On Saturday afternoon, the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (4-8, 2-5 Big East) triumphed in dramatic fashion over the Providence Friars (9-8, 5-6 Big East) 73-72 at McDonough Arena in Washington D.C. After four consecutive games postponed and a three week hiatus, the Hoyas returned to action against an original Big East foe. Graduate forward Chudier Bile led the team with 19 points, while senior forward Jamorko Pickett and graduate guard Donald Carey added 12 and 10 respectively. Sophomore center Qudus Wahab also contributed 9 points on his birthday as the team shot 41% from the field. For the Friars, junior guard AJ Reeves put the team on his back with 28 points, complemented by senior center Nate Watson and freshman guard Alyn Breed with 12 and 10 each. As a team, the Friars shot 42% from the field.
Sophomore Timothy Ighoefe curiously got the start over Wahab as the Friars got off to a rapid 10-0 run to start the game. The Hoyas missed their first five field goals, but Wahab would soon check in and get on the board first. Georgetown’s defense was picked apart early, but they successfully cut down on the costly turnovers that have plagued them throughout the season, ultimately ending the half with four.
“We’ve been in these close games all year,” said graduate student Donald Carey Jr. “We just didn’t have as many turnovers as we usually do.”
After the Hoyas’ slow start, freshman guard Dante Harris sparked the offense as he put away a nice breakaway layup assisted by Pickett. Harris would follow that up with another layup as he used his quickness to drive to the basket. Pickett hit a three, and Bile would complement off the bench with a contested layup to cap an 8-0 Hoyas run. Wahab kept the momentum going with a monster dunk, but the Friars’ redshirt senior forward Noah Horchler would ground Georgetown with a quick three.
“He played a great game, he was huge in important moments,” said Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing with regards to Wahab’s birthday performance.
Georgetown held Providence junior guard David Duke, who entered the game as the second leading scorer in the Big East, to only two points in the first half, but Reeves filled that hole with a career-high 28 points. Despite the Hoyas’ slow start from the field, they’d finish the half with 45% FG shooting and cut the lead to four at 42-38 after being down by as many as 15 points.
The Hoyas would come out strong in the second half, as Pickett put away a nice layup and Bile hit a quick three soon after to give the Hoyas their first lead of the game. Senior guard Jahvon Blair looked to get out of an uncharacteristically quiet night by hitting a three to knot the game at 52. Harris once again took advantage of his quickness to lay one in and keep the pressure on Providence. He then hit a quick midrange jumper and followed up with an assist to Bile who gave the Hoyas their second lead at 58-57.
Providence would soon take back the lead, but Carey responded with a three and a speedy breakaway layup to put the Hoyas up 67-65 with four minutes left. Wahab continued a good game in a crucial moment, hitting a contested midrange shot to retake a one point lead in the closing minutes.
After a missed Blair floater, Pickett snagged a massive offensive rebound and got the ball back to Blair, who was fouled with 16 seconds left. He hit both free throws to give the Hoyas a 72-69 lead. Breed cut the lead to one with six seconds left, and Bile would go to the line for Georgetown. After hitting one of two free throws, Bile and Georgetown rushed back on defense, but David Duke would draw a questionable foul with 1.5 seconds left on the clock. Duke drained the first but missed the second to seal the Georgetown win in dramatic fashion, 73-72.
Coach Ewing said, “He was huge today, huge,” referencing Bile’s performance. “I told him this is what I expected from him when we brought him in.”
Bile commented, saying, “It feels good, I’m happy we got the win…I’m getting more comfortable with the system. I learned to let the game come to me and not force anything.” He also talked about the unusual COVID break as he went on to say, “It was tough, we just came together, we had a team meeting, hashed stuff out and really came together, and it showed on the court.”
Georgetown will head to Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday to match up against #17 Creighton (12-4, 8-3 Big East). Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1. For continued coverage of men’s basketball and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.