The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (10-12, 8-9 Big East) defeated the Marquette Golden Eagles (13-14, 8-12 Big East) 68-49 to stay alive in the Big East Tournament. This was Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s first win as a head coach at the conference tournament. The Hoyas’ next opponent will be the #14 Villanova Wildcats tomorrow at Madison Square Garden.
The Hoyas were led by senior guard Jahvon Blair, who came off the bench to score 20 points, while sophomore center Qudus Wahab had 19 points and 7 rebounds. Sophomore guard DJ Carton had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists to pace Marquette.
The Hoyas were a force on the glass throughout the game, outrebounding the Golden Eagles 46-32. Each starter for Georgetown had at least 6 rebounds, led by graduate forward Chudier Bile and senior forward Jamorko Pickett with 8 apiece. The Hoyas also had 16 offensive rebounds, with 11 coming in the first half, leading to 20 second chance points. This was crucial in overcoming a putrid shooting day for all Hoyas not named Blair or Wahab. The other five rotation players only made 10 field goals combined.
In his postgame press conference, Ewing was proud of his entire roster and the effort they put in to win.
“Tonight it was a total team effort. Everyone did something positive to help us win,” Ewing said. “We didn’t falter, we kept fighting, we kept chipping away, and we were able to take the game over.”
Both teams got off to slow starts out of the gate, as it took time to adjust to the bright tournament lights. After four minutes, the teams combined for more turnovers (6) than made field goals (4) as both teams tried to feed their bigs early. The Hoyas only started opening up a lead when Blair entered and took four quick shots.
A decisive factor in the first half for Marquette was foul trouble. Stud freshman forward Dawson Garcia was forced to sit with 2 early in the first half, and he would play only 22 minutes in all, his second lowest total of the season. The other big story was the Golden Eagles’ inability to hit a shot. During a 17-2 run by Georgetown, Marquette shot 1-12 from the field and could not get the game back under control.
An underrated aspect of the first half, meanwhile, was the play of Wahab and sophomore reserve center Timothy Ighoefe, who controlled the game on both ends of the court. Ewing, who knows how to control a Big East Tournament game, was complimentary of both players’ performances, especially when Ighoefe stepped in.
“I was very impressed with their play, they did a great job. Q had 19 points,” Ewing said. “[Ighoefe] was huge defensively, clogging up the paint, making them make mistakes.”
This was compounded further by the Hoyas having their way on the offensive glass as they transformed their many misses into second chance opportunities. Neither team was hitting from three early, as the squads combined to go 0-14 before Bile hit the game’s first triple after 8 minutes. A run by the Hoyas to end the half made the intermission score 32-14 Hoyas.
14 points was the second lowest score in one half in Big East Tournament history and the lowest for Marquette since 2014. Marquette and Georgetown were shooting 15% and 13%, respectively from the three point line at the half, and both teams knew that the game would be decided by which team would be able to heat up.
The second half started up much faster as a Carton and Garcia-led 7-2 run cut the lead to 13. However, Blair came in after 4 minutes and immediately made his impact felt, scoring a quick 5 points and pushing the advantage right back to 18. Garcia’s fourth foul was an offensive one when Bile drew a charge, and the freshman was stapled to the bench for much of the rest of the half. Senior center Theo John also spent much of the second half on the bench for Marquette, in obvious discomfort due to a knee injury, and struggled when the Hoyas put him in the pick and roll.
Carton kept Marquette in it with a variety of athletic offensive and defensive moments. He would finish the game with 3 blocks and 3 steals to go along with his 17-6-6 line. However, it wouldn’t be enough to chip away at Georgetown’s lead, as a three by graduate guard Donald Carey with 5 minutes to go pushed the lead to 21.
Seniors Jamal Cain and Koby McEwen fouled out for the Golden Eagles long after the game was decided, and the two teams traded baskets at the end to reach the final tally, 68-49. Ewing had a jovial demeanor in the postgame press conference, but recognized this is only the first step.
“Right now we are going to enjoy this win,” Ewing said. “We’ll watch film on Villanova tonight, have a walk through tomorrow then get on the bus and get over here.”
The Hoyas live to play another day and will face the Big East regular season champion Villanova Wildcats (16-5, 11-4 Big East). The Wildcats beat the Hoyas twice this season to the tunes of 76-63 and 84-74. Those games were closer than the final scores indicated, and Villanova has lost their regular backcourt of senior Collin Gillespie and sophomore Justin Moore in recent days.
The game will tip off at 12 pm and will be shown on Fox Sports 1. For coverage of men’s basketball and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.