The Georgetown Hoyas used a strong second half performance to cruise to victory over the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, 68-53.
The highly-publicized freshman duo of James Akinjo and Mac McClung earned the starting guard spots, while Trey Mourning started for the first time in his collegiate career. The Hoyas looked to push the pace with their freshmen ballhandlers and found early success doing so. McClung sunk his first shot attempt on a transition pull up jumper to open Georgetown’s tab for the year, but a UMES full-court press stifled the Blue & Gray’s momentum. McClung and Akinjo each committed a pair of turnovers, while Jagan Mosely added two of his own.
“We’re going to get pressed this year,” Ewing said. “We’ve been working on it but we didn’t execute. We’ve got to move the ball.”
Jessie Govan scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, while Josh LeBlanc added 11 points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate debut.
When the Hoyas were able to keep possession they turned toward the preseason All-Big East selection in Govan who scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half. While Govan was efficient when he got possession, his chemistry with Mourning seemed lacking. They were often positioned too close to one another, making it difficult for Govan to create his own shot as defenders helped off Mourning.
At the half, the Hoyas enjoyed a 31-21 lead, despite attempting eight few shots than the visitors due to turnover woes.
Georgetown continued to cough the ball up in the second half, but LeBlanc shined. He was all over the court, grabbing rebounds, snatching loose balls and converting easy second-chance opportunities. He capped off his double-double effort with an and-1 layup in the post.
“That’s what he does. His energy, his effort,” Ewing said. “He’s going to be a menace.”
The Hoyas shot 46 percent in the second half, up from 42 percent in the first. It’s clear the team is still trying to find the right lineup combinations, as Ewing featured several different units, each with varying levels of success. Kaleb Johnson was sidelined with a sore lower leg, and his return will only add to this conundrum.
Georgetown committed 19 turnovers on the night while forcing UMES into 16. Defensively, however, the Hoyas will be pleased to have held the Hawks to just 35 percent shooting, including 17 percent from deep.
McClung and Akinjo finished with eight points apiece, while committing three and four turnovers, respectively. Pickett added 11 points and four rebounds.
Georgetown will now prepare for a Saturday date with Central Connecticut State at the Capital One Arena at noon.