Feb. 10, 2014
by Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON - D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera led four Hoyas in double figures with 22 points as Georgetown won its fourth straight game in defeating Providence 83-71 on Monday night in front of 8,063 fans at Verizon Center.
Georgetown improved to 15-9 and evened its BIG EAST record at 6-6 while earning a season series split with Providence which dropped its third straight game to fall to 16-9 and 6-6 in the league.
Senior guard Markel Starks scored 14 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Junior forward Jabril Trawick added 12 points and three rebounds while freshman forward Reggie Cameron scored eleven points to round out Hoyas in double- figures as Georgetown set a season high in points during BIG EAST play.
Georgetown also received solid contributions from the interior as senior forward Nate Lubick chipped in with eight points, six rebounds, and two blocks while junior forward Mikael Hopkins added eight points, 11 rebounds, and also added two blocks. Seniors Aaron Bowen (six points) and Moses Ayegba (two points) helped the Hoyas hold a 20-4 advantage in bench point and ensured that all eight Hoyas that saw the court scored at least one field goal on the night.
Smith-Rivera scored 13 of his 24 points in the second half as Georgetown rallied from a 36-32 halftime deficit. The sophomore guard again turned in another all-around performance by adding a game high five assists to go along with five rebounds.
"He shouldn't be defined by just scoring points," Coach Thompson III explained. "We need him to rebound, we need him throw passes to other guys and then he'll find a way to get his baskets. He did a good job of that today."
Georgetown improved to 8-2 against Providence under Coach John Thompson III and improved to 22-4 all-time against the Friars at home. The Hoyas current four game winning streak is their second longest streak of the season.
"I like the way our guys are competing," Coach Thompson III said about his team's current winning streak on the heels of a five-game losing skid. "We've had different guys step up and make big plays. Jabril [Trawick]'s three was a big, big shot. We made our foul shots coming down the end."
After trailing by as many as seven midway through the second half at 54-47, Georgetown began to methodically chip away at the Friars lead.
Georgetown managed to regain the lead after a Markel Starks jumper pushed the Hoyas ahead 58-57 with 6:41 remaining but the game remained in the balance for the next few possessions.
Leading 60-59, Starks missed a three-pointer but was able to grab the offensive rebound after Lubick batted the loose ball back with his right fist towards Starks deep in the backcourt. The Hoyas point man drove straight to the rim before dropping it off to Lubick for an easy finish which pushed Georgetown's lead to 62-59.
Moments later Georgetown again used an offensive rebound - this time from junior forward Mikael Hopkins - in setting up Smith-Rivera's second three-pointer of the night to give the Hoyas their largest lead of the second half at 65-59.
On the very next possession - and from nearly the exact same spot on the court as Smith-Rivera's previous three-pointer, Trawick received a swing pass from Starks before burying his fifth three-pointer of the season, bringing the fans to their feet and extending the lead to 68-61 with just over three minutes left in the game.
Georgetown was able to keep Providence at arm's length the rest of the way as the Hoyas converted 11-of-12 from the line and the Hoyas moved into a fourth place tie with Marquette and Providence in the BIG EAST standings.
"It was good for us," Smith-Rivera said after scoring at least 20 points for the sixth time this season. "It was more of a redemption game than anything. We definitely wanted to come out here and get another win." Georgetown shot 47 percent (26-of-55) from the field while holding Providence to just 38 percent from the field as the Friars connected on just 21-of-56 from the field. Perhaps just as important was the Hoyas matching a season-low with just five turnovers to go along with 15 assists.
"Guys are stepping up," Coach Thompson III said. "I think there's an understanding that just about everyone is going to get a shot and you just have to step up and play. Guys are doing their job when called upon and we have to keep that mindset."
Georgetown took control of the game early on by hitting 11 of its first 21 shots from the field and took a 27-15 lead with 7:39 remaining after a D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera midrange jumper.
Providence senior guard Bryce Cotton scored 19 first half points going 5-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Cotton's three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Friars a 36-32 lead heading into halftime locker room. Cotton finished with a game-high 31 points to lead three Friars in double-figures.
Cameron scored the first five points of the second half to cut the Friars lead to 38-37 with 17:46 remaining. It was Cameron's 21st made three-pointer of the season as the freshman scored in double-figures of the third time in his young career.
Georgetown is back in action on Sunday, Feb. 17, visiting Madison Square Garden for the second time this month, playing long-time BIG EAST Conference rival St. John's. Tip-of at the World's Most Famous Arena is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on Fox Sports 1 with Dick Stockton and Tarik Turner calling the action. The game can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.
Notes: Starks passed former Hoya guard Jessie Sapp ('09) on the school's all-time 3pt list with his two three-pointers against the Friars Monday night. Starks now ranks 8th all time for the Hoyas with 149 career makes from long range. With six rebounds, Lubick passed former Hoya Jameel Watkins ('00) to move into 25th place on the school's all-time list with 559.