Freshman point guard James Akinjo hit a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation and the Georgetown men’s basketball team (4-1, Big East) did just enough in overtime to escape the South Florida Bulls (3-1, AAC), 76-73, in their final game of the Jamaica Classic on Sunday afternoon. Senior center Jessie Govan led all scorers with 27 points, including 23 after halftime, while freshman forward Josh LeBlanc contributed 9 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoyas, who overcame an 11-point second half deficit in the victory.
After Friday night’s loss against Loyola Marymount (5-0, WCC) in their first game in Jamaica, Georgetown looked understandably motivated not to leave head coach Patrick Ewing’s home country without a win, and used an 11-0 run to open up a 19-9 lead midway through the first half. That start would fizzle quickly, however, as the Hoyas committed five turnovers in short succession while going cold from the field as their lead dwindled to two by halftime.
The beginning of the second half looked eerily similar to the LMU game, with the Hoyas seeing their lead flip on them as the team seemed to lack any offensive game plan, while the Bulls continued to capitalize on giveaways. Down 53-42 with their backs against the wall, it was the seasoned Govan who stepped up for the Blue & Gray, as the preseason First Team All-Big East selection hit a pair of triples and twice scored back-to-back buckets down low to help the Hoyas claw back.
Still down four at the under-four media timeout, Akinjo rewarded Ewing’s faith in him in crunch time yet again. First assisting LeBlanc on the basket that pulled the Hoyas within one and then hitting a jumper himself, the Oakland native gave the Hoyas a 60-59 lead with 55.8 seconds remaining. USF sophomore guard David Collins was fouled while making a layup to retake the lead, and his ensuing free throw was rebounded by the Bulls, with Collins again getting to the line with 13 seconds left. This time he hit both and the deficit stood at three when Akinjo, calm as ever, created space with a body shake before hitting from distance to force the extra period.
Spurred on by the momentum swing at the end of regulation, the Hoyas took control early in overtime, going to Govan down low twice and getting another two points on a LeBlanc put-back slam. Akinjo managed another basket with 30 seconds remaining for his closing act and the Hoyas hit just enough free throws to steal the game, 76-73.
After the Thanksgiving break, the Hoyas return to action at home against the Campbell Fighting Camels (3-2, Big South) on Saturday, November 24, and won’t travel again until their tilt with Syracuse (2-2, ACC) on December 8. Tip-off is set for noon at Capital One Arena. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all winter sports at Georgetown.