MEN'S BASKETBALL | GU Downs Butler, Wins Third Straight
Published: Saturday, February 8, 2014
Updated: Saturday, February 8, 2014 16:02
It wasn’t pretty, but Georgetown extended its win streak to three by grinding out a 71-63 win over Butler Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center.
"As seniors, there is no tomorrow. We have a sense of urgency,” senior guard Markel Starks said. “Today’s game was a fun game. Down the stretch, we've got to be smarter. We all understand that. But right now, I'm having fun.”
The Hoyas (14-9, 5-6 Big East) and the Bulldogs (10-13, 2-9 Big East) both started tentatively, although the Bulldogs built an early seven-point lead off back-to-back three pointers.
But — perhaps feeding off a season-high announced crowd of 13,011 — Georgetown accelerated and got right back in the game.
“Enough was enough,” senior guard Markel Starks joked after the game. “Coach kind of looked at me and said, ‘let’s go.’”
A layup from junior guard Jabril Trawick — playing off the bench — tied the game at 18 with 4:39 left in the half and a three-pointer from senior forward Aaron Bowen gave Georgetown a 21-20 lead.
“They were key,” Head Coach John Thompson III said about Trawick and Bowen. “Their responsibility is to come in and give us energy and that’s what they did tonight.”
Georgetown also showed a willingness to take the ball into the paint and Bowen’s layup with two seconds remaining in the half gave Georgetown a 29-25 lead at the intermission.
The Blue and Gray showed renewed fight in the second half, especially offensively, something that put the Bulldogs on their back foot.
"[Georgetown] put the ball in the guards’ hands,” Butler Head Coach Brandon Miller said. “They made shots, they put the ball in the paint and they stopped settling."
Despite shooting 53.8 percent from the floor, the Hoyas were not able to get much breathing room in the second half.
Keyed by forward Andrew Chrabascz — who scored 24 points and shot 9-of-13 from the floor — Butler shot 55 percent in the second period.
Although Georgetown had an 11 point advantage with 6:53 to go, Butler stormed back to come within four on a tip-in from Khyle Marshall with less than two minutes to go.
A layup from Trawick gave the Hoyas a critical edge, and Starks, Bowen and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera combined to make seven of their eight free throws in the final 90 seconds, sealing a 71-63 victory.
"We have to get fouled, we have to get to the line,” Thompson III said. “The last two games, we have been putting them in."
Lubick finished just one rebound shy of his first career double double, ending the game with 10 points and nine boards.
Starks played all 40 minutes, scored 19 points and had seven assists with no turnovers.
"Markel Starks doesn't get tired,” Thompson III said. “In terms of his physical condition and conditioning, he is more diligent manner than any other player I've coached."
Smith-Rivera was only other Hoya in double figures, scoring 18 points and making all eight of his free throw attempts.
However, the sophomore missed both three-point attempts, part of a dismal 1-for-12 effort from the line for the Blue and Gray. After the game, however, Thompson III said he was unconcerned by difficulties beyond the arc.
"This team, unlike some teams we've had in the past, is not a three-point shooting team,” Thompson III said. “We rely on getting the ball into the post."
Georgetown has just one day to prepare for its next test, a Monday night date with Providence. The Friars drubbed the Hoyas, 70-52, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Jan. 8.
On Friday afternoon, Thompson III lamented the difficulty of the quick turnaround, but noted that Providence has the same timetable. The Friars played at Xavier Saturday afternoon.
Tipoff at Verizon Center on Monday is at 7 p.m. The game will also be carried on Fox Sports 1.