Dec. 7, 2013
by Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON - Georgetown used a superb first half defensive performance and clutch free throw shooting in the final minutes to hold off Colgate 61-55 for its fifth straight win in front of 7,966 fans at the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.
Joshua Smith's 14 points led the way for the Hoyas (6-2) while seniors Markel Starks (12 points) and Nate Lubick (10 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers on the day for Georgetown.
Despite leading by as many as 14 in the second half, Georgetown needed to hit on 8-of-10 free throws in the final 2:46 to hold on for the narrow victory.
Colgate (4-3), which lost for the first time in five games, was led by sophomore Austin Tillotson's game-high 21 points including a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
Georgetown opened the game with a 10-0 run and actually held the Raiders scoreless for the first nine minutes. Colgate, which came into the game leading the nation in three-point shooting, missed their opening eight attempts from long range and its first 11 attempts overall.
For the half, Georgetown held Colgate to just 19 percent from the field - including just 3-of-14 from long distance.
When Georgetown wasn't forcing Colgate into a difficult shot, the Hoyas were causing turnovers. The Hoyas forced eight first half turnovers, including three ten-second backcourt violations.
Georgetown took a 21-15 lead into the halftime break as Mikael Hopkins led the way with eight points and five rebounds off the bench. Hopkins provided the highlight of the half with a steal which he quickly turned into a breakaway dunk that energized the crowd.
Hopkins finished with nine pints and a season-high eight rebounds.
The junior big man's play off the bench hasn't gone unnoticed.
"He has done that for several games now," said coach John Thompson III. "He comes in and gives us a boost. He's been doing a good job of rebounding. He's pursing the ball. He's getting rebounds out of his area, he's getting ones in his area, so I think he's been giving us a pretty big lift off the bench in general."
Unlike their last win over High Point in which the Hoyas used a strong backcourt performance, it was the front court that did they bulk of the damage on Saturday - particularly to begin the second half.
Lubick, Smith, and senior Moses Ayegba scored 20 of a combined 28 points after the halftime break. For the game, Georgetown used its size advantage to outscore Colgate 38-20 in the paint.
With Smith saddled on the bench with foul trouble, Thompson III turned to Ayegba, who responded with offensive rebounds and ensuing putbacks on consecutive possessions to give the Hoyas a 38-25 lead with 14:34 remaining.
Then after Colgate cut Georgetown's margin to 43-38, Lubick took his turn scoring down low with consecutive hook shots to push the lead back up to nine at 47-38 with 6:42 left in the game.
Lubick finished with a season-high ten points and seven rebounds. For the senior, it was his first double figure scoring effort of the young season and something Thompson III would like to see continue. "We did a better job of getting [Lubick] the ball," Thompson III said afterwards. "We have to get him the ball down there, because he scores at an efficient rate down there."
Markel Starks finished the game by scoring 10 of his 12 points after halftime including a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final minutes. Starks was 6-of-7 from the line for the game and also handed out five assists.
Georgetown improved to 8-1 against Colgate all-time and 149-85 against the Patriot League.
The Hoyas have a ten day break before hosting Elon on December 17 at 7 p.m. on CBSN in the final game of a season-long four game home stand. The game can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.