The best gift: Hoyas snap 29-game BIG EAST losing streak on Jack the Bulldog’s birthday

Published January 25, 2023

Photo by Daniel Rankin

On Jan. 24, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (6-15, 1-9 BIG EAST) defeated the DePaul Blue Demons (9-12, 3-7 BIG EAST) 81-76, not only ending their record-breaking 29-game BIG EAST losing streak but also marking their first BIG EAST win at Capital One Arena in front of fans since Feb. 8, 2020, which, for those taking notes at home, was 1,081 days ago.

Graduate guard Umoja Gibson led the Blue Demons with 24 points on 8-11 shooting, while sophomore guard Primo Spears led the Hoyas with 21 points and 6 assists. 

The game got off to a quick start with DePaul’s graduate forward Eral Penn knocking down a layup within the first 30 seconds. However, it took a while for either team to get any momentum going with the score only at 17-14 after 10 minutes of play. 

The rest of the first half was marked by a lot of back-and-forth scoring and lead changes, and featured sophomore center Ryan Mutombo’s first minutes since November. It felt like the Hoyas should have had the lead going into halftime, but a layup and three-pointer for Gibson and a badly missed jumper from Spears to close out the half gave the Blue Demons the edge, 37-36.

As is often said, basketball is a game of runs, and the second half certainly didn’t disprove that old adage. A couple baskets and some free throws from senior center Qudus Wahab, sophomore guard Jordan Riley, and Spears defined a seven-point Hoya run to give them a 47-41 lead in the opening minutes of the half.

Penn responded with a layup to break things up, but Georgetown’s junior forward Akok Akok knocked down a jumper to open the gap back up to six. Gibson hit a three-point jumper to cut the Hoya lead to 49-46, but then Georgetown went on another run to pull ahead 55-46—what was their largest lead of the game at that point—before freshman guard Zion Cruz knocked down a three along with a pair of free throws to end the run.

There was some more back-and-forth play before the Hoyas started to truly pull ahead. With just under two minutes to play, Spears made a layup to make the score 75-63, Georgetown. It looked like the Hoyas were well on their way to their first BIG EAST victory since winning the Tournament Championship in March 2021. 

But that would’ve been too easy and as any fan of Georgetown basketball knows, nothing can ever come easy for this team. DePaul made a valiant final push and a three for junior guard Caleb Murphy cut Georgetown’s lead to 79-76 with just eight seconds remaining. For a brief moment, it looked like the Hoyas might blow their lead, but were able to successfully inbound the ball, and Spears knocked down his free throws after being intentionally fouled to give Georgetown the 81-76 dub.

One of the biggest factors in the Hoya win was DePaul’s atrocious fouling and free throw shooting. While Georgetown’s 65.9 percent from the line is nothing to be proud of, you can afford to miss a few free throws when you take 41—yes, you read that correctly, *41*—in a game. The Blue Demons, on the other hand, somehow shot even worse from the line at 57.9 percent and only took 19 on the night.

However, in-game coaching, particularly in the final minute and a half, was once again an issue for the Blue and Gray. If you’re up by 12 with 1:39 to play against a struggling DePaul team, how does your lead fall to as little as three before the game is over? The Hoyas missed six free throws, fouled three times, and called two timeouts in that last stretch. While the free throws aren’t necessarily a reflection on the coaching staff, the fouling is definitely not a good sign. The fact that they couldn’t find a way to hold onto the ball for more than 18 seconds without calling a timeout or getting intentionally fouled (which is normally acceptable, but not when you’re shooting that poorly from the line) is a bit concerning as well. The fouling also sucked a lot of the air out of the arena for the last couple minutes, which isn’t great when the attendance is already only 3,724 people. 

Moving forward, it’s unclear whether this result will give the Hoyas the momentum they need to string together a few wins. We’ll find out on Sunday, Jan. 29 when they take on St. John’s in New York. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted live on FS1. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all Georgetown sports.


Lucie Peyrebrune
Lucie is the Sports Editor and a sophomore in the College studying Political Economy and French. A DMV native, she is a big fan of DC sports teams (especially the Wizards and the Spirit) and anything USWNT-related.

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Graham Krewinghaus

lets gooooooooooo good game, good article, good day :)