The Hoyas (5-10, 3-7 Big East) had been feeling good about their play since returning from a three-week pause because of coronavirus issues in the program. They broke a five-game skid, the second longest of Coach Patrick Ewing’s tenure, with a one-point win over Providence on Jan. 30 and then went on the road and upset Creighton, which was ranked No. 15 at the time. The Hoyas then gave No. 3 Villanova all it could handle Sunday before taking a 10-point loss that felt like progress for the program.
Tuesday’s defeat was a big step backward.
“I thought we played selfish,” Ewing said. “To a man, everyone was selfish. We’re the team that wants to play inside-out. Tonight, [Creighton] had 38 paint points; we had 12. . . . They got 19 points off our turnovers. That’s not the way we play. . . . We have to execute our game plan.”
The Hoyas’ Jamorko Pickett scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but fellow senior Jahvon Blair, the No. 4 scorer in the Big East at 17.6 points per game, managed just eight on 3-for-12 shooting. Blair didn’t play with his usual aggressiveness on offense, and nobody picked up the slack. Chudier Bile had made the biggest improvement of any Hoyas player since the coronavirus pause, but he struggled Tuesday, finishing with six points on 2-for-7 shooting.
Christian Bishop led Creighton (15-5, 11-4) with 17 points and nine rebounds. Mitch Ballock added 14 points, and Damien Jefferson finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Hoyas played a horrid opening 20 minutes, and their 33-21 halftime deficit could have been much worse.
Georgetown couldn’t do much right; it had 13 turnovers in the first half and regularly lost the ball down low. Easy passes bounced off hands, and poor decisions led to the ball being thrown out of bounds. Creighton had 11 steals in the first half and finished with a season-high 19. Georgetown entered averaging 14.9 turnovers, second most in the Big East, but finished Tuesday’s game with 24.
The Hoyas also fell in love with the three-pointer; they attempted 20 in the first half, making just five. They finished the night at 27.6 percent from the field, which led to their lowest scoring output of the season. Creighton Coach Greg McDermott called it “one of the better defensive outings” his team has had this year.
Georgetown didn’t fare much better on the defensive end. Creighton had 20 points in a little over seven minutes, putting it on pace to reach triple digits. A smaller Creighton lineup had six layups or dunks among its first nine baskets.
The Bluejays opened the second half with more of the same, posting a 10-3 run to take a 43-24 lead before stretching their advantage to as many as 24 points on the Hoyas’ home court.
“Seniors and fifth-year guys — that’s who you’d expect to calm things down,” Ewing said. “But as a group, we just did not have it today. You’ve got to take your hat off to Creighton. They came out and played the way I thought they were going to play, being that we beat them at their home court and they wanted to make sure that they beat us here tonight. That’s the way they came out. They took our post guys out of the game. They trapped them every time they got it in the post.
“Our offense was nonexistent tonight, and that’s the reason why we lost.”