AISHA MALHAS FOR THE HOYA
Junior centor Jessie Govan recorded 26 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in Georgetown’s 76-60 win over Coppin State this Sunday. Govan currently leads the Big East in rebounding while ranking fourth nationally.

Kicking off December, Georgetown’s men’s basketball remained undefeated, beating the Coppin State Eagles 76-60. Georgetown’s victory over Coppin State marks the team’s sixth consecutive win against a team with a sub-.200 record for the 2017-18 season.

Coppin State’s (0-8) onslaught of pick-and-rolls and shots from deep made it difficult for Georgetown (6-0) to put away the Eagles until late in the second half. The Eagles’ first eight shots of the game were all from three-point range, where they finished the game 9-33.

Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) noted Coppin State’s aggressive outside shooting when discussing Georgetown’s game plan at the post-game press conference.

“They played small ball, and they took 33 threes and were able to hit a fair number of them,” Ewing said. “We tried to get the ball into [junior center] Jessie [Govan] and [junior forward] Marcus [Derrickson], and they tried to double them. They went to the trap late. We turned the ball over when we shouldn’t have. It’s still a work in progress.”

Although the Hoyas led the entire game, the Eagles cut the lead to five points midway through the second half. Derrickson responded with a three-pointer that kickstarted an 11-2 run for the Hoyas.

Despite the victory, Ewing criticized his team’s inability to find a consistent offensive rhythm.

“We settled too much,” Ewing said. “I’m for guys taking the shots when we have them, but they had no one who could check [Derrickson] or [Govan], and I thought the ball should at least touch the paint first before we took those threes. We have to do a better job of that.”

Govan made his presence felt throughout the contest, recording his fourth double-double this season. The big man finished with 26 points, shooting 7-of-12 and a career-high 16 rebounds. Govan’s 12.2 rebounds per game ranks first in the Big East and fifth nationally.

“I’m just trying to go hard,” Govan said. “Coach Ewing has been harping on me since day one just to go hard and play every possession like it’s my last, and every possession will take care of itself, and the rebounds just come.”

“He got 16 rebounds? He should have had 20,” Ewing said.

Coppin State’s transition defense also proved problematic for Georgetown. All five Eagles scampered back in transition after almost every shot attempt to prevent Georgetown from scoring easy points on the break. Senior guard Jonathan Mulmore continued to push the pace in Ewing’s new up-tempo offense, but the Hoyas still finished with only 12 fast-break points.

Ewing continues to mix and match his guards to see which lineups can be most effective. Graduate guard Trey Dickerson, who returned against the Eagles from injury, has seen an overall increase in minutes playing alongside sophomore guard Jagan Mosely and freshman guard Jahvon Blair.

Ewing recognizes the importance of guards in his new offensive scheme.

“Trey did a better job tonight. He did a better job of running the team and was able to get into the paint and get a few three-point plays, so he did a much better job tonight than he did in the past. I’m not sure what lineup you’re going to see. It’s going to be all predicated on who’s playing well at that time,” Ewing said.

Mosely also reiterated the importance of playing on the same page as the rest of team’s backcourt.

“We’ve been working since the summer just building chemistry, so I’m kind of used to those guys now,” Mosely said.

However, when Coppin State went into a press late in the game, Georgetown struggled to adapt.

“We’ve been working on press breaks, but we’ve been working more on 2-2-1 formations and that was more of a trapping press,” Mosely said. “We’re just working to get better towards conference play, so we just got to work harder in practice.”

The Hoyas also benefited from a parade to the free throw line. Govan’s and Derrickson’s presences down low forced the Eagles to play in foul trouble the entire second half.

“Any win is a good win,” Govan said. “You can’t take anything away from that. But if there’s anything, I wished we improved on our free throws. I missed three, and we missed 12 as a team, and that’s big. If we want to beat the teams in the Big East and these tougher teams coming up, we’re going to need to make our free throws, and we didn’t do that today.”

On Thursday night, Georgetown hosted crosstown rival Howard University (1-9), and behind 24 points from Govan, the Hoyas defeated the Bison 81-67. The win marked the seventh straight victory for the Hoyas under their new head coach.
Georgetown led throughout the contest, but Howard cut the lead the to five with four minutes left in the game, before Georgetown closed the game on an 11-2 run.
“We should have put them away when we went up 20,” Ewing said after the game.
Govan recorded his fifth double-double of the season in the contest by pulling down 16 rebounds for a second straight game.
Junior forward Kaleb Johnson also added 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field.
“Kaleb did some big things in the second half, which helped us win,” Ewing said.
On Saturday, Georgetown takes on another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent in North Carolina A&T (5-3) at Capital One Arena.  Tipoff is set for 2:30 pm, and the game will be televised by Fox Sports 2.

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