By Ava Wallace Ava Wallace Reporter covering local colleges and universities Email Bio Follow March 15 at 12:29 AM NEW YORK — Georgetown’s seesaw of a season ended firmly in the mud Thursday night, and the landing hardly could have been messier at Madison Square Garden.
The sixth-seeded Hoyas lost, 73-57, to third-seeded Seton Hall — a team they beat by six points in double overtime less than two weeks ago — in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament to end Coach Patrick Ewing’s second season at the helm of his alma mater one win shy of 20 and all but quash the team’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Georgetown (19-13) probably needed a deep run in the Big East tournament to shore up a shaky NCAA tournament résumé, and Thursday’s loss was one the Hoyas could ill afford.
Seton Hall (19-12) will play No. 2 seed Marquette in the semifinals. The Golden Eagles routed St. John’s, 86-54, earlier Thursday.
The most frustrating part for these Hoyas is that they have proved in the past month that they are capable of winning big games. They did it with a 12-point win over Villanova, the six-point win over Seton Hall and, most recently, a two-point win over No. 16 Marquette in the regular season finale that earned the Hoyas a first-round bye in the Big East tournament.
What Georgetown also has shown is that it is a team incapable of capitalizing on momentum.
Those wins over Villanova and Seton Hall were both followed by bad losses. One more Thursday simply completed the pattern.
James Akinjo, the Big East freshman of the year at point guard, led the Hoyas with 15 points, and fellow freshman Mac McClung had nine. Senior center Jessie Govan had eight points in possibly the final game of his collegiate career.
That offense — and Georgetown’s meager defense — was no match for Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, who scored a game-high 31 points. Myles Cale added 14, and Sandro Mamukelashvili added 12.
Seton Hall seized control midway through the first half and went into halftime with a 53-28 lead, leaving the once-rowdy, sellout crowd either headed toward the exits or slumped in their seats, hoping for some late drama that would never come.
Ewing said all week that starting the game with focus and effort was crucial against the Pirates. The Hoyas sprinted to a quick 8-4 lead, making four of their first five field goals, but looked jumpy along the way. Their passes were often a hair overthrown, and the team rarely got the chance to get settled on defense as Seton Hall matched the breakneck pace.
Georgetown couldn’t sustain its energy level. And about three minutes in, the turnovers began.
The Pirates went on the first of many extended runs in the half just 2:30 into the game. Three Hoyas turnovers in 58 seconds led to a three-pointer from Cale, a dunk from Powell and a driving layup from Mamukelashvili that came in such a torrent that Georgetown’s players weren’t even back to defend.
Georgetown trailed 12-8 but wasn’t done committing turnovers. Even when the Hoyas got a chance to get set on offense, Seton Hall’s defense either forced them into awkward shots or Georgetown simply missed.
The Pirates scored 20 points off 10 turnovers in the first half; Georgetown managed just nine field goals in those first 20 minutes.
Powell not only outscored Georgetown with 29 first-half points, but he set a Big East tournament record for points in one half. To the Hoyas’ credit, they limited him to just two points after halftime — but the damage was done.
If this was Georgetown’s final game of the season — an National Invitation Tournament bid remains a possibility — the Hoyas did take a big step forward in Ewing’s second campaign.
Georgetown finished 9-9 in the Big East, which was five more wins than it managed last season, and made it to the quarterfinals of the league tournament for the first time since 2015. Akinjo was the first Big East freshman of the year from Georgetown in a decade. A loss at Syracuse was balanced out by a big road win at Illinois as well as upsets over ranked teams in the Big East.
Ewing also turned his three freshman starters in Akinjo, McClung and Josh LeBlanc into leaders capable of dominating games, and he has plenty of frontcourt talent coming in next season — three recruits in addition to transfer Omer Yurtseven — to step in for the loss of Govan, Kaleb Johnson and Trey Mourning.
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George Mason gets scare from GW but advances in Atlantic 10 tournament
LINK ORIGINAL: Washington Post