Patrick Ewing removed his tie and gently placed it, neatly folded, into the pocket of his suit jacket at the start of the second overtime Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena as fans rose in the stands behind him. His college archrival Chris Mullin, now the head coach at St. John’s, stood at the other end of the sideline, and Ewing, almost out of habit, was readying himself for a fight.
The Georgetown men’s basketball coach found a willing participant in Marcus Derrickson, the junior forward Ewing had famously scolded this month during a game against DePaul for taking a one-legged, step-back jumper during a game. “What kind of shot is that? . . . Do you work on that shot?” Ewing interrogated during a timeout, a moment that was captured on a video that went viral.
On Saturday, Derrickson got his redemption. The forward scored a career-high 27 points, including 16 in 10 minutes of overtime, to lead the Hoyas to their first home conference win, 93-89 over the Red Storm.
It was the Hoyas’ first victory in double overtime since a 79-78 win over Connecticut in 2013 and Ewing’s second victory in as many coaching matchups this season against his college foil-turned-good friend. Ewing said the atmosphere — an announced crowd of 8,976 donned gray T-shirts that were draped over seats before the game — the energy and the effort of the players all reminded him of those battles he and Mullin shared in the 1980s.
“It’s funny, Chris and I were kind of joking around about it a little bit at half court while the game was going on,” Ewing said. “You know, I’m out there sweating, he’s out there sweating. It’s like we’re physically out there playing, but we’re on the sideline coaching.
“It was a great game for both fans, both schools, because both teams played their hearts out. Both teams gave all the effort and energy that they could. It was just unfortunate for them that we made the plays that we needed to make down the stretch to secure the win.”
Derrickson shined after regulation, scoring all of Georgetown’s 10 points in the first overtime.
The Hoyas (13-6, 3-5 Big East) trailed 78-73 with 24 seconds left in the first overtime when Derrickson made all of his free throws after being fouled while shooting a three-pointer. After Shamorie Ponds made 1 of 2 free throws, Derrickson hit a three-pointer — his only make out of six attempts from beyond the arc — with four seconds left to force the second overtime.
There, a jumper from Derrickson helped Georgetown build a five-point lead with about 1½ minutes left, and a jumper from sophomore guard Jagan Mosely made it seven as a shorthanded St. John’s (10-10, 0-8) withered with two starters having fouled out. Mosely sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with two seconds left.
Derrickson slumped his head back when it finally ended, relieved to have gotten such a win after an overtime loss to Syracuse in December and a double-overtime loss to Butler in Georgetown’s Big East opener. In addition to his 27 points on 9-for-23 shooting, the Bowie native led all players with 11 rebounds.
“It wasn’t tough at all,” he said. “We were using the Syracuse and the Butler game as motivation; we don’t want to have another outcome like that.”
Derrickson, who was limited to 15 minutes by Ewing in a blowout loss to Creighton on Jan. 6 — the game after he was scolded for his shot selection — played a season-high 47 minutes Saturday.
“He was big for us the whole game,” Ewing said. “Shoot, I mean, a big three, big rebounds, big game. . . . Those are big minutes, 47 minutes. I told him, both he and Jessie [Govan], this is not the time to be tired. This is winning time. You’ve got to suck it up and play.”
Govan had 16 points on 5-for-14 shooting and eight rebounds but found himself in foul trouble early and played just six minutes in the first half. A pair of freshmen stepped up in his place: Forward Jamorko Pickett finished with a career-high 16 points, including four three-pointers, and added nine rebounds and four turnovers. Guard Jahvon Blair scored 15 points, including four three-pointers, off the bench.
Blair’s only turnover of the night came with 49 seconds left in regulation and ultimately allowed St. John’s to pull within one point. But overall, Ewing viewed the level of play from his freshmen as a step forward for Georgetown.
“I thought that today, those guys finally showed that they’re not freshmen anymore,” Ewing said. “They did everything for us both offensively and defensively. . . . They still managed some mistakes, but I thought for the most part they did a lot of things for us.”
He praised Pickett in particular for starting to see himself as more than a three-point shooter and said: “He’s finally starting to believe in himself. That’s the Jamorko Pickett I recruited.”
The win was a balm to Georgetown after consecutive tough defeats against the league’s upper tier, including a 32-point loss to No. 1 Villanova on Tuesday.
St. John’s, meanwhile, remains the only winless team in Big East play.
The Red Storm has suffered several tough defeats this season, losing to the top four teams in the league — Villanova, Xavier, Creighton and Seton Hall — by a combined 25 points. Ponds led all players with 33 points.
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