The Georgetown men’s basketball team took on the UConn Huskies in McDonough Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The contest proved to be a defensive battle in which the Hoyas suffered a tough 70-57 defeat after leading at halftime.
This loss snaps the team’s two-game winning streak and sends Georgetown (7-11, 5-8 Big East) to eighth in the Big East standings. Meanwhile, the Huskies (11-6, 8-6 Big East) avoided a loss that may have weakened their case as a team on the cusp of March Madness play.
Leading the way for the Hoyas was sophomore center Qudus Wahab, who finished with a career-high 18 points on 5-6 shooting. Wahab also notched his sixth double-double of the season by snagging a game-high 10 rebounds.
Senior forward Jamorko Pickett and first-year guard Dante Harris recorded 10 points and three assists each for the Hoyas. Pickett shot 3-12 from the field and went 0-5 from three-point range. Pickett’s inefficient performance is a surprising follow-up to his 20-point performance against Seton Hall on Saturday.
Turnover problems have plagued Georgetown this year and continued to do so in the loss to the Huskies. Although the Hoyas were able to generate 14 UConn turnovers, they committed 15 of their own.
On the defensive end of the floor, the Huskies were too much to handle for the Hoyas. UConn guards James Bouknight and RJ Cole scored 20 and 17 points respectively, most of which came in the second half.
The Hoyas fell behind early, as UConn opened the game on a 10-0 run, but responded quickly. An opening jump shot by Pickett sparked a 10-4 Georgetown run capped off by a deep three-pointer from graduate forward Chudier Bile.
A 9-0 Hoya run late in the first half sent the home team to a 23-22 lead — its first of the game. The two teams traded defensive stops and a few buckets, and Georgetown headed to the locker room up 26-25.
The game remained tight through the first five minutes of the second half, with a close lead shifting between the teams. The battle was tied at 44 with 10:54 remaining, but a 21-7 UConn onslaught put the Hoyas away late.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) talked about his team’s struggles to close out the game.
“In the second half is where we took our foot off the gas pedal,” Ewing said in a postgame press conference. “Everything we were doing great defensively in the first half, we weren’t [doing] in the second half.”
The good news for the Hoyas is they get a chance to avenge this loss on the road in a second matchup against UConn on March 6.
Georgetown’s next game is set for Saturday at 12 p.m. EST in Chicago. The team will look to right the ship before heading into the closing weeks of the regular season as they take on last-place DePaul (4-11, 2-11 Big East).