The Georgetown men’s basketball team (1-1, Big East) took down American University (2-1, Patriot League) 79-57 on Tuesday night to get into the win column for the first time this year. Freshman wing Aminu Mohammed posted his first collegiate double-double, registering 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win. American senior guard Stacy Beckton Jr. scored 16 points to lead all scorers.
The game was a tale of two halves for the Hoyas. In the first half, the team shot 38 percent from the field and 18 percent from three point range. Both squads struggled to get into an offensive groove, but the Hoyas made a late run to take a 9 point lead at halftime. The Hoyas eventually heated up in the second half while American stayed ice cold, and Georgetown was never threatened after beginning a decisive run with 13:44 left.
The Hoyas started the game out engaged defensively, with steals from junior center Tim Ighoefe and sophomore guard Dante Harris within the first two minutes. Unfortunately, the Hoyas looked less fluid on the offensive end, as most of their early possessions came up empty. Junior center Malcolm Wilson provided a spark when he entered the game, knocking down two one-handed free throws and a turnaround jumper, followed by a big block on the defensive end. Mohammed added a big block of his own which got the crowd on its feed just before the under four timeout.
Mohammed looked like the best player on the court for long stretches of this game, adding to his double-double with two blocks, two steals, and two assists. One of those assists was a beautiful full-court pass that found Harris for an acrobatic score, part of his crucial first half effort that drove Georgetown’s nine point lead heading into halftime.
American came into the second half ready to make a run, forcing Ewing to take a timeout after only 1:04 when the lead had been cut to four. Carey drained a three coming out of the timeout but the two teams would exchange baskets for the next 5 minutes, as the Hoyas could not shake their District counterparts.
The good times would quickly stop rolling for the Eagles despite cutting the score to within 4 with 13:44 left. Over the next 6 minutes it was all Hoyas, as the 4 point lead ballooned to a 26 point edge, punctuated by back to back threes from Carey and freshman guard Jordan Riley. Riley, in particular, looked good during this stretch, scoring all 8 of his points, including two transition layups.
On the day, Georgetown’s trio of freshmen in the rotation, Riley, Tyler Beard, and Jalin Billingsley, combined for 24 points and 10 rebounds, despite Riley fouling out after only 17 minutes. Especially due to the absence of sophomore wings Collin Holloway and Kobe Clark, all three are being given the opportunity to work through their freshman mistakes,something that will only help as the season continues on.
American Head Coach Mike Brennan called his team’s final timeout to stop the bleeding with 6:57 left. At this point, the Hoyas were up 71-45, leaving the rest of the night a mere formality as the American fans trudged to the exits. The Georgetown crowd had one more roar in them when walk-on junior Chuma Azinge scored his first collegiate basket with 1:29 left in the game.
The underlying numbers underscored the dominance that the final score reflected. The Hoyas outscored the Eagles 40 to 28 in the paint, 15 to 2 in second chance points, and 19 to 9 off turnovers. Led by Ighoefe and Mohammed, the Hoyas registered 50 rebounds to American’s 31. In the second half, Georgetown went 52 percent from the field, as well as 38 percent from three point range, to pull away from American, who ended the game going 4-19 from 3.
Individual performances worth monitoring include the play of Ighoefe in his return from injury. The center went 3-3 from the field and had 11 rebounds despite leaving briefly due to injury. Carey also impressed as a distributor in this game, dishing 6 assists, his most as a Hoya. On a less than sterling note, Mohammed’s one flaw on the day was his free throw shooting, where he went 4-9 (although getting to the line 5 times is encouraging). On the day, the Hoyas shot 62 percent from the line, something that will need to be cleaned up moving forward.
The Hoyas return to action Friday night against Siena (0-3, MAAC) at Capital One Arena. The Hoyas will look to build off the first win of their season, and build some momentum going into their Thanksgiving showdown against San Diego St. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.