With just 1.2 seconds left in regulation and down 2 points, sophomore guard Primo Spears inbounded the ball to graduate forward Bryson Mozone at the top of the key. Mozone pump faked, dribbled by two leaping St. John’s defenders and shot a 3-pointer that could give the Hoyas their second win in a row. The ball rattled around the rim, but ultimately spun out as time expired.
Despite coming off their first Big East win in two years against the DePaul Blue Demons just five days prior, the Hoyas (6-16, 1-10 Big East) fell just short this past Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the St. John’s Red Storm (14-8, 4-7 Big East), 75-73.
The Hoyas came out the gates slowly in the house where Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s (CAS ’85) jersey hangs high in the rafters. Within the first eight minutes, they were down 17-7.
Despite this slow start, the Hoyas bounced back thanks to the strong play of sophomore guards Jordan Riley and Primo Spears, taking a 39-35 lead into halftime.
But in typical Hoya fashion this season, the halftime lead evaporated by the end of the game. Both sides went back-and-forth making runs for much of the second half, and with 1:30 left in the contest, the game was tied at 70-all.
Two free throws with 46 seconds left gave St. John’s a 2-point advantage, but a clutch corner 3-pointer by Mozone gave the Hoyas the lead with just 24 seconds remaining.
Red Storm point guard André Curbelo sliced through the Hoyas’ zone defense in St. John’s final possession, finding open guard AJ Storr. Storr then calmly sank a 3-pointer to give the Red Storm a 1-point advantage, and Mozone’s unfortunate misfire sealed the game.
In his postgame interview with Georgetown Athletics, Head Coach Ewing said the team made a solid effort to try and clinch the game toward the end but got unlucky.
“At the end of the game, we got a great shot,” Ewing said. “We executed the play to perfection, Bryson Mozone was wide open, it just didn’t go in.”
New Yorker and Hoya fan Luca Orlando (CAS ’25) said he was crestfallen at the conclusion of the contest.
“Why can’t they just win one?” Orlando said in an interview with The Hoya. “One more stop or one more shot could’ve made the difference. It is frustrating to watch them lose these close games.”
What would have been the highlight of the Hoyas’ season could have kick-started a stirring two-game win streak that would have done much to placate the jaded Hoya fan base.
Ewing said the loss emerged from foundational gaps in the team’s performance.
“Those are the things you have to be able to take care of. The turnover game, the offensive rebound games, then when you’re up with three minutes to go, we have to take good shots, we have to not turn the ball over and even if we’re not scoring, they can’t score. You have to be able to defend without fouling and then take care of the ball,” Ewing said.
A silver lining in the loss was the performance by Spears, who continued his breakout season with 25 points on 10-19 shooting to lead the Hoyas in scoring. Sophomore guard Brandon Murray and senior center Qudus Wahab contributed double digits as well, with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Though Riley and fellow senior forward Akok Akok struggled on the offensive side, their defense was vital to the Hoyas’ efforts. Riley led the team with 4 steals and Akok led with 5 blocks.
The Hoyas fell to the Creighton Blue Jays (13-8, 7-3 Big East), who extended their win streak to five, at Capital One Arena on Feb. 1. Georgetown will face off next against the University of Connecticut on Feb. 4 at home.
Leave a Reply