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Georgetown Uses Strong Second Half to Down Mount St. Mary’s, 81-68

Hoyas overcome 19-point deficit in second half as final score masks struggles on the night.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas (1-0, Big East) utilized a massive second-half offensive outburst to overcome a 19-point deficit against Mount St. Mary’s (0-1, NEC) on Wednesday night in the nation’s capital for an 81-68 victory. J

James Akinjo opened his scoring account just 17 seconds into the new season, drilling a pull-up three-pointer before Omer Yurtseven made a short jumper on the Hoyas’ next possession. This quick five-point lead was not built to last, however, as Mount St. Mary’s buckled down defensively. The Mountaineers were quick in their rotations, and their high-energy half-court defense provided a challenge for a Georgetown team that appeared out of sync throughout the opening stanza. Josh LeBlanc’s suspension (violation of team rules) certainly didn’t help with chemistry.

With a shorter bench at his disposal, Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing fielded a lineup featuring four players who had never played a minute in a Hoyas uniform when Myron Gardner, Galen Alexander, Qudus Wahab, and Terrell Allen joined Jahvon Blair on the floor midway through the first half. A lack of comfort was apparent, and the Hoyas struggled as a result. Seven turnovers and 30 percent field goal shooting stymied any offensive rhythm for Georgetown. Meanwhile, Gibbs poured in 11 points in the half as the Mount managed 12 points in the paint and 15 from behind the arc. At the intermission, the Mountaineers enjoyed a 37-25 lead over the hosts.

The second half picked where the first left off, with Gibbs scoring four points in the opening three minutes to open the Mount’s largest lead of the game, 19 points, with 17:26 remaining. Following a Georgetown timeout, the Hoyas responded with a quick 8-0 run, energizing the crowd and igniting the bench. Morse responded with a three-pointer before Akinjo answered with a deep jumper of his own.

Mosely added a three-pointer on Georgetown’s next possession to cut the deficit to 10 points. Then, Akinjo, last season’s Big East Freshman of the Year, rattled off eight straight points to keep Georgetown within striking distance. Wahab slammed home an emphatic and-one dunk shortly after, sending Capital One Arena into a frenzy. Georgetown tied the game just over a minute later when Alexander drilled a three-pointer.

Mount St. Mary’s hit back by scoring the game’s next five points before the team’s exchanged baskets over the following phases of play. The Hoyas trailed by seven, 58-65, with 7:10 remaining. After this point, though, the Hoyas dominated all phases of the game. Yurtseven, Akinjo, McClung, and Mosely found their groove offensively as Georgetown controlled the pace and ran effective half-court sets to generate open shots.

Defensively, the Blue & Gray pressed higher up the floor and allowed Mount St. Mary’s little breathing room, resulting in several Mountaineer turnovers and missed field goals. Ultimately, the combination of better offensive execution and stifling defensive pressure allowed Georgetown to close the game on a 23-3 run and post a final score that flattered its true performance.

James Akinjo and Omer Yurtseven led the way for the Hoyas, scoring 20 points apiece. The former also tallied five assists while the latter contributed 12 rebounds and Mac McClung added 16 points of his own. Jalen Gibbs and Vado Morse paced the Mountaineers with 19 and 18 points respectively in the loss.

The Hoyas will have two days to sort through their rough patches—namely, their defensive woes which appear to have carried over from last season—as they welcome Central Arkansas (0-1, Southland) to DC on Saturday afternoon at Noon ET. That game can be watched locally on MASN2.