By: Joe Laurich, Staff Writer
After being picked to finish last according to the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll, the Georgetown Hoyas rallied on Saturday to win the Big East Tournament. They entered the tournament as No. 8 seed in the conference, but their underdog status couldn’t stop the Patrick Ewing-led Hoyas from earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
During the regular season, Georgetown won four of their last six games. They entered the conference tournament with a 9-12 record and were 7-9 in Big East play.
The Hoyas thumped Marquette in the first game of the tournament by a score of 69-49, and were led by senior Jahvon Blair and sophomore Qudus Wahab, who each scored 20 and 19 points, respectively.
The Hoyas then knocked off the conference’s No. 1 seed, Villanova, with a 72-71 victory. They won in the final seconds, with two free throws from freshman guard Dante Harris, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.
In the semi-final, Georgetown beat Seton Hall 66-58 behind 15 points from Harris and 19 from senior Jamorko Pickett.
Georgetown then took home the title handily, with a blowout 73-48 win over Creighton. Graduate transfer Chudier Bile was a star in the final, pouring in 19 points with four rebounds, while Wahab had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgetown’s win comes after a tumultuous 2019-20 season for the program that saw numerous players transfer from the team, including junior James Akinjo, who left the team midseason, and Mac McClung who transferred after the season.
The field for the NCAA Tournament was selected on Sunday, and the Big East had four teams make the big dance, including Villanova, Creighton, UConn and Georgetown. Xavier and Seton Hall were both firmly on the bubble, but the Pirates mediocre record and conference play lost them a spot in the bracket. Late-season losses also denied Xavier a spot on Selection Sunday.
Georgetown enters as a 12 seed in the tournament, with Villanova and Creighton weighing in as five seeds, and UConn as a seven seed.
The win for the Hoyas comes after their legendary former Head Coach John Thompson passed away in August. Coaches in the Big East and around the country honored Thompson by coaching with a towel over their shoulder, something Thompson frequently did. Thompson’s former player at Georgetown, Patrick Ewing, is the current head coach of his alma mater. Ewing and Thompson won the 1984 NCAA Tournament together at Georgetown.
“I know he’s very happy,” Ewing said about Thompson. The win came 49 years to the day that Georgetown hired Thompson to be their head basketball coach. This was Georgetown’s first Big East Tournament victory since 2007.