In front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden, Providence’s senior point guard Kyron Cartwright was ready to seal a victory against the No. 2 team in the country following an astonishing 12-point comeback in the second half. Approaching a Big East tournament record of three straight overtime games, Cartwright launched a fadeaway over No. 2 Villanova’s (30-4, 14-4 Big East) dynamic forwards in redshirt freshman Omari Spellman and redshirt junior Mikal Bridges.

Cartwright, who owned the Garden the previous two nights, missed long. The game went into overtime, and the Bridges buried the Friars (21-13, 10-7 Big East) with a couple threes.

As the game concluded, Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) was donning a navy Hoya sweatsuit. But he was 1,488 miles away in Lake Charles, La., paying a visit to the No. 84 recruit in 2018’s class and future Hoya Josh LeBlanc.

As NCAA tournament-bound Big East programs battled it out for a conference title Friday and Saturday, Ewing watched his two biggest recruits capture their respective state titles. Internet sensation Mac McClung dropped 47 points in his Virginia state title on Friday while LeBlanc led his team to victory Saturday.

Three days before, Ewing coached what could be the final game of his inaugural head coaching season. Despite its previous two close wins, Georgetown (15-15, 5-13 Big East) fell to the St. John’s Red Storm (16-17, 4-14 Big East) 88-77 in the third meeting this season between the two programs.

It marked the second straight year the Hoyas fell to the Red Storm on Wednesday of the Big East tournament.

The game was in many ways emblematic of the Hoyas’ season.

Junior forward Marcus Derrickson, left, and junior center Jessie Govan, second from left, scored 20 and 28 points, respectively, in Wednesday’s loss to St. John’s. Govan led the team in scoring and rebounds this season with 17.9 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.

Junior big men Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson anchored Georgetown’s offense. Govan finished with 28 points on 21 shots and 11 rebounds, while Derrickson poured in 20 points of his own, 18 coming from outside the arc.

The Hoyas played another solid first half, something they have done consistently better than their record would allude.

St. John’s spent the entire first half trapping Derrickson on the block, giving him the chance to consistently find an open man. Graduate student guard Trey Dickerson and freshman forward Antwan Walker were unlikely beneficiaries. They combined for 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

According to St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin, poor rotational defense led the Red Storm to make second half adjustments to guard Derrickson straight up and cut down the Hoyas’ ball movement.

“Both he and Govan, we started off doubling them, and then it wasn’t working too well,” Mullin said. “We were not aggressive on our rotation. So we went away from it. So the first half, like I said, they got whatever they wanted. We kind of went back to just traditional straight up man-to-man, put the pressure on our guys to guard their guy and they did so.”

Despite 48 first-half points and a six-point lead at the break, the Hoyas could find no other contributors.

The trio of freshman guard Jahvon Blair, junior guard Kaleb Johnson and freshman forward Jamorko Pickett went 0-for-13 on the night.

Ewing said that the Hoyas wanted to play inside-out basketball, put the big men in the post and allow the perimeter shooters to take threes, but the team failed to execute.
“If you look at our guys, [Derrickson] took 11 — he took, what, 12 shots and 11 of his shots were 3s. And that’s not good for us. He has to be able to be able to score in the post, along with shooting his 3s,” Ewing said. “And [Govan] mixed his up. So when we have it rolling, it’s a mixture. And then our perimeter guys are able to knock down their shots. And they weren’t able to knock their shots down. They were horribly cold.”

Despite carrying the team, Govan was not pleased with himself.

“I didn’t do enough today for us to get the win,” Govan said. “I tried. I tried my hardest, but there’s things we could all improve on, myself included. It’s going to be a big offseason for all of us trying to come back and really take the Big East by storm.”

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