MEN'S BASKETBALL | Smith-Rivera Scores 33 as Hoyas Exorcise Demons
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 03:02
DePaul (11-15, 2-11 Big East) made No. 11 Georgetown (20-4, 10-3 Big East) and its modest offense look like the Showtime Lakers Wednesday night, bowing out in a 90-66 Blue and Gray blowout.
Freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera shot 10-of-12 from the field for a spectacular 33 points, the most scored by a Georgetown rookie since Victor Page’s 34 in 1996. Junior forward Nate Lubick added 15 points and eight rebounds.
“He puts the ball in the basket,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said of Smith-Rivera. “As the year has progressed, he’s gotten a little more comfortable. He knows where his shots are coming from.”
Smith-Rivera wasn’t alone in his lights-out performance — the rest of the Hoyas joined him in taking advantage of the worst defensive effort to grace Verizon Center in years. DePaul played no help defense, no transition defense and only slightly more man defense, allowing their offensively-challenged hosts to break 90 points in a game for the first time this season.
The Hoyas spent the entire second half on cruise control despite the absence of sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., who injured his knee in a first-half collision and sat for most of the second frame.
“I think he’s going to be OK — he banged knees and he was sore. I think it scared him more than anything else,” Thompson III said, adding that he could have reinserted Porter into the lineup if need be.
Early on, however, the track-meet atmosphere appeared to catch Georgetown with its guard down. The Blue and Gray bounced back from an ugly start to establish a narrow lead, but poor boxing out — and transition defense nearly as bad as DePaul’s — allowed the outmatched visitors to stick around.
The more talented team eventually prevailed, with Smith-Rivera and sophomore guard Jabril Trawick slicing through the Blue Demons’ swiss-cheese halfcourt set for open layups and easy dishes to Porter Jr. and Lubick.
Even the Blue Demons’ full-court press did little to stop the Hoyas: The few times they set it up, junior point guard Markel Starks orchestrated the press break perfectly for easy transition baskets.
Thompson III was particularly satisfied with the result in advance of Saturday’s showdown at the Carrier Dome; much of the week’s media attention had centered around the Syracuse game, and Tuesday’s practice left doubts about his team’s focus.
“I was very nervous coming into this game,” he said. “Yesterday, we probably had our worst practice of the year, by far.”
He need not worry, though. The Hoyas cruised, and the closing minutes of the game bore all the signs of a Blue and Gray blowout, with Trawick and frustrated opponents being separated by officials, dunks from junior swingman Aaron Bowen and loud “CA-PRI-O” chants from the home crowd.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of a game in which Georgetown nearly broke the century mark had nothing to do with the game itself: The Verizon Center scoreboard, which shut off completely in last night’s Wizards-Raptors game, flashed strange symbols and random letters periodically throughout the first half.
Event staff eventually turned off the player point and foul displays, leaving only the game clock and score, prompting the night’s best tweet, courtesy of the AP’s Joseph White.
“Good thing game ended when it did,” White wrote. “The way Hoyas were playing, they might've broken the scoreboard.”