It came decorated with a gorgeous 22.2 — Texas’s second-half shooting percentage (6 for 27) — that Georgetown largely earned.
It came with a big, fat 57.7 — Georgetown’s second-half shooting percentage (15 for 26) — which, through teamwork and the ball moving around the offense in a way that seemed right out of some later stage of a season, Georgetown also largely earned.
It came with fifth-year Texas coach Shaka Smart saying: “I was very aware of the fact they played with an edge and played with a level of aggression that was a notch or two higher than maybe they did in the first four games. They definitely did that.”
Throw all the numbers atop a four-year NCAA tournament drought that sits at the base of things and a 3-1 start to this season with its defensive shakiness, and that’s a heap of happy.
“I thought that today we took a step forward because it wasn’t just individuals,” Ewing said. “We were more of a team than we have been in the past.” He noted Mac McClung’s 19 points that led the team, then finished the sentence with, “but it wasn’t just him.”
Blend that with defense Ewing called “much better, much better,” especially guarding individually after halftime, and Georgetown (4-1) had itself an early-season benchmark, something about as close to a model of how it wishes to play as a team can get in November. It even had a soundtrack in some near-booming, late-stage Garden chants of “Let’s Go Hoyas,” which Ewing helped stir and later described as: “Felt like it was back in the Knick days. Back in the Knick days.”
When his audience of reporters laughed at that, he said, “No, I just wanted my team to know that we have a lot of Georgetown supporters here.”
A look through the stat sheet reveals all kinds of listenable music that explained how Georgetown zoomed from a 42-35 deficit in the last minute of the first half to an 82-64 lead just before the last minute of the second and how it rallied while scoring on 11 straight possessions, the majority of them pretty. Try the 13 assists among the 28 field goals. Check the rebounding totals, which went from 19-11 against at halftime to 34-28 ahead at the end.
Note sophomore James Akinjo’s assists, six of them, as he offset his 2-for-10 night by repeatedly flying by Texas defenders who might see his back in their sleep. Check Akinjo and McClung’s combined number of drawn fouls: 15 (eight for McClung).
“To foul 25 times completely goes against what we value and what we work on,” Smart said. “But they had a lot to do with that. They deserve a ton of credit.”
Free throws: Georgetown 21 for 28, Texas 9 for 10. Reasons: quickness, energy, aggression.
Look at the sharing of points (McClung’s 19, Jamorko Pickett’s 15, Akinjo’s 14, Omer Yurtseven’s 10, Josh LeBlanc’s nine, Qudus Wahab’s nine) and of rebounds (seven guys with three or more), and a coach could have reasons to exit one of his favorite old buildings feeling hopeful.
All of it bulldozed the inconvenience of foul trouble for the 7-foot Yurtseven, much of it stacked up through away-from-the-ball calls, because even that unearthed a bright spot, 6-foot-11 freshman Wahab’s nine points and three rebounds in relief. “When he went in, I told him, ‘You’re not a freshman right now,’ ” Ewing said.
After all that, the Hoyas made it sound as if it helped to play somebody ranked.
Said McClung: “I think it’s just a part of growing as a team as the season goes along. We knew it was a big game, so that kind of brought us together a lot.” Texas’s ranking, he thought, “kind of woke us up a little bit.”
Said Pickett, “I knew I could score like this, have an offensive game like this, every game, but today I took it personally.”
The whole thing brimmed with energy, so Ewing saw still more. Speaking of graduate student Terrell Allen and his 17 minutes of help from the bench, Ewing said, “Huge,” and, “Even though he played 17 minutes, it was more than 17 in my opinion.” Of sophomore LeBlanc’s nine points, four rebounds and an assist, Ewing said, “Josh did his thing off the bench.” He said: “We have a lot of talent, and tonight I shortened my rotation. I didn’t go as deep as I have been going.”
He complimented the guys cheering from the bench.
That may or may not summarize all the happiness.