Ewing’s exit? Hapless Hoyas blown out of Big East Tournament

NEW YORK (AP) — Patrick Ewing walked off the court alone Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, the site of his greatest moments as both an NBA player and Georgetown’s coach, after another blow out loss that might have been his final game leading the Hoyas.

Last-place Georgetown (7-25) was eliminated by sixth-seeded Villanova 80-48 in the first round of the Big East Tournament. School officials have given no indication of whether Ewing will be back for a seventh season, but he fell to 75-109 as coach of the program he lead to three Final Fours and a national title as player.

“No thoughts about my future,” Ewing said. “The (last) two season’s been rough. Disappointed in the outcomes of these last two years. My future’s in the hands of our president and our AD and the board of the directors.”

Athletic director Lee Reed declined to comment on Ewing’s status.

“My thoughts are with those kids right now,” Lee said outside of the Georgetown locker room. “It’s been a long year.”

The Garden will always be a second home to Ewing, with a familiar faces and warm welcomes.

He played 15 seasons for the Knicks after being drafted first overall in 1985, and became one of their all-time greats. His No. 33 hangs from the rafters at MSG.

In the first half against Villanova, Ewing shared fist bumps during a timeout with Big East officials stationed next to Hoyas’ bench, including associate commissioner and former Knicks coach Stu Jackson.

He paced the sideline in his all-black sweat suit, shouting directions to his players and looking incredulous at times when his team failed to smoothly execute its offense or allowed yet another easy Villanova basket.

“It was a rough year. It was not the year we thought we would have had,” Ewing said. ”We kept fighting. We didn’t give up, and we’re disappointed the season ended the way that it did.”

During Ewing’s four years in uniform under coach John Thompson Jr., Georgetown went 121-23, won the 1984 NCAA title and appeared in the championship game two other times. Ewing, who went 9-1 in the Big East Tournament as a player, went on to become the No. 1 overall pick following the NBA’s first draft lottery.

The unquestioned high point of his tenure as Georgetown coach came at MSG two seasons ago. In a mostly empty arena because of the pandemic, Ewing led Georgetown on a surprising run to the Big East Tournament title as the eighth seed.

The Hoyas were one-and-done in their first NCAA Tournament appearance in six years, and that magical week in New York City turned out to be an outlier rather than a turning point for the program.

Georgetown won just 13 games over the last two seasons, and he presided over a 29-game Big East losing streak that ended in January.

The regular-season ended for Georgetown last Saturday with a 40-point loss at Creighton. Things didn’t go much better at the Garden.

The Hoyas fell behind by double-digits less than 10 minutes into the first half, were down 21 at halftime and never threatened in the second half.

“Obviously, Georgetown is one of the premier programs in this league. I think he does a great job,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “It’s just the wear and tear of seasons, you never know how things are going to go. I wish them the best.”

Earlier in the day, at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim gave a series of cryptic answers when asked about whether he would return for another season.

A few hours later, the school announced Boeheim was stepping down after 47 years as coach.

Ewing made his intentions clear.

“Look, I am proud of being a Georgetown Hoya. This institution has been great to me over the years,” Ewing said. “I’d be honored to come back as the coach here. That’s it.”


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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