Georgetown Hoyas

Georgetown leaves Syracuse's Carrier Dome victorious

trecampbellgeorgetownusat.jpg

Georgetown leaves Syracuse's Carrier Dome victorious

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- If only Syracuse had the "Pearl" -- on the court instead of in their hearts.

On a day the Orange paid tribute to the late Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, L.J. Peak and Rodney Pryor put a damper on the day, combining for 43 points as Georgetown held off Syracuse 78-71 on Saturday.

Peak had 23 points and 11 rebounds and Pryor added 20 points to key the victory in the renewal of a once-fierce Big East rivalry, which Washington was a big part of.

"Whenever Georgetown wins in the Carrier Dome, it's a big win for the program," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "This rivalry, these two institutions, when you think about the Big East you think about Pearl, Patrick (Ewing) and Chris Mullin. When you come up here and it's Pearl weekend, it's like they need some extra incentive? Without a doubt, he's one of the pillars of the Big East."

Syracuse (6-4), which has struggled to form any kind of consistency so far this season, didn't find much again. Tyler Lydon was the bright spot with a career-high 29 points, missing only 1 of 13 shots, but where Washington once worked his magic, the Orange guards continued to struggle.

John Gillon had 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting in his first start of the season and Frank Howard had four points, four assists and a game-high six turnovers. Andrew White, who has started in the backcourt six times this season, had 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting in 40 minutes.

"We're just not playing well at the guard spot I don't think at all," Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. "We're making too many mistakes. We're not getting the ball in the basket from the guard spot. We haven't in any of our four losses and we've got to play better there."

Georgetown (7-4) has won five straight, the first four coming against teams from the lower echelons of Division I.

The Hoyas matched the largest lead of the game when Jonathan Mullmore drained a 3 to give Georgetown a 67-60 lead with 2:36 left. The Hoyas hung on at the end after Lydon's follow slam and baseline hook moved the Orange within 69-66 with 64 seconds left.

Georgetown has lived at the free-throw line this year and that helped the Hoyas survive this one. They were 22 of 25 from the line, nine coming in the final 38 seconds, while the Orange was 14 of 25.

It was Pearl Washington Day inside the Carrier Dome and the former Syracuse star, who died in April of cancer at age 52, was celebrated on a snowy, wintry day. Syracuse University is establishing the Pearl Washington Endowed Fund for Continuing Education and set a $1 million endowment goal. The fund will support student-athletes who leave the university and later return to pursue their degrees.

A framed photo of Washington and a piece of the basketball court were presented to Washington's family at center court during a halftime celebration. A No. 31, Washington's number at Syracuse, also was unveiled and adhered to the wooden surface at center court.

"This is a very special weekend. Very special, especially since it's the Georgetown game," said Rafael Addison, a teammate of Washington in the 1980s. "It's hard to talk about him. Pearl would be very pleased with the outpouring of love. (When the 31 peeled off) it felt like he was in the building. He loved this building. He loved this community. He had so much life, so much charisma."

White hit his first two 3-pointers as Syracuse rushed to an 11-4 lead in the first 5:08, giving the Orange the biggest lead of the first half, 11-4. The Hoyas clawed back behind Peak's 12 points in the opening period, and when Peak hit a follow shot to tie the game at 31-all in the final two minutes, it almost seemed like an Orange omen.

It wasn't.

"We need to improve, take care of business," White said. "That kind of puts a sour taste in the whole theme of the night. It happens sometimes."

More than just a mixtape, Hoyas' Mac McLung drops career-high 38 points in win over Little Rock

mac-mcclung-georgetown-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

More than just a mixtape, Hoyas' Mac McLung drops career-high 38 points in win over Little Rock

The Mac McClung to Allen Iverson comparisons are outlandish and, as Wizards forward and former Georgetown star Jeff Green noted previously, unfair. At a minimum, any side-by-side talk is wildly premature even though McClung is the most electric guard to play for the Hoyas since the Basketball Hall of Famer roamed the Hilltop in the mid 90’s.

