In a season marked by the transfers of four players and the recent injuries to two key starters, the Georgetown men’s basketball team’s struggles only worsened as it fell 74-68 to the Big East’s last-place team DePaul University on Feb. 22.
With the loss, Georgetown falls to 15-12 with a 5-9 Big East play while DePaul improves to 14-13 with a 2-12 conference record. Though some analysts predicted Georgetown to potentially be the second-to-last team to make the tournament this postseason, the loss severely diminishes the Blue and Gray’s chances of achieving its first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
DePaul stormed out of the gates with 12 points off six sunk baskets to lead the Hoyas 12-7 just over five minutes into play. Freshman center Qudus Wahab responded to the Blue Demons’ offensive showing with a powerful slam that began an 8-0 run for the Hoyas.
With two free throws from senior center Omer Yurtseven, who sat out the last two games because of an ankle injury, closing out the run, the Hoyas grabbed their first advantage of the game at 15-12 with 10:39 left in the first half.
Five unanswered points by DePaul in the ensuing minutes, however, halted the Hoyas’ offensive momentum and re-established the Blue Demons’ lead at 20-15 in the last seven minutes of the opening half.
Down the stretch, two sunk jumpers from graduate student guard Terrell Allen and junior forward Jamorko Pickett, along with the Blue and Gray’s 4-for-4 shooting from the line completed another 8-0 run that made the game 23-20 in favor of the Hoyas.
With under four minutes to play in the first half, DePaul scored three three-pointers in under a minute to increase their lead to 33-28.
Pickett redeemed the Hoyas with a jumper in the last two seconds of the first half to tie the game at 36 in an opening half characterized by back-and-forth runs.
The Blue and Gray continued to battle with the Blue Demons early in the second half, keeping within two possessions and grabbing a one-point lead twice through the first 10 minutes of play.
Behind three straight baskets from the field, DePaul increased its point cushion to six to earn its largest lead of the game thus far.
Georgetown, however, responded with an 8-2 run to even the score at 55.
With eight minutes to play in a tied game, Georgetown’s fatigue began to show as the team struggled to make a basket in the final minutes, missing eight shots from the field and committing two turnovers in the remainder of play. DePaul took advantage of the Hoyas’ offensive struggles and went on a 9-2 run to make the game 64-57.
In the final minute of play, Allen converted three free throws and a fastbreak layup in the paint, but his efforts were not enough to close the gap. DePaul notched eight of its 10 free throw attempts in the last minute to secure the win at 74-68.
The loss marks Georgetown’s second in a row, maintaining its eighth place ranking in the Big East. After the game, Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) reflected on the differences between this road loss to DePaul and the team’s 76-72 defeat of the Blue Demons at home Feb. 8.
“I think they were more ready for us. They were ready for us then, but they were more ready for us today,” Ewing said in an interview with GU Hoyas.
On the day, Allen led the Hoyas with his second 20-point performance of the season and shot a perfect three-for-three from the three-point line. Pickett and senior guard Jagan Mosely also joined Allen with double figures with game totals of 19 and 13 points. Junior guard Jahvon Blair’s 1-for-7 performance from the three-point line bumped him up to 14th place on Georgetown’s three-point career list with 130 three-pointers.
Sophomore guard Mac McClung was absent from the floor for a fifth game because of a foot injury, having missed four consecutive games and only playing eight minutes in the Hoyas’ previous Feb. 19 matchup against Providence.
The Blue and Gray struggled from the floor, shooting 36.8% compared to DePaul’s 45% on the day. Georgetown outrebounded DePaul 39-37, but committed a costly 14 turnovers, which resulted in 13 Blue Demon points.