A jump hook from Qudus Wahab with 1:16 left put the Hoyas up 70-69, and Providence never led again. Friars guard David Duke missed the second of two free throws with a second remaining that would have tied the score at 73.
Georgetown’s losing streak was the second longest of Coach Patrick Ewing’s four-year tenure, and Saturday’s win was well-timed: The Hoyas’ schedule doesn’t get easier from here, with back-to-back games against No. 17 Creighton up next.
“Being locked down and shut down, it’s rough,” Ewing said. “Then when we were finally able to come back, it was like we were moving in quicksand. That’s how we started the game. I’m very happy with how the guys reacted. They fought their way out of it, dug their way out of that quicksand. We showed some growth today. . . . We just kept on fighting, kept on persevering, and then were able to come away with the win.”
Reserve guard Chudier Bile led Georgetown (4-8, 2-5 Big East) with season highs of 19 points and nine rebounds, injecting some life into a struggling offense in the first half. He helped whittle the Friars’ 29-14 lead to 42-38 at halftime and then was rewarded by starting the second half. His three-pointer with 18:32 remaining gave the Hoyas their first lead, 43-42.
“I said, ‘This is what I expected from you when I got you, to do things like this,’ ” Ewing said of Bile, a graduate transfer from Northwestern State. “He’s that type of athlete. I told him, ‘Hopefully this won’t be the first or last time I see this out of you.’ ”
Swingman Jamorko Pickett finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists, and guard Donald Carey chipped in 10 points, including a banked-in three-pointer followed by a fast-break layup that gave the Hoyas a 67-65 lead with four minutes to go.
The Hoyas didn’t use a gaudy run to rebound from their early deficit. They slowly cut into the Providence lead with consistency on offense and a better effort on defense after the Friars (9-8, 5-6) opened the game 4 for 4 from the field. Ewing mixed in a combination of presses, zones, man-to-man and switching defense to keep Providence off balance.
“It’s been tough having to get the games postponed and then having to go in quarantine,” Bile said. “. . . We had a team meeting a few days ago where we were able to really hash stuff out and come together as a team. I think that showed today on the court.”
Duke, the Big East’s No. 2 scorer, had just five points on 2-for-11 shooting, but the Hoyas had no answer for A.J. Reeves early. The guard scored 22 points in the first half and finished with 28. He made 6 of 12 three-pointers; as a team, Georgetown was 6 for 23 from behind the arc.
“We’ve just got to get tougher,” said Providence Coach Ed Cooley, who wore a towel over his shoulder, as he has all season, in honor of former Georgetown coach John Thompson. “We have three Big East losses by a combined [four] points. At some point, you have to pay attention to details when the game is on the line and put a body on someone.”
As they ended their skid, the Hoyas saw some trends turn in their favor. Georgetown’s bench outscored Providence’s 28-12, and the Hoyas won the rebounding battle 47-33. Seven turnovers were a season low for the Hoyas; they entered averaging 15.8, which ranked 304th in the nation.
“We just played together,” Carey said. “We stayed with it no matter what happened in the game. . . . Ultimately we just made enough plays at the end to get the win — that’s the biggest difference.”
Notes: Wahab, whose birthday was Saturday, did not start for the first time this season. Fellow sophomore center Timothy Ighoefe got the nod in his place. Ewing said it was just a lineup change and that Wahab played well. . . .
Ewing, his coaching staff and most of the Hoyas wore pink Air Jordan XXXVs to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program.