Georgetown men’s basketball (8-10, 1-6 BIG EAST) fell to Xavier (10-8, 4-3 BIG EAST) 92-91 on Friday, Jan. 19 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Sophomore guard Jayden Epps earned his first career double-double, leading the Hoyas with 30 points and 11 assists in yet another showing that proves Georgetown can compete with the rest of the Big East.
Led by excellent three-point shooting, the Hoyas started strong against the Musketeers in the first half, at one point going up by 14 points. After Xavier brought the lead down to five with three consecutive three-pointers of their own, the Hoyas and Musketeers went back and forth in the final minutes of the first half, ending with a 43-38 Georgetown lead at the half.
Georgetown, however, is all too familiar with decent starts against good teams and collapses in the second half. The pressure was on the Hoyas to continue their momentum.
At first, they seemed to do just that. A couple of good defensive stops allowed Georgetown to take a 12 point lead with 16 minutes to go. Then, as is becoming typical of this team, the momentum shifted. The Hoyas weren’t able to get offensive rebounds off of missed shots. Two unnecessary shooting fouls by Epps and freshman forward Drew Fielder on three-point shots gave Xavier six easy points. Two free throws by Xavier senior guard Dayvion McKnight off a Supreme Cook shooting foul tied the game at 66 with ten minutes left.
Xavier was in the double-bonus at this point; Fielder, senior forward Supreme Cook, and graduate forward Ismael Massoud had four fouls each by the end of the game. Despite this, the Hoyas were able to play a relatively clean end to the second half and stay a step ahead of the Musketeers, in part because they were perfect from the free throw line. However, Georgetown’s aversion to fouling may have cost the Hoyas at the end, as Xavier scored on their last six drives to the basket, including a dunk from freshman guard/forward Dailyn Swain to put the Musketeers up by one.
With thirty seconds to go, Epps brought the ball across half court and passed to senior guard Jay Heath, who drove to the basket. Heath’s layup didn’t make it in, and senior guard Wayne Bristol Jr. made a last-gasp effort to tip the rebound into the basket before the Musketeers came down with the rebound. Georgetown lost yet another heartbreaker, falling 92-91.
Another heartbreaker–The Hoyas have had many games this season with that label. From the blown lead to Holy Cross, to the questionable buzzer-beater finish against TCU, the loss to rival Syracuse, and the nail-biter to Seton Hall, the Hoyas have lost a handful of games in painful fashion, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Ewing era.
The team has clearly improved since the start of BIG EAST play, but, aside from DePaul, Georgetown hasn’t demonstrated improvement in the most important statistic: wins. The Hoyas have proven that they can compete with conference foes; it’s now time to prove that they can come out on top.
The Hoyas have another shot at a BIG EAST opponent on Tuesday, Jan. 23, when they host the Butler Bulldogs (12-7, 3-5 BIG EAST) at 6:30 PM at Capital One Arena. The game will be broadcast on FS1. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.