Backed by senior center Jessie Govan’s 29 points, the Georgetown men’s basketball team earned a 90-82 away win against Richmond on Wednesday.
In Georgetown’s (6-1) third straight win, Govan added nine rebounds, two steals and was a perfect seven-for-seven from the free throw line in 36 minutes of play.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) said that Govan must play well for Georgetown to have success this season.
“He’s a senior, he has to do all the things that he needs to do if we are going to win,” Ewing said in a postgame press conference.
Georgetown struggled to defend Richmond’s (2-5) offensive attack, as the Spiders shot 12 for 26 from three-point range and scored 34 in points in the paint.
Ewing emphasized the Hoyas’ need to improve defensively.
“If we want to beat the teams I expect us to beat, we have to do a much better job,” Ewing said. “If we can’t guard the paint and the three-point line, we’re going to get beat.”
In the first half, freshman guard James Akinjo made his first three shots from behind the arc, while Govan added 18 first-half points. Richmond also found success offensively, shooting 56 percent from the field in the first half. Georgetown headed into halftime leading 40-35.
Govan said that Richmond has a strong team and kept the game close throughout.
“I think [Richmond’s] a good team and their record doesn’t show it. We were fortunate to make a few more plays that mattered down the stretch,” Govan said in a postgame press conference.
In the second half, Richmond pulled closer. With 14:17 left to play, Richmond tied the game at 54-54. However, freshman guard Mac McClung answered with five straight points to give the Hoyas the lead again. McClung scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half to lead the way for Georgetown down the stretch.
Ewing praised McClung’s performance and aggression against the Spiders.
“I thought [Mac] played well, he was able to get to the basket, he was able to hit some shots,” Ewing said. “He got some baskets in transition. That’s something I’ve been telling him, with his athleticism, he needs to run a lot harder to get baskets in transition.”
Richmond made another push midway through the second half to cut into Georgetown’s lead. With 9:54 remaining, they pulled within six points, but Georgetown senior guard Greg Malinowski scored five straight points to extend Georgetown’s lead to 73-62 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Malinowski had 10 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, in a season-high 20 minutes off the bench, and said that he used his extended playing time to contribute and help the team win.
“It happened to be my night tonight. I got in the game a little bit longer than I had in the past. I just took advantage of the opportunity and just played well whenever I got in there, that’s my mindset,” Malinowski said in a postgame press conference.
While Georgetown held a lead down the stretch, Richmond cut the deficit to two possessions with a late three-pointer. With time running out, the Spiders had to foul the Hoyas to stop the clock. Georgetown made enough shots from the line to come out on top.
Despite shooting 50 percent from the floor, Georgetown allowed Richmond to shoot 53.3 percent from the floor in its worst defensive effort so far this season.
Govan said that the Hoyas cannot make defensive mistakes when they enter conference play.
“We made the game a little harder than it had to be. When we get to Big East play, those mistakes will cost us. Fortunately, we were able to knock down our free throws and walk away with the victory, but we need to tighten up our mistake,” Govan said.
Georgetown will next play against Liberty (6-1) on Dec. 3. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Capital One Arena. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 2 and can be heard locally on The Team 980 FM.