Sigh of relief: Men’s basketball earns first Big East win at DePaul

January 3, 2018

The Georgetown men’s basketball team (11-3, 1-2 Big East) got its first win of conference play over DePaul (7-8, 0-3 Big East) on Tuesday by a score of 90-81. Junior center Jessie Govan led the way for the Hoyas, amassing his 10th double-double of the season with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. Junior forward Marcus Derrickson added 24 points and seven rebounds for the Hoyas. The Blue Demons were led by junior guard Max Strus, who scored 19 points and added 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

After the Blue Demons stormed out to a 7-2 lead, Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing called a timeout, and the Hoyas quickly went on a 7-0 run. Georgetown then took that momentum and continued to grow its lead, to 11 points midway through the first half. As the under four minute media timeout approached, DePaul crept back into the game, cutting the Hoyas lead down to as little as two. However, six points from Govan and four from Derrickson in the final four minutes extended the lead back out to 11 by halftime..

The second half began the same way, as the Blue Demons cut into the Hoyas lead, bringing the game within four points. The Hoyas then built their lead back to as much as 10. The Blue Demons, however, would not go away quietly. With 9:44 to go in the game, a emphatic dunk from graduate student center Marin Maric brought the Blue Demons within one and the crowd at the Wintrust Arena to its feet. DePaul had a chance to take the lead on the ensuing possession but was unable to convert. Derrickson drew a foul on the other end and made both free throws, and the Hoyas quickly regathered their lead.

In the final ten minutes, both teams exchanged baskets, as the Georgetown lead fluctuated from seven to nine again and again for three minutes. Derrickson was fouled while shooting a three, after re-entering the game with a bloody nose, and hit all three free throws to bring the Hoyas lead to 10 with four minutes remaining.

With two minutes left on the clock, the Blue Demons began to foul after failing to force the Hoyas into turnovers. Govan hit four straight free throws to ice the game for the Hoyas, as DePaul was unable to get any threes to fall in the final minute. “Hoya Saxa” cheers broke out among the Georgetown fans at the brand new Wintrust Arena, celebrating the Hoyas first Big East win as the clock ran out.

The Hoyas utilized their size and skill in the front court, as Govan and Derrickson continued to shine for the Hoyas. Govan is now averaging 18.9 points and 12.1 rebound for the Hoyas, while Derrickson is adding 15.3 points and 7.4 boards. The 6-foot-10 Govan was able to match up well against the 6-foot-11 Maric, out rebounding him 12-7, and outscoring him 25-18.

Both he [Derrickson] and Jessie [Govan], if we’re gonna be good, they have to be the horses to pull the cart,” Ewing said of the front court duo.

Senior forward Tre’Darius McCallum and Maric both added 18 points to Strus’ 19, while freshman guard Jahvon Blair scored 15 points for the Hoyas. The Blue Demons shot 46.8 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. The Hoyas shot 45.5 percent from the field, and 37.5 percent from three. They committed 14 turnovers to the Blue Demon’s 17, but were outrebounded 35-33.

Both teams entered the game winless in Big East Play and were itching to get into the win column. Georgetown suffered an overtime loss to Butler (12-4, 2-1 Big East) after losing an 18-point halftime lead, and lost to Marquette (10-4, 1-1 Big East) by seven after committing 25 turnovers. DePaul lost its first two contests to then-No. 1 Villanova (13-1, 1-1 Big East) and then-No. 6 Xavier (15-1, 3-0 Big East). Those teams now No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in the latest AP poll. The Blue Demons, like the Hoyas, relinquished an eight-point halftime lead to the Musketeers after a heavy defeat to the Wildcats, to leave them winless in the Big East.

“It was great, we had our ups and our downs, but we came away with a win,” Ewing said of Georgetown’s first Big East win. “Great way to start the New year.

Georgetown returns to the Capital One Arena on Saturday to take on Creighton (11-3, 1-1 Big East). Tip-off is set for 12:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on Fox. Follow @GUVoiceSports for game day updates and breaking news.

Beth Cunniff
Beth graduated from the College in 2019. She was Voice's alumni outreach manager, and the former sports editor. She accepts her role as a privileged Boston sports fan, but there’s really nothing she can do about it.

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