In the 12th game of his college career, McClung made the comparison slightly tangible at least for one day.

The social media sensation – in this case we mean the 6-foot-2 guard from Gate City, Virginia – scored a career-high 38 points in Georgetown’s 102-94 overtime win over Little Rock Saturday afternoon. Based on some internet sleuthing, that’s more points than any Hoyas freshman since Jim Barry dropped 39 and 41 during the 1962-63 season.

In between notables like Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Iverson, Green and Otto Porter suited up for Georgetown. McClung’s scoring performance topped them all.

He sank 10 of 21 shots from the floor including four 3-pointers, several assertive driving layups and a dunk to satisfy the fans familiar with his aerial work via YouTube videos. 

McClung hit 14 of 16 free throws, though the two misses in the final seconds of regulation kept Little Rock alive for a game-tying 3–pointer at the buzzer. His 4-point play with 46 seconds remaining in overtime, set up by a pass from fellow freshman James Akinjo, sealed the win.

“I just tried to stick to the game plan,” the deferential McClung said of his performance. "James did a lot of great things too. We just try and feed off each other’s energy.

Akinjo, hardly a supporting player, had 25 points and seven assists.

“It becomes real fun,” Akinjo said of playing with McClung. “You get the crowd involved. He’s making shots; I make a couple plays here and there. It’s real fun playing with him. He makes it easier for me and our team as well.”

Head coach Patrick Ewing started the kids together in the season opener.

“They’re ability to create and get to the hole, they used that to their advantage today,” Ewing said after the Hoyas improved to 9-3 in their penultimate non-conference game of the regular season.

Anybody that watched highlights of McClung dominate high school games and set the state of Virginia single-season record, surpassing Iverson in the process,  knows he can get to the rim. It’s why the buzz popped leading to his arrival on the Hilltop and the comparisons began.

"It's not hype. The kid is good," Green said of McClung in November. "You can't put these expectations (on him). What have people been calling him? White Iverson. There's no other player that's gonna be Allen Iverson. He's gonna be who he's gonna be."

McClung was all kinds of good against Little Rock. More notable than the scoring fest, at least by those on the media side and long-time fans eager to hear from the team’s stars, is what happened postgame. McClung and Akinjo joined Ewing for the postgame press conference.

Georgetown’s long-standing policy dating back to at least Ewing’s arrival in 1981 precludes freshmen from engaging officially with reporters. No matter the talents and interest, the Hoyas never waver from this approach.

Then McClung and Akinjo entered. They were still wearing their gray home uniforms rather suits, another new wrinkle. Ewing left the press conference noting the pair needed a shower.

Little stunk about McClung’s work Saturday.

“We’re excited about the win, but we’re excited to get back (to practice) and keep growing,” McClung said on a day his legend took another leap.

That doesn’t mean those Iverson comparisons should re-start. It just means McClung had quite the day.  

Govan, Georgetown top Richmond, 90-82

govan-ewing-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Govan, Georgetown top Richmond, 90-82

Jessie Govan had a season-high 29 points, on 11-of-15 shooting, and nine rebounds to help Georgetown beat Richmond 90-82 on Wednesday night.

The Hoyas led 40-35 at halftime behind Govan's 19 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes. Georgetown made 8 of 10 shots midway through the second half to extend its lead to 73-62.

Matthew McClung added a career-high 16 points for Georgetown (6-1) and freshman James Akinjo scored 13. Greg Malinowski had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Grant Golden had 22 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for Richmond (2-5). It was his 14th career 20-point game and his third straight as the Spiders have had five different players score at least 20 this season.

Richmond freshman Jake Wojcik made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points and Nathan Cayo added 18 points. Freshman Andre Gustavson was the only Spider starter not to score in double figures, but he had eight points, five rebounds and a season-high 10 assists. It was the most assists by a Spider in the past two seasons.