With their backs against the wall, the Georgetown Hoyas showed a lot of resolve to finish strong to a 96-90 double overtime win over Providence Saturday at Capital One Arena. And they did so behind two clutch game-tying threes by each of their two dynamic freshman guards.
Mac McClung Channels Inner-Steph Curry to Send Game into OT
Mac McClung delivered the first clutch three, as the Hoyas trailed 73-70 with less than four seconds remaining at the end of regulation.
Following a pair of free throws by Isaiah Jackson, Providence led by three. As the Friars elected not to foul, the Hoyas got a clean inbound to McClung. He raced past one defender and just as the three-man trap was closing in, he launched a desperation three from just over the half-court line, banking in it in just as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
James Akinjo’s Turn in OT
Trailing by three in the waning moments of overtime, it was fellow freshman James Akinjo’s turn.
Akinjo had missed an ill-advised three from the top of the key in regulation that led to Jackson’s pair of free throws. In overtime, Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing trusted Akinjo to redeem his past failure drawing up a look from essentially the same spot.
This time Akinjo drained it with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime to tie the game at 86-86.
The game ultimately went into double overtime as Jackson missed a long-range three. Once again, the young Hoyas had life, as they grew up with the pair of clutch threes. Akinjo scored the Hoyas’ final six points in overtime, as he got fouled down four shooting a three and making all three free throws on the previous possession ahead of his heroic shot.
In the double overtime, the Hoyas went on to outscore Providence 10-4. Akinjo hit a jumper that broke an 88-88 tie and put Georgetown ahead for good. McClung broke down the defense to make a driving layup that extended the Hoyas lead to 92-89. Jesse Govan, who finished with game-highs of 33 point and 14 rebounds, and Akinjo put on the finishing touches going 4-of-6 at the free throw line to close out the game.
Patrick Ewing on The Difference in Akinjo’s Regulation and OT shots
The win evens Georgetown’s Big East record at 2-2, stopping a two-game losing streak. It also showed the young Hoyas could win a close game. Before Saturday’s win, the Hoyas were 1-3 in games decided by six points or less. Both their previous two games were losses by less than six — St. John’s by 3, and at Xavier by 6.
NIT Resume Strengthen
The Hoyas’ weak non-conference schedule and their close losses to Syracuse, the Red Storm and Musketeers are damaging towards an NCAA at-large bid. However, if they can build off this win and the team behind the trio of Govan, Akinjo, and McClung could alter the perception of Georgetown as the season goes along.
Nonetheless, this was a huge win, and one that will be remembered for some time for the Ewing era. It’s a glimpse of the future of Akinjo and McClung being the rocks of the program. And the win could be looked back on as the beginning of what’s to come.