The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (6-16, 0-11 Big East) lost by a score of 82-74 to the shorthanded DePaul Blue Demons (12-10, 3-9 Big East) on Wednesday night in Chicago. The true margin of defeat was larger; DePaul led by as many as 26 points with under four minutes to play and garbage-time points by the Hoyas made the game seem closer than it was.
Making matters worse for the Hoyas was that DePaul was missing their best player, senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty (21.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG), who was out with a groin injury. The loss marked the Hoyas’ 12th in a row, extending what is the longest losing streak in the 116-year history of the program and sparking questions about the future of Patrick Ewing’s tenure as Hoya head coach.
Graduate guard Kaiden Rice was the lone bright spot for Georgetown, leading the Hoyas with 24 points on 8-13 shooting from three, and freshman AminuMohammed added 16 points and 10 rebounds, but shot just 6-17 and turned the ball over six times. For DePaul, sophomore forward David Jones notched DePaul’s first triple-double in program history (22 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists).
The game started strong for the Blue and Gray, as ten early points from graduate guard Donald Carey put the Hoyas up 19-7 just before the ten-minute mark. Carey would be silent the rest of the game, shooting 1-7 afterward. Despite the early advantage, DePaul clawed back into the game by pounding the ball inside. A Kaiden Rice three put the Hoyas up 31-30 going into the break. Despite Mohammed shooting 0-8, the Hoyas had the lead and things were looking good. After falling behind early in the second, a pair of Rice threes kept the Hoyas in the game, which was tied 49-49 with 12 minutes to play.
And then… then came what will possibly be remembered as one of the saddest stretches of Georgetown basketball history. DePaul scored 26 unanswered points over the course of the next 7:53. The Blue Demons hit five threes during the run as the hearts of Hoya fans across the country sank. The run was reminiscent of the 23-0 game-ending run St. John’s had to eliminate the Hoyas from the 2020 Big East Tournament, but there are countless other examples of long stretches of defensive shortfalls throughout the course of Ewing’s tenure at Georgetown. The GU defense ranks 251st in adjusted defensive efficiency, the worst ranking in the Big East by over 130 spots and by far the lowest seen for a Georgetown team since the creation of efficiency metrics in 1997
Looking ahead, eight games remain, including four against top 25 teams and seven against teams in NCAA Tournament contention. The Hoyas will be underdogs in all eight, and only two seem remotely winnable: The home game in just two days vs. Creighton and DePaul’s return trip to D.C. on Feb. 24th, likely with Freeman-Liberty back in the lineup for the Blue Demons.
With little to lose going forward, it will be interesting to see what direction the coaching staff goes with for the remainder of regular season play. Sophomore guard Dante Harris struggled mightily, shooting 2-10 and performing poorly on defense, leading many to suggest an increased role for Tyler Beard. The freshman guard scored more points than Harris with less than half the playing time against DePaul.
Sophomore forward Kobe Clark is another name that Hoya fans are interested in seeing more of. Clark has played just 2.5% of the Hoyas’ minutes this year but has shown ferocity on the boards in his limited playing time, pulling down ten in just 12 minutes of playing time vs. UMBC last year.
That’s not to say the answer is clear, or that anyone has it, but what is clear is that the coaching staff does not have an answer either. Luckily for Georgetown fans, there is nowhere to go but up, right?
The Hoyas will be back in action at Capital One Arena this Saturday, Feb. 12, against the Creighton Bluejays (14-8, 6-5 Big East). The Bluejays sit near the NCAA Tournament cutline and will look for revenge for Georgetown’s 73-48 drubbing in last season’s Big East Championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on Fox Sports One. Creighton comes into the game favored by six points. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and continued coverage of all Georgetown sports.