WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the second game of the Patrick Ewing-era Wednesday night at Capital One Arena, the legendary Hoya and NBA hall-of-famer harped on his team’s improvements since the season-opening win against Jacksonville, but believes his Hoyas have plenty of work to do.
“We didn’t turn the ball over as much,” Ewing said in a light-hearted manner. “It’s still a work in process. We’re playing better, improving. Different guys stepping up.”
The Hoyas improved to 2-0 after a hard-fought 102-68 win over Mount St. Mary’s in front of 5,064. The Hoyas were led by the all-around effort of 6-foot-10 center Jessie Govan, who scored 20 points and collected 14 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Govan took advantage of his size, as well as the absence of Chris Wray — the Mounts 6-8 defensive stopper –showcasing a pretty jumper and improved post moves, scoring from just about every spot on the court whenever he just about wanted to. He was adjoined by Jahvon Blair, Jagan Mosely, Kaleb Johnson, and Jamarko Pickett, who all had double-digit scoring production.
“Jessie really set the tone,” Johnson said. “He was a big presence down there. Jessie controlled the boards.”
The Hoyas enjoyed a 51-23 rebounding edge, 14 of which were on the offensive end, leading to 18 second-chance points. The Mount was led by the fearless 5-5 Junior Robinson, who had a game-high 26 points. Douglass High School alum Donald Carey and Westminster native Ryan Gomes followed him with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
At the half the Hoyas held a 54-36 lead, holding the Mount to 28 percent shooting from the 3-point line (4-of-14) and allowing 48 percent of all attempts to fall. Mount St. Mary’s was able to get plenty of good looks all night, the shots just didn’t fall down. For a roster that had so much turnover in the offseason — three key players transferring out of the program — as well as welcoming in eight new freshmen, the fight they displayed all night was indicative of a bright future.
“We were getting a lot of open shots,” Mount point guard Junior Robinson said. “They just didn’t fall, which happens some nights. I was happy with the shots we were getting. … They just didn’t fall.”
The Hoyas, meanwhile, were a portrait of efficiency, shooting 63 percent overall, 58 percent from deep and 81 percent from the free throw line. Despite having Jonathan Mulmore in foul trouble and Marcus Derrickson battling a head injury, the Hoyas were able to get valuable minutes from Blair (19 points, five rebounds, three assists) as well as Mosley (15 points, five rebounds, five assists).
“We have a team that can step up,” Ewing said. “Guys can step up and take over the load.”
The Mount temporarily gave the Hoyas a scare when they cut the lead to 14 points after a 14-2 run capped by a Carey 3-pointer, which made the deficit 66-52. Ewing never had to call out a teammate to calm his Hoyas squad down, as they responded with an 11-0 run, increasing the lead to 77-52 and putting the game out of reach for good.
“Just to stay calm,” Johnson told his teammates. “Sometimes when you go on a run, you look to to make the big play. So just telling the guys stay calm, try not to turn the ball over, and do the little things. Don’t always try to go for the home run.”
From there, Georgetown went into cruise control, playing with its usual confidence and playing up-tempo basketball; something that Ewing has emphasized with his roster. On the night, the Hoyas had 25 assists against 16 turnovers, five coming from Mulmore. They also had 33 points in transition, but they gave away the points off turnover battle, 15-13.
“There’s a lot more out there,” Ewing said. “There’s a few times where the guy’s open and the ball sticks. One of the things I’ve been preaching is, I don’t mind that you’re taking your shots if you’re open, but if somebody is open, pass the ball.”
The next challenge heading the Hoyas way will be University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, while Mount St. Mary’s plays North Florida in the Maui Invitational.