Maine squeezed: Hoyas clamp down on Black Bears

November 28, 2017

On Tuesday night at Capital One Arena, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (5-0, Big East) was able to scrape out a 76-55 victory over a scrappy Maine team (1-6, American East). Junior center Jessie Govan and junior guard/forward Kaleb Johnson led the Hoyas with 16 points and 8 rebounds and 18 points, respectively. Junior guard Aaron Calixte led Maine with 17 points and 5 rebounds.

The victory extended Georgetown’s winning streak to open the season to five games, and head coach Patrick Ewing is still undefeated. As has been the theme this season, the Hoyas won with significant contributions from several players. Senior guard Jonathan Mulmore had 10 points, freshman guard Jahvon Blair 11, and junior forward Marcus Derrickson 12.

“I think it’s a great thing,” Johnson said. “It shows our unselfishness as a team, and it’s definitely good to be able to spread the wealth around.”

With that being said, this certainly was not Georgetown’s best performance on the year. The Hoyas were at times sloppy with the ball and didn’t seem to have the energy that they did in the first few games.

“I was disappointed in our effort tonight. We took a step backwards,” Ewing said. “We just didn’t do all the things that we are doing well.”

Maine’s offense was run through the aforementioned Calixte. Senior guard Ilker Er also added 13, but the rest of the Black Bears couldn’t get their shots to fall. Besides Calixte and Er, the rest of the team shot 11-39, good for 28.2 percent. No other player scored more than 8 points. Georgetown’s defense was strong all game long, forcing 18 Maine turnovers, blocking four shots, and recording 8 steals. The Hoyas jumped out to a 20-8 lead early in the game, but the Black Bears were able to keep it close due to some sloppy play from Georgetown. Maine employed a full-court press for most of the game, and Mulmore and freshman guard Jamorko Pickett were careless bringing the ball up the court. This led to errant passes and several turnovers by the Hoyas. Pickett led both teams with five turnovers.

“I think we could’ve handled it a little better,” Johnson said of Maine’s defensive pressure. “That’s something we’ll work on in the future.”

Maine, however, ran into foul trouble as they put Georgetown into the bonus just midway through the first half. This allowed the Hoyas to attempt 14 free throws while making 11 in the first half. Overall, Georgetown shot 22 for 29 from the line, whereas Maine made 7 of just 10 attempts.

Maine started the second half hot, outscoring Georgetown 16-12 through the first eight minutes, but Johnson sparked a rally for the Hoyas. With about ten minutes to play, he made a layup with a foul, and converted the 3-point play. Georgetown didn’t look back after that, restoring its big lead and outscoring Maine 24-15 for the rest of the half. Freshman guard Jahvon Blair added two three-pointers in less than a minute and had 9 of his 11 points in the second half.

Despite winning by a 21-point margin, the young Hoyas have a lot to work on after this game. Reducing turnovers and working on shot execution should be a focus for the week of practice ahead.

“We didn’t come out with our best punch today,” Govan said. “We were a little lackadaisical today, but we’re going to try to come out much stronger next game.”

Georgetown will attempt to stay undefeated on Sunday against Coppin State (0-6, MEAC). The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. and can be streamed on Fox Sports Network. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for breaking news and game day updates.

Tristan Lee
Tristan is the Voice's sports executive and a senior in Georgetown College. He mostly covers Georgetown's football, basketball, and baseball teams.

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