College Hoyas

Georgetown approaches Big East Tournament as a new season

After a disappointing regular season, Georgetown turns to the Big East tournament as its only way to turn things around.

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The Georgetown men’s basketball team didn’t have the most promising regular season. The Hoyas went 15-16 (5-13 in the Big East) and closed it out on a dreadful seven losing streak that was capped with a heartbreaking defeat to Villanova on Saturday.

In Patrick Ewing’s third year as the head coach on the Hilltop, the Hoyas were meant to take major leaps forward and become a squad capable of playing in the NCAA Tournament. But, Georgetown was riddled with injuries and early off court drama and now look towards the Big East Tournament as its only way to make a tournament appearance.

Georgetown managed to reel off impressive victories over Butler, Creighton and Texas. At the same time, the Hoyas came up short in games against Marquette at home, UNC Greensboro, Seton Hall and Xavier.

The Hoyas 70-69 loss to the Wildcats added to the frustration. Georgetown started off slow, as the team was missing easy shot attempts, which resulted in Villanova jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Georgetown was able to use tough defense and timely shooting in the second half to make a comeback, but a foul and goaltend during the final seconds doomed the Hoyas.

“We were right there to be able to win,” Ewing said after the Villanova game. “We just didn’t make shots. We dug ourselves a huge hole. We cut it down to nine at halftime and in the second half, we got the lead by five. We had our opportunities to win.”

Georgetown’s focus has now been shifted on the Big East Tournament and its first round matchup against St. John’s. The Hoyas defeated St. John’s twice this season. Georgetown defeated St. John’s by 11 points in the first meeting where sophomore guard Mac McClung scored 24 points. The Hoyas escaped out of New York with a one-point victory in the second matchup.

The glaring difference between those two games and the upcoming matchup in Madison Square Garden is the lack of star power on Georgetown’s end. McClung and senior center Omer Yurtseven’s status for Wednesday is uncertain, according to Ewing. McClung has missed the last five games with a foot injury while Yurtseven has dealt with ankle problems. Both players are Georgetown’s top two scorers. Yurtseven is ranked third in the Big East in rebounding (10.0).

McClung’s injury and the departure of James Akinjo forced senior guard Jagan Mosely and graduate transfer Terrell Allen to logged in a handful of minutes. Mosely, who tallied 13 points and eight rebounds against Villanova, has recorded the fourth most minutes (34.7) in the conference.

“[Jagan] is very important to us,” Ewing said. “The fact that it’s hard for us to take him off the floor and the fact that he and Terrell have played the best perimeter players on every team.”

Allen is a journeyman in college basketball, having played for Drexel and the University of Central Florida before coming to the Hilltop. Allen has made the most of his short time in Georgetown, averaging a career best 8.9 points per game.

“[Allen] has been playing great for us all year,” Ewing said. “Ever since he was inserted into the starting lineup, he’s been playing magnificently.”

Mosely and Allen are a part of a six-player rotation that has generated the majority of Georgetown’s points lately. Yet, despite the struggles the Hoyas had endured during the regular season, they still pose a tough matchup with their size and toughness.

“When you have a team like that [and] they’re dialed in, they would give us trouble,” Villanova Coach Jay Wright said. “They know their personnel and they beat us every time on the ball screens.”

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