On Wednesday, Georgetown men’s basketball (6-17, 1-11 BIG EAST) lost convincingly to the Creighton Bluejays (14-8, 8-3 BIG EAST), 53-63, in Capital One Arena. The game was only their second straight conference loss (but the 31st of the last 32), and an unsurprising reprise of many of the Hoyas’ familiar struggles.
As has often been the case this year, Georgetown had plenty of flashes of individual greatness. Junior guard Jay Heath, who warmed up in a finger guard, hit a three on his first possession back from injury. The very next trip down the court, he banked in a heavily contested layup to give Georgetown the lead after a shaky start to the first half.
Sophomore guard Jordan Riley, who kept his starting spot as Heath came off the bench, had a vicious block on Creighton’s sophomore guard Ryan Nembhard late in the first half, which kept Hoya hopes alive and sent Nembhard careening into the baseline photographers. Despite some energetic plays, though, Georgetown wasn’t able to contain the 7’1” junior center Ryan Kalkbrenner or get much out of their guards, and an 18-17 lead slowly but surely became a 21-35 deficit at halftime.
That gap would’ve been much greater if Creighton was shooting at least passably. In the first half, the Bluejays hit only four of their 15 attempts from deep, despite the majority coming off of drive-and-kicks to the corner, where the Hoyas predictably overhelped and had to scramble back for weak contests. It’s hard to imagine Georgetown feeling lucky to only be down by 14 at halftime, but not so hard when considering the fact that three starters–sophomore guard Primo Spears, sophomore guard Brandon Murray, and junior forward Akok Akok—combined for 0-14 from the field and zero points in the half.
In the second, some improvements came quickly. A nice move from Spears earned him his first bucket, and Murray also got on the board before the Bluejays scored. Improved shooting helped the Hoyas slowly chip away at the gap, but Kalkbrenner continued to dominate in the offensive paint, working his way to an efficient 16 points and eight rebounds on the night.
With around 10 minutes left, Akok announced his presence. His pump fake on the three-point line easily dispatched of Kalkbrenner, and he drove straight to the basket for a forceful and uncontested dunk. Those were his only points on the night, though, and he finished just 1-3 from the field.
Senior center Qudus Wahab was the unexpected leader for the Hoyas on Wednesday, as he finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, along with three steals. However, it didn’t seem like he had fixed the problems he’s been plagued with this season—rather, Creighton just didn’t opt to double him when he put the ball on the floor, which most teams have been consistently doing this season.
In a reversal of the typical problem, Georgetown actually kept pace in the second half, but it was the first half’s collapse that gave Creighton the easy win. You don’t expect the team that’s shooting half their shots from deep, and only making 27.6 percent of them, to win by double digits, but then again, you don’t expect plenty of the things the Hoyas do until they do them. It once again seemed that Head Coach Patrick Ewing could have adjusted more, especially in the first half, when both Spears and Murray weren’t hitting shots, yet barely came off the floor.
Men’s basketball takes the court again on Saturday against No. 24 UConn. In their last match-up with the Huskies, the Hoyas played some of their best basketball against high-major competition, but fell apart late in the second half to eventually lose 73-84. UConn has struggled since then, nearly falling out of the AP Poll entirely from their peak position at No. 2. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. at Capital One Arena, and will be broadcasted live on FS1.