The Georgetown men’s basketball team (5-4, Big East) defeated the Elon Phoenix 77-74 Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Center. Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor led the way with 23 points and junior guard L.J. Peak added 22 for Georgetown, which trailed the entire first half before tying the game at 36 on a Peak layup. Junior forward Brian Dawkins scored 17 points to lead the Phoenix, who held their own on the interior despite giving up a significant height advantage to the Hoyas.
This win puts the Hoyas above .500 for the first time since the USC Upstate victory, and is the first three game win streak for the program since December of last year. The Phoenix narrowly missed out on their first win over a power-5 team since a 2013 victory over South Carolina.
It did not appear early on that Elon was afraid of the moment. The Phoenix jumped out to a 27-17 lead thanks to some hot shooting from sophomore guard Dainan Swoope and senior guard Luke Eddy. The Hoyas struggled defending against Elon’s spacing and tried experimenting with different defensive looks.
“In spite of how much we went over it in practice, it took time for us to get used to their offense,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III. “They put five guys on the court who can really shoot. It’s like a cat and mouse game,” added Thompson.
Indeed, the Hoyas struggled to contain the Elon ball-handlers in the first half, allowing some penetration into the lane and easy kick-outs for open threes. Additionally, the Phoenix were able to score against the Georgetown zone and grab offensive rebounds off of misses. For the game, Elon outrebounded the bigger Georgetown team 36-32.
Toward the end of the second half, the Hoyas found their mojo on defense and forced several turnovers out of a run-and-jump look. After heading into halftime knotted at 36, the Hoyas took control in the first five minutes of the second half, surging ahead 52-41 on a Pryor dunk, prompting an Elon timeout. The Phoenix would not go away easily, however, scoring eight quick points to pull to within 52-49. Elon consistently cut down the Hoya lead to one or two points each time Georgetown made a run. The Hoyas had seemingly taken control after a three by junior guard Tre Campbell made it 76-68 with 2:58 remaining, but some familiar late-game adventures resurfaced for the Hoyas.
Georgetown missed two front ends of one-and-ones in the final minute to give Elon a shot to tie the game, down three, with under ten seconds remaining. Miscommunication by the Phoenix led to a rushed possession that ended without a shot taken, but Coach Thompson was nonetheless dissatisfied with the final few minutes from his team.
“We were supposed to be switching everything on defense the last three-four minutes,” said Thompson.
On the game, the Hoyas shot 54 percent from the field, 29 percent from three, and converted 17-24 free throws. The Phoenix shot 42 percent from the field, 39 percent from three, and made 5-7 free throws. Both teams committed 10 turnovers.
Georgetown returns to action next Saturday against LaSalle (4-2, A-10) in the Hoophall Miami Invitational. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm, and will be broadcast on FS1.