The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (2-0, Big East) beat Central Arkansas (1-2, SLC) 89-78 at Capital One Arena on Saturday, November 9. Georgetown shook off Wednesday’s rocky season opener against Mount St. Mary’s, particularly their abysmal first half, and possessed the lead against Central Arkansas for the whole game.
“We realized that starting off the jump is really important and it’s going to matter a lot when we take on tougher opponents,” senior center Omer Yurtseven noted.
Yurtseven was Georgetown’s top performer, pouring in 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Senior guard Jagan Mosely and junior forward Jamorko Pickett also played well, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite returning from a one-game suspension in the season opener, sophomore forward Josh LeBlanc did not appear on the starting line-up for Saturday’s game. Instead, the line-up remained the same as Wednesday, with sophomore guards James Akinjo and Mac McClung, senior guard Jagan Mosely, junior forward Jamorko Pickett, and Yurtseven taking the floor.
After five missed field goal attempts, Yurtseven opened the game with a pair of free throws. UCA answered with one of their own, scored by junior guard Rylan Bergersen. From that point on, the pace was fast, with Yurtseven scoring the Hoyas six more early points, forcing Central Arkansas to take a time-out. The Hoyas’ defense also started out fairly strong, with a block by junior forward Jamorko Pickett and a steal. In the first four minutes, the Hoyas out-rebounded Central Arkansas 12-2
LeBlanc subbed in for Mosely, pushing Pickett into the 3 for the minutes they shared. Despite a strong offensive effort by Yurtseven, the Hoyas were rushing and turned the ball over seven times in the first ten minutes, allowing Central Arkansas to keep it close.
Yurtseven dominated with 12 points and nine rebounds before being replaced by freshman center Qudus Wahab in the 11th minute. Mosely and Pickett added a pair of threes respectively and shot 3-3 and 4-4 in the first half. Unfortunately, the Hoyas also committed ten turnovers and eight Arkansas threes, keeping the score closer than it should have been based on the quality of our first half offense.
Once back in the game, Yurtseven added another rebound to notch a first half double-double. Freshman forward Myron Gardner entered the game late in the half and added four points. Mosely took the ball to the hole with a powerful drive that put him in double-digit scoring. The Hoyas ended the half with a 12 point lead over Central Arkansas, 54-42.
McClung opened up the second half with a jumper after a quiet first half in which he only scored two free throws. The second half picked up where the first ended, with the Hoyas maintaining a decent lead, and McClung starting to pick up some points. Five minutes in, Pickett had an explosive breakaway dunk to make him the third Hoya to score in double-digits. Two minutes later, LeBlanc added a dunk of his own. Moments after being subbed in, junior small forward Galen Alexander scored his second 3-pointer of the afternoon. The Hoyas struggled, however, to open the lead to more than twelve points.
After going 0-3 in the first half, junior guard Jahvon Blair scored a nice mid-range jumper, but Central Arkansas answered with one of their own. Alexander brought energy to the court and Georgetown began to pick up some momentum, forcing Central Arkansas to shoot 0-8. Blair sunk his first three of the night and extended the lead to fifteen in the final minutes of the game. Georgetown demonstrated their depth by raking in 38 points off the bench, proving to be able to score despite regular offensive powers McClung and Akinjo shooting 1-10 and 2-8 respectively. Central Arkansas was able to marginally reduce the lead but Georgetown eventually pulled through with an 89-78 win, making them 2-0 on the season. Despite the win, Ewing emphasized the improvements the team still needs.
“We still have a long way to go from now to where we want to be at the end of the year,” Ewing said.
Georgetown will have some time off until their next game on Thursday November 14 when they face off against Penn State (1-0, Big Ten) in this year’s installment of the Gavitt Tip-off Games. Tipoff at Capital One Arena is set for 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 with radio coverage on The Team 980. For continued coverage of the men’s basketball team, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice