On the road Jan. 22, the Georgetown men’s basketball team’s efforts to get its season back on track fell short against Xavier 66-57. Despite the Hoyas jumping out to a small lead in the first two minutes of play, they conceded their advantage and continued to chase the Musketeers for the remainder of regulation.
The loss demotes the Hoyas (12-8, 2-5 Big East) to 2-5 in Big East play and pushes the Blue and Gray into eighth place in the conference, while Xavier (13-6, 2-4 Big East) picks up its second Big East win to move into seventh place.
Sophomore guard Mac McClung continued his scoring streak in double figures, leading all players with 19 points on the day. McClung has now scored at least 19 in his last three games. Though he came up empty from behind the arc in his four three-point attempts, McClung went a perfect seven-for-seven from the free-throw line to keep the Hoyas in the contest.
Freshman center Qudus Wahab was second on the team in scoring. He played a complete game, scoring nine points and pulling in eight rebounds in just 19 minutes of action. Graduate student guard Terrell Allen finished the game with eight points and three assists.
Xavier opened the game on a commanding 15-4 run, eventually racking up an 18-point lead with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. Two hit free throws from McClung and a three-pointer from Mosely cut the deficit to 10 as the clock approached the three-minute mark.
An and-one by McClung further cut the Musketeers’ advantage, pulling the Hoyas within single digits of the lead. A Xavier three-pointer to end the half, however, sent Georgetown to the locker room down 35-23. The Blue and Gray left the court shooting 28.6% from the floor, dominated by Xavier’s 42.9% field goal shooting in the first half.
Georgetown began the second half with offensive intensity following an opening 8-4 run that brought the Hoyas within eight points of the Musketeers. After trading baskets with Georgetown for much of the second half, Xavier maintained a double-digit advantage and pulled together a 12-point lead as the clock approached the 10-minute mark.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Wahab carried Georgetown to within single digits of Xavier by scoring seven straight points. As Xavier began to again extend its lead late into the half, McClung came away with two critical steals to lead the Hoyas to eight unanswered points to bring the score to 62-54 with 2:48 remaining. Successful free throw shooting by Xavier, however, proved to be the difference in the game and enabled the Musketeers to finish out the day with a nine-point win.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) explained the Hoyas were not able to execute their game plan properly against the bigger, less-athletic Xavier team.
“When you give up 16 offensive rebounds — they got 20 points off of that — so it’s obvious that their size, they used it to their advantage, and we didn’t use our quickness to ours,” Ewing said in an interview with GUHoyas.
Ewing’s frustration lies in the Hoyas’ performance off the board, as the team was outrebounded 48-38 by Xavier and outscored 20-6 in second-chance points.
Another takeaway from the game was the performance of senior center Omer Yurtseven, who currently leads the Hoyas with 328 total points and 191 rebounds on the season. In the game against Xavier, Yurtseven got into foul trouble and ended the game with four personal fouls. In his 21 minutes of play, he scored six points on 3-of-9 shooting and pulled in two rebounds.
On the day, senior guard Jagan Mosely added four assists and a career-high seven boards, while junior forward Jamorko Pickett used his massive wingspan to reel in 10 rebounds of his own. Mosely’s assists against the Musketeers put him at a total of 304 for his career — 19th in program history and just three behind Georgetown legend Allen Iverson.
The Hoyas’ loss to the Musketeers points to Georgetown’s continued struggles in the Big East conference. Despite double-digit contributions from McClung in the last three games, the Blue and Gray has continued to falter late in conference games, conceding single-digit losses to both Marquette and Xavier in the last week.
The Hoyas return to play at Capital One Arena against No. 13 Butler, who currently sits at sixth in the conference after opening the season with 15 wins and just one loss before recently dropping three consecutive games. Tipoff is set for Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 9 p.m.