By: Tim Van Blarcom, Feature Writer
Washington, DC– Georgetown (16-11, 7-8) avenged giving up a 17-point lead the last time they played Xavier in style as they won the rematch 74-52.Georgetown never trailed in the game.
Georgetown returned home after a dismal two game road trip that put their NCAA tournament chances in serious jeopardy. Losses to St. John’s and Seton Hall dropped Georgetown to 6-8 in conference play with only four games remaining in the regular season.
Xavier (18-8, 8-5 Big East) was 3-1 in their last 4 games and trying to hold onto third place in the Big East with only a half game lead on St. John’s. Xavier shot 64.3 percent from the field on Wednesday as they cruised pass DePaul.
Coach John Thompson III brought forward Jabril Trawick into the starting line-up for the game claiming, “When he is on the court, we’re a better team. I liked him coming off the bench but we had too many slow starts.” Georgetown came off of the blocks to a 6-0 lead after two Xavier turnovers.
When asked about the quick start Trawick said, “We wanted to come out and be the aggressor and set the tone.”
Georgetown remained in control during the first half, shooting 56 percent from the field including 4-8 from three point range. Xavier also shot well at 47.6 percent, but struggled to keep the ball under control.
The difference in the first half proved to be turnovers with Georgetown having a 6-1 advantage and scoring 13 points off turnovers, 6 on the fast break. Georgetown led 42-26 at the half.
That lead proved insurmountable for Xavier as they never got enough rhythm to threaten a comeback. Xavier spent over 10 minutes in the second half without a field goal.
Markel Starks was the MVP for Georgetown with 22 points shooting 50 percent. Starks also grabbed three rebounds, four assists and a steal with only a turnover.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was ice cold throughout the game making only 1 shot from field. DSR made up for his shooting by drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line.
The biggest improvement for the Hoyas was in the front court as the starters were able to penetrate Xavier’s zone and shoot 11-17 from the field. Foul trouble continues to haunt this group as all three starters finished with at least four fouls and Mikael Hopkins fouled out of the game with 8:53 remaining.
Nate Lubick had one of his better games, grabbing seven rebounds and two blocks to along with his nine points
Moses Ayegba provided a defensive boost off the bench and kept Xavier honest in the paint. Ayegba grabbed three rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in 16 minutes.
Xavier shot a respectable 42 percent in the game but a slow start and 11 turnovers buried their chances early. In the second half, Georgetown started running the clock early on and beating Xavier presses with quickness and sharp passes.
With 1:08 remaining and up 72-52, JTIII sent in the walk-ons to a standing ovation.
In his post-game comments, Xavier coach Chris Mack could only say, “They out played us, they out hustled us, they out coached us.”
Georgetown’s fleeting NCA tournament chances are based solely on their big wins this season against VCU and Michigan State. Still, they need to finish above the .500 mark in conference play to be a realistic contender for an at-large bid. That would mean going 3-1 in their remaining games.
Starks summed up their chances with, “If we can just sustain that effort, we can do big things. But we have to do that every day.”
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