FILE PHOTO: NATE MOULTON/THE HOYA Senior center Joshua Smith notched his second straight double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Georgetown's overtime loss to Providence on Saturday afternoon.
FILE PHOTO: NATE MOULTON/THE HOYA
Senior center Joshua Smith notched his second straight double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Georgetown’s overtime loss to Providence on Saturday afternoon.

Georgetown knew what it would have to accomplish in order to win Saturday’s game against Providence — slow down the Friars’ two-man show on offense, headlined by senior forward LaDontae Henton and sophomore guard Kris Dunn, who respectively lead the Big East in points and assists.

For 40 minutes, the Hoyas did largely just that — Henton scored an inefficient 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting and Dunn was held to eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. Unfortunately for Georgetown (10-5, 2-2 Big East), Saturday’s contest went into overtime, where Dunn doubled his eight points and Providence (13-4, 3-1 Big East) was able to hold on for a 60-57 victory.

“You can look at the numbers and say, ‘Oh we did a good job on [Dunn and Henton],’” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “But when they had to make plays, those two made plays.”

The end of the game may have been exciting, but the beginning was certainly not. Both teams looked as if they had slept through their alarm clocks, combining to shoot a meager 29 percent from the floor in the first half.

On the offensive end, Georgetown struggled initially with Providence’s 2-3 zone, showing little improvement from the second half of Tuesday night’s 65-59 win over Marquette in which the Golden Eagles stymied the Hoya offense with their more aggressive zone.

Junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and senior center Joshua Smith, Georgetown’s two leading scorers, were only able to generate eight first-half points. Even when the Hoyas created open shots, they largely failed to convert, as senior guard Jabril Trawick and freshmen forwards Paul White and Isaac Copeland all missed three-pointers.

“The first half we fell into a rut. We did too much passing around the perimeter,” Thompson said. “We were too stationary without looking to drive the zone.”

In order to remain in the game, Georgetown needed its defense to pick up the slack for the first 20 minutes, which it did. The Hoyas got hands in the faces of Providence’s three-point shooters and effectively contested shots near the rim. Nevertheless, the Friars took a 23-21 advantage into the break.

The flow of the game changed in the second half as Georgetown managed to get its offense going while maintaining its high level of defense. Holding Providence to 1-of-11 shooting after halftime, the Hoyas were able to stretch their lead to 34-28 on a Smith-Rivera jumper with 13:23 remaining.

It was one of three instances in which Georgetown was able to open up a lead of five points or greater, but each time Providence responded with a run of its own. The 34-28 lead was trimmed to 34-33, a 41-34 advantage was erased by a 7-0 run and finally a 46-41 lead with 3:59 left morphed into a 46-47 deficit with just under two minutes remaining.

The Hoyas were haunted throughout the afternoon by their inability to convert free throws, making only 11 of their 20 attempts. Most notably, senior forward Mikael Hopkins missed all six of his attempts in the second half, including four in the final five minutes.

Georgetown entered the final minute of regulation with the ball and trailing by one point, but a lackadaisical offensive possession resulted in a Smith-Rivera three-pointer taken from practically the center court logo.

After Henton made only one of two free throws on the other end, Georgetown had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the final 21 seconds. White missed a three-pointer from the left wing, but Smith made a tremendous play to grab the offensive rebound and convert a put-back, knotting the game at 50 with 1.8 seconds remaining.

For Smith, the play was simple.

“The ball came off and I just reacted,” he said.

In overtime, it was Georgetown’s turn to chase the lead. Spurred by a Dunn three-pointer and a three-point play, Providence opened up the extra period with a 58-52 advantage. The Hoyas did not give up and took control of the ball with 10 seconds remaining and trailing by three. On the ensuing possession however, Smith-Rivera fed the ball to White in the right corner where the freshman was unable to get off a shot as the clock expired.

Smith-Rivera and Smith each finished with 15 points to lead the Hoyas, with Smith notching his second straight double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds.

The loss dropped the Hoyas to 0-2 in true road games this season, a troubling start given the fact that the team went just 2-7 during Big East play away from the Verizon Center last year.

Incidentally, DePaul — the last team Georgetown did beat on the road — is next up for the Hoyas on Tuesday night in Chicago. The Blue Demons have jumped out to a 3-1 start in the Big East after losing their final six nonconference games. Georgetown will likely have revenge on its mind, as it was DePaul that upset the Hoyas in the first round of last year’s Big East Tournament, ending any hope of an at-large bid for the Blue and Gray.

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