By The Washington Post · Ava Wallace · SPORTS, BASKETBALL
What the Hoyas need to move in from the outermost bubble of the NCAA tournament field, what they need to make all the hard falls in 40-minute games without substitutes and extended postgame ice baths worth it, is to go on a run.
"I told the team in the locker room [Saturday] that if we don't beat Providence, the win against Butler doesn't mean anything," senior guard Jagan Mosely said Tuesday.
A 73-63 loss to Providence at Capital One Arena on Wednesday leaves the Hoyas (15-11, 5-8 Big East) in a particularly tricky place, then, when it comes to their postseason fate. A tough run to the end of the regular season awaits, with games at No. 19 Marquette and No. 15 Creighton and home bouts against streaking Xavier and No. 12 Villanova staring down the anemic Hoyas.
Yurtseven missed his second straight game Wednesday, and Coach Patrick Ewing said he hadn't practiced all week beforehand. McClung came back for the first time since injuring his foot and played for eight minutes off the bench before asking the referee for a timeout and walking straight off the court and to the locker room.
That left guards Mosely, Jahvon Blair and Terrell Allen playing either 40 minutes or just under 40 minutes for what seemed like the umpteenth time this season after Georgetown lost four players to transfer in December and then McClung and Yurtseven to injury this month. To their credit, the Hoyas dictated the entire game, sprinting out to a 9-0 lead before letting Providence back in with poor perimeter defense. In the second half, the Friars (15-12, 8-6) didn't so much take the win as the Hoyas handed it to them.
After a tight start to the second half that left the Hoyas leading 51-50 with 11 minutes to play, Georgetown went cold.
The Hoyas looked truly worn down for the first time in three games, their lack of substitutes on the sideline perhaps finally catching up with them, and they missed nine straight shots as Providence went on a 9-0 tear over four minutes to lead 59-51 with just over seven minutes to play. Mosely fell twice - hard - in that stretch, once taking an elbow to the gut and the second time taking a fall that had him clutching his shoulder on the court. He took a long time to get up in both instances but kept playing.
Mosely and the Hoyas kept running, but they couldn't hit their shots. Providence shot 60% from the field in the second half to Georgetown's 38%.
Blair led three scorers in double figures with 20 points. Allen added 16, and junior forward Jamorko Pickett had 12 after an unusually aggressive first half that faded like the rest of his team.
It wasn't enough to overcome Providence's strong second half. Alpha Diallo (18 points, eight rebounds) and Luwane Pipkins (16 points) led the Friars. Meliek White and Kalif Young had 11 points each off the bench.
Providence shot abysmally to start, missing its first 10 shots, and Georgetown made the most of it to crank out its early 9-0 advantage. But it didn't last long - when the Friars finally found their rhythm, they did so from the three-point line and sank a quick shot from beyond the arc to erase the deficit and trail the Hoyas by just 15-13 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Providence all but took up residence just outside the arc, making 2 of 17 two-point attempts in the first half but swishing seven threes. The Friars held a slight edge twice in the final two minutes of the half, but a three-pointer - from Blair, this time - put Georgetown up 34-30 heading into the locker room.