James Akinjo and Mac McClung will get their first taste of the Big East Tournament on Thursday when sixth-seeded Georgetown squares off against No. 3 seed Seton Hall in the quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden in New York. The freshmen duo has led the Hoyas to their first winning season in four years but a trip to the NCAA Tournament is far from guaranteed as they prepare to face the Pirates, whose postseason fate also hangs in the balance.

Akinjo saved perhaps his best game for the regular season finale at Marquette, matching his career high with 25 points as the Hoyas faced a must-win situation. The 6-0 guard from California sank a career-best five 3-pointers while notching five rebounds and five assists in the 86-84 triumph, which came on the heels of the Hoyas allowing 101 points in a loss to DePaul. "We had a great win and it would be a shame if we don't follow it up on Thursday with another great performance," coach Patrick Ewing told the media of his team, which has won three of its last four games and four of six. "It was a total team effort for us to get the win. We have to build on it." The Pirates hit a mini-slump with three straight losses, including a 77-71 double overtime setback to Georgetown on March 2, but rode Myles Powell, the No. 2 scorer in the Big East at 22.6 points per game, to victories over No. 22 Marquette and No. 25 Villanova squads to close out the regular season.

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ABOUT GEORGETOWN (19-12): McClung, who along with Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc, was named to the Big East All-Freshman team, also came through with a big game against Marquette after enduring some late-season struggles. The Virginia native scored 11 of his 23 points from the foul line and scored seven points over a two-minute span late in the second half to help the Hoyas turn back the Golden Eagles. McClung finished the regular season second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game, ahead of Akinjo (13.3) and LeBlanc (9.4), who averaged 7.5 rebounds while shooting 62.9 percent - third in the Big East.



ABOUT SETON HALL (18-12): The Big East Player of the Year award will likely go to either Powell or Marquette's Markus Howard, but Powell may have settled the debate with the way he played over the final five weeks of the regular season. The junior scored 17 points or more in each of the final 10 games, averaging 25.5 points over that span, and was even better in the final four games, scoring 28.8 points per game. Powell, one of four players to earn unanimous All-Big East first-team honors along with Howard (conference-high 25.0 points) and Villanova's Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, got it done in other ways too, averaging 5.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.4 steals in those final 10 contests.

TIP-INS

1. Powell has averaged 27.3 points in the last four meetings against the Hoyas, including 32.5 in the two games this season.

2. The Hoyas and the Pirates have split eight meetings in the Big East Tournament but have not met since 2005, a first-round win for Georgetown.

3. Georgetown's Jessie Govan, who topped 20 points in both regular season meetings with Seton Hall, earned All-Big East first-team honors for the second straight season.

PREDICTION: Seton Hall 86, Georgetown 76  Bet Now

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