Georgetown men’s basketball (6-21, 0-17 Big East) lost their 18th consecutive contest against No. 21 UConn (21-7, 12-5 Big East) 86-77 on Sunday. Graduate guard R.J. Cole led all Husky scorers with 18 points for the Huskies and senior guard Tyrese Martin chipped in 14 rebounds. Sophomore guard Dante Harris had 23 points for the Hoyas and freshman Aminu Mohammed had 16 points and four rebounds. This also marked Mohammed’s 28th consecutive start, the only Hoya to appear in every game on the season.
Graduate students Donald Carey and Kaiden Rice were honored before the game as the only seniors on the roster. Rice came into the game mired in a terrible three-point slump, shooting four for 30 in the previous five games.
The first four minutes of the first half were a sloppy affair, not unlike most games the Hoyas play. Georgetown forced the Huskies into four early turnovers and kept them from getting into a rhythm. In the first matchup with the Huskies, sophomore forward Adama Sanogo and graduate forward Isaiah Whaley carved up the Hoyas for a combined 34 points. In the first half, the duo combined for only nine points and two rebounds, with Sanogo only playing six minutes due to foul trouble.
The tide turned with 12 minutes remaining in the half, when freshman Jordan Hawkins beat Rice off the dribble and delivered a thunderous slam in addition to a foul on Mohammed who was playing the five after junior center Tim Ighoefe picked up his second foul.
The Georgetown second unit of freshmen Tyler Beard, Jalin Billingsley and Ryan Mutombo, as well as sophomore forward Kobe Clark, struggled to initiate the offense when Mohammed and Harris got a breather. However, while Clark did not look to score, he brought energy, securing two big offensive rebounds and otherwise showing hustle. Ewing was effusive in his praise of Clark postgame.
“He competed the whole time he was in there. He fought. He mixed it up and got us some extra possessions. Everything we were lacking.”
Outside of Clark, though, the reserves made several defensive miscues leading to an angry timeout from Head Coach Patrick Ewing with eight minutes to go in the half. After this timeout, Whaley returned for UConn and immediately stuffed Mutombo twice and dropped in a three on offense. Mutombo, to his credit, is never swayed by a block and was actually the Hoyas top initiator for a long stretch in the first half.
Things started falling apart with 4:51 left in the first half. Mutombo had a strong and-one lay in to cut the lead to seven. Georgetown would not hit another field goal for the rest of the half, and UConn started to get whatever shot they wanted with nary a hand in their face. The score at the half was 41-26 UConn.
Early in the second half, the Hoyas could not reduce the gap despite moments of high energy.Cole also scored eight points within the first few minutes of the half to pace the Huskies.
The Hoyas kept things at the halftime margin for eight minutes before back-to-back open threes by Whaley and Cole pushed the UConn lead to 20. Mutombo completely lost track of Whaley on the strong side, leading to a prompt benching from Ewing and Ighoefe’s return.
The one saving grace for the Hoyas was a lack of discipline from the Huskies. Georgetown was in the bonus with almost nine minutes to go in the game. From that point on, the lead vacillated between 20 and 16 points. A furious rally, as well as Sanogo and sophomore guard Andre Jackson in the final three minutes, led to a Coach Danny Hurley timeout with 57 seconds to play and the lead cut down to 11. This proved to be too little, too late and UConn closed it out at the free throw line.
Overall, this was a senior night to forget. Entering the game, Rice was three behind Allen Iverson for most threes in a single season in Georgetown history and he would not get any closer in this one, scoring 0 points and taking three fouls. Carey had 13 points on 5-11 shooting, but didn’t chip in elsewhere on the box score.
“Obviously we didn’t get the win,” Carey said postgame. “But it was nice to play in front of all my family members and the Georgetown community in this last home game.”
Mohammed also had a relatively tough night, going 2-10 from the field but made up for it by getting to the line 16 times and knocking down 12 of those. Meanwhile, Harris went seven for 10, including 3-4 from three point range, an encouraging sign for a player who has struggled with his shot this season.
The Hoyas have two more chances to get a win in Big East play this season. To do so, they will assuradely need to clean up on the fast break- UConn outscored them 16-2 in that regard. The team goes on the road to play Seton Hall on Wednesday, Mar. 2at 7 p.m. and concludes their regular season at Xavier on Sunday, Mar. 6, also at 7 p.m. For continued coverage of the men’s basketball team and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.