Fresh off a trip to New York City for the 2K Empire Classic, the Georgetown Hoyas (4-3, Big East) stumbled in their return home, losing 65-61 to the visiting UNC Greensboro Spartans (6-2, Southern). It was a night to forget for the Hoyas on offense, as they committed 19 turnovers and shot just 37 percent from the field, including 31 percent in the second half. James Akinjo led all scorers with 12 points, which all came in the first half. The Spartan trio of Keyshaun Langley (11 points), James Dickey (10 points) and Malik Massey (10 points) paced UNCG.
Georgetown started the game strong, opening up an eight-point lead within four minutes of play following three-pointers from Akinjo and Jagan Mosely. The Spartans battled back quickly, cutting the deficit to three shortly after when Mohammad Abdulsalam converted a pair of free throws. But Georgetown, getting baskets from each of its starters early, restored its strong lead on a short jumper from Omer Yurtseven with 13:40 remaining. From there, however, the Hoyas failed to execute on the offensive end. The team was unable to generate open looks, appearing stagnant and lacking in creativity for minutes at a time. During this perilous stretch, UNCG capitalized. Angelo Allegri scored seven straight points in quick succession to tie the game with just over six minutes remaining.
The Hoyas, despite their offensive struggles, never trailed in the half, and led by as many as seven with 1:37 remaining after Mac McClung converted on a three-point jumper. This lead was short-lived, however, as Michael Hueitt Jr. immediately responded with a three of his own before Abdulsalam made a layup following an offensive rebound. At the intermission, Georgetown held a slim 32-29 advantage. It was perhaps the strongest defensive half the Hoyas had turned in all season, as they forced six turnovers and held the Spartans to a dismal 4-of-17 from three-point range.
The first-half offensive struggles were only a sign of greater (read: worse) things to come. Georgetown committed 11 turnovers in the second half and shot just 31 percent, missing several open looks at inopportune times. The visitors opened the second half on a tear, outscoring Georgetown 13-4 over the opening six minutes to generate a six-point advantage. The Hoyas, leaning on Yurtseven, who had been sidelined for much of the first half with foul trouble, regained the lead when their big man converted an up-and-under move around the hoop with 12:15 remaining. Jahvon Blair followed this up with a three-pointer, and Jamorko Pickett added a three of his own a minute later giving Georgetown a five-point cushion.
That was as large a lead as the Hoyas would enjoy for the remainder of the game. In less than two minutes, UNCG had tied the game after Massey drilled a three-pointer. Shortly after, Dickey scored four quick points to maintain the UNCG lead. Mosely made an and-one layup with 2:18 remaining to get the Hoyas within one point, but that was as close as they would come. Georgetown allowed two crucial offensive rebounds in the final minute after getting defensive stops, allowing UNCG to burn time and earn trips to the free throw line. Down four with 16 seconds remaining, the Hoyas turned to Blair, but his three-point attempt missed, allowing the Spartans to see out the win.
The loss, while not terrible from a metrics standpoint—UNCG is one of the stronger mid-majors out there—is damning in that it leaves Georgetown with very little, if any, wiggle room for the remainder of its nonconference schedule. The Hoyas scheduled their toughest nonconference slate in the Patrick Ewing era, and what has been an uneven start to the campaign could get much worse with road trips to Oklahoma State (7-0, Big 12) and SMU (7-0, American), as well as a rivalry renewal with Syracuse (4-3 ACC) all looming large. The Hoyas will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma for a date with the Cowboys on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm ET. That game will be streamed on ESPN+.