The Georgetown men’s basketball team (15-9, 5-6 Big East) fell behind Butler (14-10, 5-6 Big East) with 10:42 left in the first half and trailed the rest of the way to a 73-69 loss. Junior guard Kamar Baldwin led Butler with 18 points, including four free throws in the last minute to help close out the Bulldogs’ victory, which moves them into a tie for third in the Big East.
Freshman guard Mac McClung led the Hoyas with 21 points, despite shooting 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. McClung was not the only one struggling to hit threes, with the team only landing 27.3 percent of their attempts. Sophomore guard/forward Jamorko Pickett was 50 percent from three on his way to scoring 18, and senior center Jessie Govan rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points while leading the team with nine rebounds.
“We had a chance to win. As poorly as we started out the game, we still had an opportunity to win,” head coach Patrick Ewing said after the game. “Turnovers, missed layups, not getting stops when stops are needed, that hurts.”
Butler went on a nine-point run when they were down 17-14, with 12:09 left in the first half, to take a six-point lead. The Hoyas went into the half down, 41-35, with the team shooting 38.7 percent from the floor. McClung was already in double digits with 14 points, but freshman guard James Akinjo was scoreless and freshman forward Josh LeBlanc only had one point.
Ewing was disappointed to see his team come out flat in the first half and fall behind early. “At home in front of one of the largest crowds we’ve had in here, we’ve got to come up with that,” he said.
Butler took its largest lead of the game (11) off a Baldwin layup with 11 minutes left in the game. The Hoyas also found themselves in foul trouble early, with Butler getting in the bonus with 11:25 to play.
Still, the Hoyas showed some grit and fought their way back to a two-point gap, but they would not get any closer than that. With 4:25 left, Pickett hit a jumper for two to make the score 66-64, Butler, but less than a minute later, after an Akinjo defensive rebound to get the ball back, Pickett turned the ball over with a pass out of bounds. They came within two again with 20 seconds left, when Akinjo drained two free throws for his only two points of the game, but Baldwin sealed it at the line.
Despite not being able to close out the game, Ewing liked seeing his team play tough to get back in the game. “Our bench did an outstanding job of coming in there and fighting and scratching and clawing and getting us back into the game.” While they made some big stops, the bench only had nine points on the game, while Butler’s, led by redshirt senior guard Paul Jorgensen with 12 points, had 22.
Butler head coach LaVall Jordan said after the game that not only was he excited because he had gotten to meet Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, who were in attendance, but also because he was proud of how his team played.
“It might not have been the prettiest performance, but they just had to fight for each other and lean on each other and find a way to grit it out at the end,” Jordan said. “I’m just proud of this one. To come on the road this time and get this one is a big one for us.”
Pickett, who had his third double-digit scoring game in a row, said after the game that the Hoyas will just have to move on and keep working hard in the last stretch of the season.
“Right now we’re tied for third with Butler and St John’s, so going into these last seven games we just got to win as many as we can to pull away from the rest of the guys.”
For their next game, the Hoyas will travel to New Jersey to face Seton Hall (13-9, 4-6 Big East) Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. For coverage of the game and the rest of Georgetown sports follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.