We’ve had three terrible practices, Ewing said. And today they came out and competed against each other. I don’t know if I can say ass, but they had an ass fight.
Yet the maturation of the Ewings Hoyas continued in an impressive and surprising fashion on Saturday. The Hoyas beat the Pirates, 81-75, knocking out the third-place team from the conference and a team that is part of the NCAA tournament bubble.
The Hoyas (7-10, 5-7) have won four of their last six games by far in their best streak of the season. They’ll try to keep it going when Connecticut surrenders Tuesday night.
Senior Jamorko Pickett scored a season-high 20 points for Georgetown in an 8 for 11 shot; Hoyas’ main rebounder also caught seven boards. Chudier Bile added 16 points, and first-year point guard Dante Harris arguably had his best overall game with 14 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Qudus Wahab finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Donald Carey scored 11 points off the bench as the Hoyas put five double-digit goalscorers for the second straight game.
Hoyas Jahvon Blair, who came in as the No.4 goalscorer in the Big East at 17 per game, scored just three runs on a 1-for-6 shot, but that didn’t matter (and he distributed five assists).
I didn’t really hunt gunshots. I just let the ball come to me, said Pickett. The offensive opportunities presented themselves and I took advantage of them. [Blair] is in the top five in the Big East standings. The teams have certainly taken note of this. The defensive plan is really all about stopping it. … So he’s the next man. If he can’t do it, then it’s mine.
Sandro Mamukelashvili led Seton Hall (13-9, 10-6) with 22 points, and Shavar Reynolds Jr. had 13.
Georgetown took a 38-35 lead at halftime, which was actually a disappointment. The Hoyas had started strong and efficient on the offense, using a 12-1 run to take a 28-16 lead. Everyone contributed: Pickett had three quick baskets and Harris came to the edge for a layup on a dribble practice. Carey had good feed for a layup from Bile before calling with a jump back from the baseline.
We let them get too good a start for basketball, said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. Then we had a few breakdowns in the second half and they hit some really tough shots.
Everything seemed to be going in the Hoyas’ direction before Seton Hall decided to get more aggressive in defense, which reversed the momentum. Georgetown started to turn the ball around and the Pirates had three straight predictions to reduce their deficit to 28-22. Mamukelashvili had three consecutive points which left Seton Hall behind by three at halftime.
We were confident, said Harris. We have remained balanced. I tried to bring my guys together, tell them to keep fighting, don’t worry.
The Pirates opened the second half with a 7-0 run that gave them their first lead since the opening minutes. Ewing called a timeout after an Ike Obiagu dunk, a Mamukelashvili three-point and a Myles Cale layup.
Mamukelashvili, the Big Easts’ second-leading scorer, found life in those three points of the first half after being fairly calm at the start. His shot in the paint put Seton Hall 45-40 for his biggest lead, but the Hoyas didn’t turn around.
The teams went back and forth and the score was tied at 67 before Carey converted a four-point play, Wahab conceded a hook shot and Harris completed a dribble layup in an 8-2 run. which gave the Hoyas a 75 69 lead with 2:32 to go. The Pirates didn’t get more than four points from there.
Keep our cool, Ewing told his players during the timeout early in the second half. Basketball is a racing sport. We did our race first; they did their race. The team that races at the end is usually the team that wins. We were able to keep our cool and race at the end.
I still think our biggest victory is yet to come. We beat a really good Seton Hall team who kicked us the first time we played them [in a 78-67 road loss Dec. 23]. … If we take care of our business and enter the Big East tournament on a high note, then anything is possible.
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