By: Joe Cardoso
To say last night’s Georgetown Hoyas season opener was a tale of two halves would be an understatement. Right before tipoff, we found out that sophomore Josh LeBlanc would not play due to a coach’s decision. When the final buzzer went off, the Hoyas walked away with an 81-68 home win after being down by 19 points. We saw a mix of the returning players and new guys work out the kinks and get it done in the end. Some call it lucky, I’d say it was team building.
The first half was rough! The Hoyas shot 30% from the field and an ice-cold 10% from the three-point line. Add on a sloppy 13 turnovers, and all of that is a recipe to be down at the half. One can only imagine the speech from Patrick Ewing and the coaching staff. Well, whatever was said didn’t look to initially work in the second half. But then it clicked and a run to the tune of 21 straight points put the Hoyas right back in the game. James Akinjo stepped up and would not allow his team to lose, racking up 17 points in the half and was one of three players in double figures. Omer Yurtseven’s debut double double of 20 points and 12 boards was welcomed. Mac McClung started off his second year with 16 points. The Hoyas won with good second half defense by using active hands to get steals and force turnovers and by owning the glass by outrebounding Mount St. Mary’s 40-26.
Some quick takeaways from the opener:
* Fingers crossed that all of the rust is knocked off.
* I am calling it now, James Akinjo is the leader of this team. They go as far as he leads them.
* We only have a small sample, but the new guys had some plays and showed promise. Omer Yurtseven is legit and his play should only get better.
* Jamorko Pickett’s 8 rebounds is something that I’ll take all year long.
The first half was bad due to poor shooting, but more importantly, bad defense. This is something that Ewing will not put up with, as we have seen from past seasons. Moving forward, we will have to wait to see if Josh LeBlanc gets on the floor for the next game. As expected, rotations will work themselves out and be set by the time Big East play comes around. Players need to grab the moment and try to have an impact when they get minutes.
The homestand continues with Central Arkansas on Saturday. I am looking for a better start, as well as how these new guys get more comfortable with coach Ewing and his system. This ride just started, but one thing for sure is that we can tell that this team will not be boring. For more Hoyas talk, follow our blog on Twitter @NutsAndBoltsSp or myself @JoeCardoso301. You can always hear Patrick Waring and myself discuss the team on our weekly podcast found here.
Until the next recap, HOYA SAXA.