The Georgetown men’s basketball team (10-5, 0-2 Big East) continued conference play on Friday night with a 78-62 loss at Seton Hall (10-4, 2-0 Big East). After suffering an eye injury mid-way through Georgetown’s December 28th win against American University, sophomore guard Mac McClung sat out of the Big East opener against the Providence Friars. As a huge offensive force (15.5 and 2.3 points and assists per game, respectively), McClung’s absence was felt in the Hoyas’ hard loss to Providence. While McClung was back in the starting lineup against the Pirates, the Hoyas still failed to secure the win.
McClung opened the game with a layup and Seton Hall responded with a bucket of their own. The first few minutes of the game were fast-paced, and back and forth, with both teams trading baskets. Graduate student guard Terrell Allen, senior guard Jagan Mosley, and junior forward Jamorko Pickett all also contributed to the early scoring. Eventually, however, Seton Hall’s Junior guard Myles Cale began to get hot from the three, securing three successive triples to build the Pirates’ lead to seven at the under-12 timeout.
Both teams then went several minutes without scoring. McClung broke the scoring drought with a fadeaway jumper, but overall Georgetown’s shooting was exceptionally poor. With forced shots, bad offensive luck, and poor shot selection, the Hoyas were shooting a measly 31.8 percent from the field and only 12.5 percent from three. Senior center Omer Yurtseven collected his second foul and Cale sunk another three to force Georgetown into a timeout with five minutes left in the half.
After the break, freshman center Timothy Ighoefe entered the game for a single minute to replace Yurtseven and freshman center Qudus Wahab who were each approaching foul trouble. Seton Hall then went on a 9-0 run, blowing the game wide open in a way the Hoyas could never truly recover from.
Yurtseven, the Hoyas’ leading scorer and rebounder on the season, was exceptionally dry in the first half, racking up only two points and collecting three fouls. The absence of his offensive presence and poor shooting by the rest of the Hoyas led to a 41-24 deficit at the end of the half. Despite having similar statistics as Seton Hall in terms of rebounds, blocks, steals, and turnovers, the name of the game was shooting percentage. In the first half, Seton Hall shot 43.3 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from three, and made 81.8 percent of free throws. Georgetown shot 32.3 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from three, and made only 33.3 percent of free throws in the first half. Seton Hall also moved the ball better, out-assisting the Hoyas 9-2. These statistics are what made the half and made the rest of the night for the Pirates.
Georgetown opened the second half at a fiery pace with a breakaway layup from Allen and a pair of steals by McClung. Despite this effort, the Pirates went on a 6-0 run, stifling the momentum. The Hoyas answered this with a 9-0 run of their own, making seven shots on seven possessions, shortening the lead to 61-50, and forcing Seton Hall to take a time out.
The time out seemingly worked to squash Georgetown’s energy. Some sharp shooting by the Pirates and Yurtseven continuing to miss shots led to a 10-0 run that forced Georgetown into a time out with just under six minutes left of regulation.
With just under four minutes left in the game, McClung and Seton Hall’s senior guard Quincy McKnight (McClung’s defensive mark for the night) exchanged angry words under the basket after a block by McClung. The situation escalated when Seton Hall’s Senior center Romaro Gill shoved McClung, which he immediately retaliated against. Pickett and junior guard Jahvon Blair pulled McClung away, while Mosley acted as a one-man barrier between McClung and the Seton Hall bench (and a couple of referees). While the ball play tonight from the Hoyas was not praise-worthy, it was encouraging to see the team stand as a unit behind McClung.
McClung finished the game as the Hoyas leading scorer with 20 points. Pickett added 10 points and nine rebounds. While Allen scored 9 points, he had 0 assists which is one of his greatest attributes to the team. Over all, the Hoyas finished the game with 9 assists to the Pirates’ 18. The loss to Providence and this loss to Seton Hall underscore the need for better ball movement and better shot selection as the Hoyas move on in conference play to face even tougher opponents.
The Hoyas will continue Big East play on Wednesday, when they return to Capital One Arena to host St. John’s (11-3, 0-1 Big East). Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on Fox Sports 1. For continued coverage of men’s basketball and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.