Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Georgetown 90, DePaul 81: Ewing gets first win in the Big East as head coach

Photo Credit: Geno Green

CHICAGO— In their quest to from an identity, the Georgetown Hoyas (11-3, 1-2 Big East) delivered first-year coach Patrick Ewing his first Big East conference victory in a 90-81 final over the DePaul Blue Demons (7-8, 0-3 Big East) behind Jessie Govan’s tenth double-double of the season.

Despite a plethora of Blue Demon defenders taking turns on defense, Govan managed to find players from the post and distribute in an all-around effort with a game-high 25 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, 12 rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Even with the performance, Ewing believes improvements can still be made to Govan's game.

"[Jessie] did a pretty good job for the most part. He is going to get doubled no matter what," Ewing said. "We still have to do a better job as a team of giving them outlets when needed. If we are going to be good, we have to be more consistent in making the right plays."

The production from the Hoyas offense extended to Marcus Derrickson with 24 points on 6-of-15 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line, despite coming off the floor with 5:06 left in regulation with a bloody nose, only to re-enter moments later with cotton balls inside both nostrils.

"[Marcus] and Jessie played well and are going to be the ones that will pull the cart in conference play," Ewing said. He has to be better still and not force as many shots. When he is double or triple teamed, he has the find the open man. He can get mad when he thinks he is fouled because he has to get back on defense and make a play. Those are things that could hurt us in crucial parts of games later in the season."

Bench play proved to be vital as Georgetown outscored DePaul 25-4, highlighted by Jahvon Blair’s 15 points.

As a result of the lack of offensive effort, DePaul’s starters picked up the slack as four players finished in double figures scoring with Eli Cain as the outsider, but dished out a game-high 10 assists in the loss. 

"He distributed the ball better today, but is still growing in that position," DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. "It's a work in progress as it is not something that he and I anticipated going into the season."

Despite a team-high 19 points, Max Strus was held scoreless in the final 12:45 of the game as the Hoyas defense took away any lanes towards the basket.

"We played our normal defense. Our guys did a great job of pressuring and running [Strus] off screens and we played our defense," Ewing said.

Free throws aided the Hoyas as they converted 31-of-37 attempts compared to the Blue Demons’ 14-of-18.

Game Recap:

Strus’ triple off a screen from the wing helped DePaul start the game on a 7-2 run and forced three Georgetown turnovers in the process, which forced Ewing to call timeout at the 17:26 mark.

The Hoyas regrouped and looked crisp as they went on a 9-1 run and looked more fluent as a unit with four straight field goal makes. Derrickson found his groove with back-to-back triples to expand the Hoyas’ lead to 19-11 at the 13:13 mark.

The confidence continued to blossom as Georgetown continued to turn DePaul unforced errors to baskets as it led 28-17. The Blue Demons came to life as they went on a 9-0 run to pull to within two, but could not get any closer as the Hoyas took a 46-37 lead into the locker room.

The start of the second half saw the Blue Demons produce on the defensive end as they played a solid part in the Hoyas’ four team fouls committed in the first 1:31, which forced Ewing to call a timeout after a Tre'Darius McCallum three-pointer to cut the lead to 46-42.

In need of a scoring presence, Strus delivered as he scored the next nine DePaul points to keep the game within single digits at 58-51.

The Blue Demons pulled to within 61-60, but the Hoyas countered with an 11-0 run of their own over 2:45, highlighted by timely shots from the mid-range and perimeter. DePaul could not overcome the odds as Georgetown cherished the day.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams return to action on Jan. 6 as the Hoyas host the Creighton Blue Jays for an 11 a.m. start at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., while the Blue Demons travel to Queens, N.Y. to take on the St. John’s Red Storm for a 1 p.m. tip.