After winning its first conference game, the Georgetown men’s basketball team lost close contests in its next two Big East matchups. The team lost star freshman guard Mac McClung to an ankle injury, so it relied on others to step up.
In Georgetown’s (11-5, 1-2 Big East) Big East opener against Butler University (10-6, 1-2 Big East), the Hoyas came out ready to play. Senior guard Greg Malinowski led the way with a season-high 26 points, including a career-high six three-pointers.
After a back-and-forth first half, Georgetown went into the break winning 40-38 after a layup by Malinowski and free throw by senior center Jessie Govan.
After the Hoyas extended their lead to 65-53 in the second half, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to single digits with just over seven minutes remaining. Junior guard Jagan Mosely, however, scored four straight points to extend the Hoyas’ lead to 12 with 6:25 left.
Georgetown’s last 10 points were scored on free throws, and the Hoyas began the Big East season with an 84-76 win. Georgetown forced 15 Butler turnovers and shot 53 percent from the floor in the game.
Four Hoyas scored in double figures: Along with Malinowski’s 26 points, Govan chipped in with 17 points, and freshman forward Josh LeBlanc and freshman guard James Akinjo notched 12 points each.
Following the win against Butler, Georgetown hosted No. 24 St. John’s University (14-2, 2-2 Big East) for a matinee rivalry clash. The Hoyas raced out to a 28-17 lead in the first 12 minutes of play after a four-point play by sophomore guard Jahvon Blair.
The Red Storm responded strongly, going on a 10-0 run late in the first half. After St. John’s flurry of points, Georgetown went into the break down 42-39. For the game, Govan led the Hoyas in scoring with 25 points to pair with his 10 rebounds.
After a closely contested first half, the Hoyas found themselves with an 85-81 lead with only 17 seconds remaining. Georgetown allowed St. John’s junior guard Shamorie Ponds to get to the line and make a pair of free throws. Then, with 12 seconds remaining, the Hoyas turned the ball over off the St. John’s press, leading to Red Storm free throws, which tied the game at 85 and sent it into overtime.
In overtime, St. John’s dominated early, gaining a 94-86 lead. Govan responded with a four-point play from the corner to cut the deficit to 94-90. While shooting only 1-of-9 in overtime, Georgetown found itself down 97-94 with a chance to tie in the final seconds. After a running 3-point heave, Blair’s attempt rimmed out.
LeBlanc had 12 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes of play, while sophomore forward Jamorko Pickett added 13 points and six rebounds.
After the heartbreaking loss, the Hoyas went on the road to face Xavier (10-7, 2-2 Big East) in Cincinnati.
Georgetown again jumped out to a lead in the first half, going up 28-15, with Govan scoring 10 of his 12 first-half points in the first 10 minutes. Malinowski also tallied 10 first-half points and assisted on LeBlanc’s dunk, which put the Hoyas up 39-22 with 3:49 left in the half.
At this point, the game turned in the favor of the Musketeers. Xavier went on a 28-8 run extending into the second half to take a 50-47 lead with just under 14 minutes to play.
Akinjo put the Hoyas back in front with a three-pointer and pair of free throws. But, with just over 11 minutes remaining, Georgetown gave up a Xavier three-pointer, giving the Musketeers a lead it did not surrender for the remainder of the game.
By the end, the Musketeers won the contest at home 81-75. Xavier dominated Georgetown in the post, outscoring the Hoyas 48-28 in points in the paint.
The Hoyas will look to improve to 2-2 in conference play as they head home to take on the Providence Friars (10-5, 0-2 Big East) this Saturday at noon. TV coverage will be on Fox Sports 1, and the game will also be aired locally on The Team 980 FM.