Freshman Akinjo leads Georgetown past Illinois 88-80
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Freshman James Akinjo had 19 points, including a key 3-point play, and seven assists, Jamorko Pickett blocked a shot in the closing seconds and Georgetown beat Illinois 88-80 on Tuesday night.
Akinjo sank a floater in the lane with 39 seconds left and was fouled, making the free throw to extend Georgetown’s lead to 84-80. Illinois nearly turned it over, called a timeout and then had back-to-back shots blocked by Jessie Govan and Pickett. Govan made two free throws at the other end and Jagan Mosely added two more on their next possession to seal it.
Freshmen were the story for Georgetown (3-0). Josh LeBlanc had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Mac McClung had a steal and reverse dunk on a breakaway to cap a 9-2 run for a 75-72 lead with just under five minutes left.
“This game showed that our team has heart,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “It was a hard fought game and we could’ve easily have given up but we kept fighting ’til the end.”
Georgetown won for the second time in six meetings against Illinois.
Illinois freshman Ayo Dosunmu had three 3-pointers and 25 points. Andres Feliz had 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals for Illinois (1-1). Freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 12 points.
GAVITT TIPOFF GAMES
The game was part of an annual early-season series played between the Big Ten and Big East conferences, named in honor of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt.
Georgetown faced its most hostile nonconference environment since Ewing took over last season. The Hoyas’ freshmen didn’t seem to care, accounting for 61.3 percent their points.
Illinois was without starting point guard Trent Frazier. The sophomore is averaging 10 points and seven assists, after leading all Big Ten freshmen last season in scoring, assists, steals and 3-pointers during conference play.
Georgetown: The Hoyas play Loyola Marymount, of the West Coast Conference, on Friday in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in the Jamaican Classic. Austin Peay, Campbell, Central Connecticut, Florida A&M, Ohio, and South Florida round out the bracket.
Illinois: The Illini will travel to Hawaii on Thursday in preparation for the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. Illinois will face No. 3 Gonzaga on Nov. 19. ... It was Illinois’ last game at the State Farm Center until Nov. 25.