The Georgetown men’s basketball team (3-0, Big East) relied on a balanced scoring effort in its 83-57 victory over University of Maryland Eastern Shore (1-2, Mid-Eastern) on Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena. The Hoyas were led by junior center Jessie Govan who contributed 23 points and 14 rebounds. They also received a huge offensive spark in junior guard/forward Kaleb Johnson who chipped in 24 points and four assists. The Hawks, on the other hand, were led by sophomore guard Ahmad Frost’s 14 points which included two made 3-pointers.
“It’s very early,” Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing said when asked to assess the team’s first three games. “Just trying to get the best out of them.”
The Hoyas came out of the gates firing, starting the game on a 10-0 run that began with a layup from Johnson. The duo of Johnson and Govan helped Georgetown secure a 24-6 lead over Eastern Shore. After subbing back into the game, Johnson continued his hot shooting, finishing the half with 19 points and besting his previous career high of 16 points.
“This was one of [Johnson’s] best games,” Ewing said. “He played with a lot of confidence.”
Johnson knocked down four 3-pointers, providing the spacing necessary to cause the Hawks’ defense to think twice about helping off of him to contain Govan in the paint.
“I’ve been working on my three all summer,” Johnson said. “Coach has been encouraging me to shoot the ball all season.”
Freshman guard Jahvon Blair and junior forward Marcus Derrickson played a pivotal role in the Hoyas’ victory. Blair, who contributed 12 points and four assists, hit a timely 3-pointer and sank a pair of free throws five minutes into the second half to stop a 10-2 run from Eastern Shore. Derrickson scored 14 points, most of which came in the second half, and grabbed 10 rebounds to fuel Georgetown’s dominance on the glass.
Behind senior guard Jonathan Mulmore’s poised playmaking, the Hoyas were able to get past Eastern Shore’s trapping defense. Mulmore, who registered five assists, was a microcosm of the team’s play as a whole. Rather than force tough shots, the Blue and Gray moved the ball well, evidenced by the team’s 24 assists.
“We knew that was something they did,” Ewing said of the full court press. “Our guys did a good job moving it around and getting easy shots.”
The Hawks relied on freshman guard Cameron Bacote to set up the offense. Bacote had seven assists, though he struggled to shoot the ball, going just 1-6 from the field. Frost led the charge in the second half, scoring 12 of his 14 points in that period. Eastern Shore utilized Frost’s scoring and a renewed defensive intensity to spark a run to start the second half.
“We can’t come out [of the half] lackadaisical and be lazy,” Ewing said. “They picked up their pace.”
The Hoyas were able to counter the run behind Govan, who scored seven quick points in five minutes. The team pushing the ball up the floor and taking advantage of fast break opportunities allowed Govan to receive easy layups throughout the second half.
“I’m comfortable in it and these guys are looking for me,” Govan said of the faster pace the Hoyas have emphasized this season.
One of Georgetown’s significant improvements was greater care of the ball. The team finished with 13 turnovers, a season low.
“We came out aggressive,” Ewing said. “We didn’t turn the ball over like we did in the first two games or the scrimmages.”
Georgetown outrebounded Eastern Shore 48-26 and shot 51.7 percent from the field, including 47.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
The Hoyas look to remain undefeated as they take on the University of Richmond (0-2, Atlantic 10) in their first away game of the season next Saturday. Follow @GUVoiceSports for game day updates and breaking news.