Too close: Hoyas hold on for narrow 77-76 win over DePaul

February 25, 2024

Photo by Daniel Rankin

Georgetown men’s basketball (9-18, 2-14 BIG EAST) broke their 11-game losing streak with a hard-fought win against the DePaul Blue Demons (3-24, 0-16 BIG EAST) on Saturday at Wintrust Arena. Sophomore guard Jayden Epps was the standout performer for the Hoyas, leading all scorers with 33 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the floor. This marked Epps’ second-straight game with 30+ points, in the Hoyas’ first victory since January.

Georgetown jumped to an early 5-0 lead with a three from Epps and a fastbreak field goal from senior guard Wayne Bristol Jr. The Hoyas initially held off DePaul as the Blue Demons struggled to score in the first three minutes. However, a swift steal from DePaul sophomore guard Jaden Henley resulted in a dunk over Georgetown junior guard Dontrez Styles, giving DePaul their first points of the game. The teams continued to trade buckets, alternating between a one-and-two-possession game before a 5-0 run from Epps extended Georgetown’s lead to 16-7 with 12 minutes left in the first half. In the next five minutes of game time, a 3-pointer from senior guard Jay Heath gave the Hoyas their first double-digit lead of the night at 21-11. However, a 6-2 run from the Blue Demons cut the deficit to six points with 7:54 remaining on the clock. The Hoyas responded with an 8-2 run of their own, fueled by a pair of threes from Epps and a bucket from freshman forward Drew Fielder, which forced DePaul to call their first timeout.

After the timeout, a foul on Fielder resulted in two free throws for DePaul sophomore guard Elijah Fisher. The Hoyas maintained their offensive pressure with baskets from freshman guard Rowan Brumbaugh and a pair of free throws from Styles, extending their lead to 39-24—their largest of the game at 15 points—before entering the locker room with a 41-28 lead.

In Georgetown’s  opening play of the second half, a turnover from Epps resulted in a layup by Fisher, setting the tone for the remainder of the game. The Blue Demons came out of the break red-hot, outscoring the Hoyas 19-7, capped off by eight unanswered points, forcing a much-needed timeout from the Hoyas. Following the timeout, an immediate three from DePaul senior guard Jalen Terry closed the gap for DePaul to just one point (48-47) with under 16 minutes remaining in the game. The Blue Demons went on to take their first lead of the game (49-48) behind free throws as the Hoyas faced foul trouble early on in the second half as both Styles and Bristol fouled out. DePaul continued to score, making 5 of their first nine three-point attempts of the second half.  Fortunately, Georgetown started to find their second-half rhythm as a layup from Epps pushed the Hoyas back up 54-51. However, the Blue Demons continued to attack, grabbing rebounds and forcing turnovers, limiting the Georgetown offense and eventually leading by as many as four down the stretch. 

With four minutes left to play, the Hoyas regained momentum when Heath sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 68 apiece. This was followed by scoring plays from Brumbaugh and Epps, along with a fastbreak dunk from senior forward Supreme Cook off a turnover, extending the lead to four points (73-69) with under two minutes remaining. However, a 5-0 run from DePaul senior forward Da’Sean Nelson gave the Blue Demons a 76-75 lead with 26 seconds left on the clock. Epps responded by driving to the basket, drawing a foul, and draining a pair of free throws to put Georgetown ahead 77-76 with 8.1 seconds remaining After a Georgetown timeout, Henley missed an open layup in DePaul’s final possession, sealing the Hoya victory.

The Hoyas face a quick turnaround, as they return to action on Tuesday, February 27, with a road game against Villanova (15-12, 8-8 BIG EAST). Tipoff at Finneran Pavilion is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on FS1. For ongoing coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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