Georgetown holds off Merrimack 69-67 with questionable fouls looming large late
Merrimack had three chances to put back a rebound and tie the game with under six seconds left but couldn’t finish. Georgetown escaped to a 69-67 win over the Warriors on Wednesday at Capital One Arena.
Jordan Derkack was intentionally fouled with 6.9 seconds left and Georgetown up by three points. The Hoyas took the foul so Merrimack couldn’t attempt a game-tying three.
Derkack, who led the Warriors with 22 points, made the first free throw to cut the deficit to two. He intentionally missed the second free throw to give the Warriors a chance for the tie. Devon Savage grabbed the rebound and had two chances but missed both in traffic. Budd Clark had his last-second attempt blocked.
“We put in a kid, Elliott Black, and I give him all the credit because he hasn’t played a meaningful minute yet this year,” said Merrimack coach Joe Gallo. “He could be a tight end in the NFL. He’s a strong kid. He got into them and push them under the basket and we had three good looks. Nothing more you can ask for there.”
Still, the Warriors put together an impressive effort on the road against a Big East opponent.
One of the main storylines in the game was the disparity in free throws. Georgetown had 42 attempts from the line, and the Warriors had just 21. Merrimack was called for multiple fouls on three-point shots.
“Georgetown has 9-10 guys who have never played together and they haven’t really seen a defense like ours,” Gallo said. “We knew it would take them some time to figure it out. That’s why I was disappointed with the fouls on threes. We kind of gave it to them.”
On top of Derkack’s 22 points, Clark had 11 points and he was one of four Warriors to finish with three steals (Derkack, Savage, and Jordan McKoy were the others).
It developed into a game of runs in the second half.
The Warriors trailed 34-27 at halftime but went on a 15-0 run early in the second half to take a 45-39 lead. Georgetown followed that up with a 10-1 run to give the Hoyas a 49-46 lead.
Two critical fouls in the second half didn’t go the Warriors’ way. Georgetown center Supreme Cook knocked Derkack to the floor after the Hoyas made a basket. The referees reviewed the play for several minutes but did not call a foul.
Later in half, Clark got called for a travel, and Gallo quietly grabbed a towel at his feet and tossed it back to the Merrimack bench. The officials called Gallo for a technical foul; it was a one-point game at the time, with under four minutes to play.
“It’s a problem when you play these games,” Gallo said. “I’m a 10th of the coach of Dan Hurley or Greg McDermott, but in a Big East game, there’s no way that guy is calling that foul. And then to not even give me the decency to speak to him after the game?
“That’s why you see upsets in the NCAA Tournament,” Gallo said. “These guys are spoon-fed some calls in non-league games. On a neutral floor, in a national CBS game, with the whole world watching, that guy isn’t calling that foul. I wiped my hands and threw the towel over my shoulder. I’m not the tallest guy. If I throw it low, it ends up not hitting the chair. For him to do that, and take the game out of the kids’ hands, was very unfortunate.”
NOTES: The Warriors forced 18 Georgetown turnovers. … Georgetown lost leading scorer Jayden Epps in the second half to an injury. … The Warriors outscored Georgetown in the paint 36-24.
NEXT: The Warriors will host UMass Lowell on Saturday night (7 p.m.)