November 14, 2018 / 4:30 AM / in a month

Georgetown muscles past Illinois with late surge

Freshman guard James Akinjo produced 19 points and 7 assists — including a crucial 3-point play with 40 seconds to go — to lift Georgetown to an 88-80 victory over Illinois in a Gavitt Tipoff Games track meet Tuesday night in Champaign, Illinois.

Freshman forward Josh LeBlanc (14 points, 7 rebounds) and freshman guard Mac McClung (12 points, 4 assists) helped the Hoyas (3-0) shoot 56 percent from the field in the road win.

Freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu paced Illinois (1-1) with a game-high 25 points. The Illini played without sophomore guard Trent Frazier, the team’s top returning scorer, after he got the bad end of a collision during the team’s midday walkthrough and went into concussion protocol.

The teams traded small leads all night and the Hoyas didn’t take control until the final minute. With the shot clock running out, Akinjo converted a floater just inside the free-throw line as Illinois junior forward Kipper Nichols was called for sliding underneath him. When Akinjo converted the free throw, it gave Georgetown an 84-80 lead with 40 seconds left.

The Hoyas rejected Illinois’ next two shots at the rim and closed out a game that featured eight ties and nine lead changes.

Illinois’ extended pressure forced four turnovers in the first three minutes, which enabled the Illini to seize a 10-3 lead on Dosunmu’s layup with 16:35 on the clock.

From that point forward, though, the Hoyas started to shred the pressure and set up easy shots at the rim. Georgetown wound up hitting 59 percent in the first half — including 7 of 7 at the basket — to take a 39-37 halftime edge.

The Hoyas stayed hot in the second half, but Illinois kept pace as Dosunmu seized control of the offense. He reeled off 10 straight Illini points from 15:17 to 12:50 to pull Illinois even, 57-57.

Then junior point guard Andres Feliz (13 points), who started for Frazier and was tasked with hounding point guards all the way up the floor, asserted himself defensively with three steals in a 67-second stretch that turned into five points and a 66-61 Illinois lead with 10:22 to play.

Georgetown regained a 73-72 lead with 4:57 to play when McClung drove to the basket, hung in the air and fed senior guard Greg Malinowski for an unguarded 3-pointer from the corner. On Illinois’ ensuing possession, McClung outhustled Nichols to the ball at midcourt and flew in for a two-handed reverse dunk that had the Hoyas leaping off the bench in excitement.

—Field Level Media

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