Jan. 27, 2014
By Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON - Georgetown senior guard Markel Starks scored a game-high 20 points - passing a major milestone in the process - but it still wasn't enough to lead a late comeback as the Hoyas dropped their fifth straight game, 65-60 to No. 9 Villanova on Monday night at the Verizon Center in front of 11,204 fans.
Starks, who also had a game-high five assists, scored the last six points of the game for the Hoyas as Georgetown tried to mount a late comeback in a half where there were five ties, two lead changes, and neither team led by more than seven.
Georgetown dropped to 11-9 and 3-6 in the BIG EAST. James Bell led Villanova with 16 points and hit three three-pointers as the Wildcats defeated the Hoyas for just the third time in their last 11 meetings. Villanova now sits at 18-2, 7-1.
A floating Starks jumper in the lane brought the Hoyas to within 56-54 with 4:04 remaining and moved the point guard into the school's 1,000 point club. Starks is the 44th player in school history to reach the milestone and the ninth player to do so under the tutelage of coach John Thompson III.
"It means a lot," Starks said during the post-game press conference. "I've been wanting to come here my entire life so to be inducted [to the 1,000 point club], it means a lot."
Starks has now gone for at least 20 points in three straight games and a team-high seven times this season. It was the 13th time he has accomplished the feat for his career.
Bell hit his final three-pointer of the night after that Starks milestone score to push the Wildcats lead back up to five at 59-54 with 3:31 remaining. The Hoyas weren't able to get closer than four points the rest of the way as Georgetown has now dropped three straight games at home for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
"We are going to get out of this hole," coach Thompson III said about his team's outlook despite the recent skid. "Each game we are trying different things. Some things work and some things don't. There is a lot of season left - we are at the halfway point of conference play."
Trailing 35-30 at the half, freshman forward Reggie Cameron started the second the second half by rattling in a three-pointer to cut the lead to two with 18:56 remaining. Cameron scored nine of his 12 points in the second half, reaching double figures for the second time in his young Hoya career . Over the next 11 minutes, neither team led by more than four points until Darrun Hilliard's layup put Villanova up 55-50 with 7:03 remaining.
Starks gave the Hoyas their only lead of the second half with two free throws at the 14:42 mark to push Georgetown ahead 41-39. Bell put Villanova back on top at 43-41 with a three-pointer with 12:52 remaining.
From there Georgetown would pull to within a basket on four separate occasions, the last time after an empathic Mikael Hopkins two handed flush that brought the Hoyas to within 52-50 with 7:50 remaining. The junior forward finished with six points and five rebounds.
Georgetown opened up the game on an 8-0 run after Markel Starks drilled a long range three-pointer with 17:28 left in the first half. Villanova immediately responded with a 19-4 run after back-to-back three-pointers by Ryan Arcidiacono to give the Wildcats a 19-12 lead with 11:34 remaining in the first half.
Junior forward Jabril Trawick knocked down a three-pointer and then sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit two free throws to bring the Hoyas back to within 19-17 with 9:54 remaining.
Trawick made his first appearance for the Hoyas since breaking his jaw in a loss at Providence on Jan 8, finishing with three points in 12 minutes. Smith-Rivera finished eight points.
Senior forward Aaron Bowen contributed seven points, five rebounds, and two steals. His steal in the second half immediately led to a fast break dunk, bringing the Hoyas level with Villanova at 43-43 and the Hoya faithful to their feet with 11:54 remaining.
"This group is going to stay together," Thompson III said as his Hoyas move forward. "We are going to get out of this hole. Collectively we are going to figure it out how to get out of this hole."
Georgetown is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 1, visiting New York City and playing at Madison Square Garden against No. 7 Michigan State in Fox Sports' Super Saturday. Tip-off at the World's Most Famous Arena is slated for 3 p.m. The game can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.