The Georgetown men’s basketball team played from behind all game, falling to the Providence Friars 88-68 on Feb. 26. Sophomore guard Primo Spears was stellar in the loss, though, pouring in 26 points and dishing 4 assists while junior guard Jay Heath added 19 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting.
A somber air filled Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon as the Hoyas (7-24, 2-18 Big East) hosted the Providence Friars (21-9, 13-6 Big East) for what was many Hoyas’ final home game. Seniors were honored before the game as Georgetown fans bid farewell to the final two members of the 2021 Big East Championship Team, centers Qudus Wahab and Malcolm Wilson — and potentially Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85), too.
The real question is which non-seniors from this Georgetown team will step foot onto the floor at Capital One next season, a fear highlighted by the “Please Don’t Transfer” signs students held up in the sparsely-filled student section.
The game was competitive for all of five minutes. The Hoyas started by playing some uncharacteristically good defense, marked by a forced shot clock violation and a fantastic block by senior forward Akok Akok, who finished the game with 4 blocks. Georgetown had serious reason for optimism when the Friars’ forward, Bryce Hopkins, a contender for Big East Player of the Year, picked up his third foul after just four minutes of play. The third foul forced a media timeout, during which Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley quickly pulled Hopkins from the game.
Following the timeout, Providence went on a run that the Hoyas would never recover from. The Friars quickly rattled off points on Georgetown, who were not doing themselves any favors by making careless turnovers and allowing several second-chance baskets. Such was the story of the game, as the Hoyas were dominated in the paint.
Perhaps the battle under the basket would have been different had the Hoyas had Wahab, who was unavailable due to illness. After the game, Ewing said Wahab might not have shifted the outcome, but could have made a significant difference. In his place, sophomore center Ryan Mutombo got a chance to prove himself, making the most of his limited playing time with a few steals.
Beyond the arc, Georgetown did not fare much better defensively as the Friars shot the lights out from deep. Providence started the game shooting 5-of-6 from three, seemingly sucking the life out of the arena every time it felt like the Hoyas might break through.
At halftime, Georgetown trailed 46-27. Out of the break, the Hoyas’ shots began to fall. Spears swished threes from the top of the key and corner. Sophomore guard Brandon Murray showed off his vision on the perimeter, swinging to Heath in the corner for a trey. When Heath knocked down another long-range bomb to cut the lead to 49-39 with 17:10 to play, Providence was forced to call a timeout.
The Friars stopped the bleeding out of the timeout with an easy floater from short range, stunting Georgetown’s momentum. The Hoyas looked out of control in transition, and Providence attacked, running its lead back up to 59-41 with 13:15 remaining. Heath and Spears continued to knock down shots, but Georgetown never found a way to make the game competitive again, as the Friars’ margin hovered around 15 for the rest of the game.
The Friars won in transition, scoring 23 fast-break points, converting 10-of-19 three point attempts and hitting around the basket, scoring 46 points in the paint to the Hoyas’ 20.
The game was a frustrating Georgetown performance in what has been a frustrating season. Georgetown went on to lose against the Creighton Bluejays 59-99 on March 1 for its last regular season game and will have one more chance to surprise the fan base at the Big East Tournament. As the projected No. 11 seed, Georgetown will face the No. 6 seed in the first round at 8 p.m. on March 8 in Madison Square Garden.
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