Markel Starks and Coach John Thompson III.
Feb. 22, 2014
by Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON - Led by Markel Starks game-high 22 points and lifted by Jabril Trawick's return to the starting lineup, Georgetown dominated from beginning to end in defeating Xavier 74-52 in front of 11,854 fans at the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.
Trawick finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and tied a season-high with four assists as Georgetown won for the fifth time in seven games to improve to 16-11 and 7-8 in the BIG EAST. Semaj Christon scored 18 points to lead Xavier, which dropped to 18-9 and 8-6 in the league.
Starks, who scored at least 20 points for the ninth time this season, also had four assists to lead an efficient Georgetown offense that shot 52 percent for the game and committed a season low three turnovers.
"That is unbelievable," Starks said about Georgetown's fewest turnovers for a game in Coach John Thompson's 10 seasons in charge at the Hilltop.
"If we can sustain that effort and level of competitiveness every day, then we are going to do big things."
Nate Lubick added nine points, seven rebounds, and two blocks while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera chipped in with nine points and four rebounds in Georgetown's most balanced offensive output of the season. Mikael Hopkins had eight points while Aaron Bowen led all Hoyas off the bench with seven points as Georgetown split the season series with Musketeers.
Making his first start since Jan. 8 at Providence, Trawick was heavily involved early on as the Hoyas took a 16-7 lead. Trawick dished out the opening assist to Lubick, put back an offensive rebound for a layup, and hit his eighth three-pointer of the season during that initial Georgetown burst.
"Quite honestly, it has a huge impact," Coach John Thompson III said about his decision to go with Trawick from the opening whistle. "When he is on the court, we are a better team. I liked bringing him off the bench because we were getting a fusion off the bench. But we were just getting too many slow starts. We risk not having as much coming off the bench, but it turned out okay today and we are probably going to stick with it."
With a little over seven minutes remaining in the first half, Georgetown built on its early lead when Hopkins picked off an Isaiah Fillmore pass and immediately flipped it to Starks. From there Starks pushed the ball past half court and drove the lane before finding Bowen at the rim with a perfectly timed alley-opp to give the Hoyas a 29-15 lead and forced Xavier to call a timeout.
"We were overwhelmed from the beginning of the game to the end of the game," Xavier coach Chris Mack said after the game. "We had a tough time bringing the ball into the halfcourt. Georgetown's contained press turned into a turnover-type press. It's a contained-press and our guards couldn't handle it well enough."
Bowen led Georgetown with two steals as the Hoyas forced eleven Xavier turnovers in holding the Musketeers to just 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range.
Starks scored 12 of his 22 points in the first half as the Hoyas took a 42-26 advantage in the locker room.
Moses Ayegba capped off a 9-0 run with nice back down post move off of a Bowen feed to give Georgetown its first 20-point advantage at 56-35 with 11:53 remaining. Ayegba finished with four points, three rebounds, and two blocks in 16 minutes off the bench. After hitting two free throws, Smith-Rivera found a wide open Lubick under the basket for an easy layup that gave the Hoyas their largest lead of the game at 70-45 with just under five minutes left in the game.
Georgetown imposed its defensive dominance on Xavier in the second half by holding the Muskteeers to just six made field goals on 35 percent shooting and never letting its lead dip below eleven points.
The Hoyas defense held Xavier without a field goal for nearly 13 minutes during one stretch in the second half but it was the way the game started that helped Georgetown snap a two game losing skid.
Trawick, who said he plays the same way no matter when he enters the game, was a big part of that hot start.
"I knew that we needed to get off to a good start and I knew that coach put me back into the starting lineup to start the aggressiveness and start the game off strong, and that's what we did."
Notes: Jabril Trawick hit multiple three-pointers for the first time this season and the fourth time in his career. Nate Lubick broke a tie with Reggie Williams ('87) and took sole possession of 25th place on the school's all-time block list (68).
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