Saturday, March 9, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from Georgetown’s 86-84 upset of No. 16 Marquette

Photo Credit: Quinn Harris- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In need of a signature road win and momentum going into the Big East tournament, the Georgetown Hoyas (18-13, 9-9 Big East) delivered behind dominant performances from freshmen James Akinjo and Mac McClung in an 86-84 win against the No. 16 Marquette Golden Eagles (23-8, 12-6 Big East). Here are my five takeaways from Fiserv Forum.

1) Hoya freshmen provided the juice:

Freshmen James Akinjo (25 points) and Mac McClung (23 points) provided a solid one-two punch as they were responsible for 55.8 percent of Georgetown’s scoring.

Akinjo and McClung had a stretch in the second half where they scored 19 in a row as Georgetown took a 79-77 lead on Marquette.

Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing was critical of Akinjo after the first meeting against Marquette going 1-of-10 from the field with eight points.

“James didn’t play his best game the first time we played him as he made some mistakes, but thought he grew from them,” Ewing said. “I got on him a little bit in the first half for reverting back to the mistakes in the previous game. He took the criticism that I gave him and kept on playing in the second half and produced.”

2) The highs and lows for Georgetown:

After a punch to the gut in a 101-69 loss at DePaul on March 6, Georgetown needed a boost in the worst way possible and got one with its biggest road win of the season at Marquette.

Most teams would have folded the tent in and not show up the rest of the season, but Ewing knew there was more left in the tank for a squad primarily dominated by underclassmen.

“I was very disappointed in our effort against DePaul and didn’t play with the energy and effort necessary to win the game,” Ewing said. “I thought this was a huge bounce back win and I thought our bench did an outstanding job down the stretch. It was a total team effort to get the win and kept on fighting throughout.”

3) Cleaning up in defeat:

After committing 58 turnovers in the previous three games, the Golden Eagles managed to clean up their mistakes with five. On the other end Marquette forced Georgetown into 10 turnovers, which resulted in 16 points on the other end.

Despite the loss, Golden Eagles coach Steve Wojciechowski was impressed with the cutdown in turnovers.

“We didn’t have any for the most part any unsound turnovers and we have to continue to do that going forward,” Wojciechowski said.

4) Bailey’s breakout:

With March Madness developing like a six-layer cake, Brendan Bailey picked the right time to have his best game of the season with a career-high 11 points off the bench despite fouling out in the final minute of play.

Bailey provided back-to-back three point makes which gave Marquette its biggest lead of the game at 57-49 in the second half. Wojciechowski hopes the freshman can build off Saturday’s performance as postseason play looms.

“[Brendan] continues to get more and more comfortable on the floor and he and [Sacar] Anim have given us a huge lift off the bench,” Wojciechowski said.

5) Another Marquette second half lead evaporated:

With Villanova’s loss to Seton Hall earlier in the day, Marquette looked to be in prime position to clinch at least a share of the Big East regular season title for the first time since 2012-13.

As was the case in Marquette’s previous three losses, a second half lead disappeared as Georgetown came from eight points down was aided by foul trouble from Markus Howard and Theo John.

Fans wonder if the Golden Eagles peaked too early and are viewing a collapse at the worst possible time of the season or could it be a mirage and magic can be found next week at Madison Square Garden as a four-game losing streak comes along for the ride.

Only time will tell.