril Trawick led Georgetown with a career-high 19 points en route to a 73-67 victory over Seton Hall (16-14, 6-12).
In the absence of junior guard and the team’s leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-River, who sat out the game with a knee injury, freshman Tre Campbell started and contributed 13 points. With the win and a Providence loss to Butler earlier in the day, Georgetown clinched the No. 2 seed in this week’s Big East Tournament.
“[Smith-Rivera] tweaked his knee in the Butler game. He went out for warm ups today and he said ‘I feel weak’,” Thompson III said. “I don’t anticipate him missing any part of the Big East tournament.”
Without the Smith-Rivera’s, an aggressive Trawick consistently drove to the rim through Seton Hall’s defense while Campbell effectively filled in as the offense’s primary ball handler.
“I definitely knew I would have to set the tone, which I try to do every game,” Trawick said. “I needed to do that with [Smith-Rivera] being out, so I just wanted to go out with a bang today.”
In the final seconds of the game, Trawick brought Verizon Center to its feet with one final emphatic breakaway slam. Georgetown has not lost a game this season when Trawick scores in double-digits.
The senior guard, who is regarded as Georgetown’s emotional leader, had his arm around his mother and had tears in his eyes during the pregame ceremony.
“I’m going to miss [Trawick] a lot, [but] hopefully we have 10 or so more games together,” Thompson said. “It’s an emotional time when you realize this is the last time in this building, ‘I have the opportunity to wear this uniform with this group of guys.’ His performance today was needed; he played like a senior.”
Campbell played a career high 32 minutes. His seven points in the game’s first 10 minutes helped Georgetown build a 32-24 halftime lead.
“Little Tre is a player, it was 7 minutes [before the game] when we realized D’Vauntes wasn’t playing,” Thompson said. “He’s going to sleep well tonight with the minutes that he played, but he did what he was brought here to do.”
To start the second half, Georgetown ambushed the Pirates with a 9-0 run that was capped by a Trawick three-pointer. Senior forwards Aaron Bowen and Mikael Hopkins produced effective contributions from the bench, as Bowen finished with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals while Hopkins had eight points, four rebounds and three steals.
Georgetown will return to action in the Big East tournament Thursday night at 7 p.m. As the No. 2 seed, Georgetown will face the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between Creighton and DePaul, two teams the Hoyas swept in the regular season.
Although Adams may have played his final minutes on the court, his presence on the team will continue throughout Georgetown’s postseason games.
“Does anyone know who we play?” Thompson said when asked about the conference tournament. “Junior coach knows the answer,” he quipped, as he turned to Adams.