History Repeats Itself: Georgetown Falls in Final Second

Maxey’s Eight-Footer with 0:00.5 Left Leaves GU’s NIT Bubble Close to Bursting

By Sean P. Flynn Hoya Staff Writer

BOX SCORE

In a fitting – and familiar – end to the regular season, Georgetown blew an early lead against Providence and made some bad decisions late in the game only to lose another heartbreaker, 64-62, when Friar forward Erron Maxey eight-foot jumper with five-tenths of a second remaining.

The loss leaves Georgetown’s overall record at 14-14, putting an National Invitational Tournament berth in serious jeopardy. The Hoyas must win at least one game at this week’s Big East Tournament, where they will play Providence on Wednesday, to receive consideration for the NIT, which invites a field of 32 teams that do not make the NCAA Tournament and have a winning percentage of at least .500.

The Hoyas have not missed postseason play since the 1973-74 season, John Thompson’s second season at Georgetown when the Hoyas went 13-13.

The game against Providence continued a long line of disappointing close losses for the Hoyas and Head Coach Craig Esherick, who actually started his tenure with a 75-70 victory over the Friars on Jan. 9.

Under Esherick, the Hoyas have a record of 7-8 and of those eight losses, three have come when the opposing team has made a last-second shot. Another four of the losses have been in games the Hoyas could have won but failed to in the last two minutes.

This time, like almost every other loss, the Hoyas had their chances. With under a minute left, sophomore guard Anthony Perry (team-high 18 points) hit a three-pointer to put Georgetown ahead 62-59. On the next possession, though, Providence senior guard Justin Farley, who led the Friars through their lowest moments with a game-high 25 points (three times his average), found himself wide open to the right of the key for a game-tying three-pointer with 42.5 seconds remaining.

After a timeout, sophomore guard Anthony Perry, who finished with 18 points, drove to the basket with under 35 seconds left and made an errant layup attempt. Rutgers got the rebound with 30 seconds left, giving them a chance at the final shot, and with 21.7 seconds left called a timeout.

In the Friars’ final play, guard John Jinehan held the ball for 15 seconds before driving past senior guard Daymond Jackson to the lane. He then dished the ball out to forward axey – Georgetown freshman center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje actually got a piece of the pass – who drained the 8-foot jumper with five-tenths of a second remaining.

The Hoyas had one more chance to win in the final half-second, and after two timeouts, Esherick brought little-used walk-on guard Gharun Hester, a star wide receiver for the Georgetown football team who played quarterback in high school, to throw in the final baseball pass from the Providence baseline. But the 6-foot-4 sophomore’s pass hit the scoreboard dangling from the ceiling at center court, and the Hoyas were defeated.

Providence improved its record to 16-12, 9-9 in the Big East, and helped its chances for an NIT bid. Providence will probably have to win the league tournament to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

In the first half, it had looked as if the Hoyas had kept the momentum from the 57-53 win at Rutgers last Tuesday. The Hoyas’ defense shut down three Providence seniors in the first half, holding top player Jamel Thomas (22.4 points per contest before the game) to no points and guards Corey Wright and Kendrick Moore to a combined two points. At one point, the Hoyas were ahead 20-8.

But in the second half, the Friars came out roaring, using aggressive defense to force 13 of the Hoyas 25 turnovers. A 15-7 run to open the half tied the game up at 37, and the score seesawed for most of the rest of the game.

Now these two teams must meet for a third time in the Big East Conference Tournament first round Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised by espn2.

The winner meets No. 2 seed Miami, ranked ninth in the country, on Thursday at 7 p.m. in a game televised by espn2.

 

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