Men’s basketball’s mercurial season ends against FSU

March 27, 2014

Steven Criss

It seems fitting that the Georgetown men’s basketball team’s season came to a close with little fanfare. On Monday night, he Hoyas fell with a 101-90 loss against the first-seeded Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

The Blue and Gray, playing in Tallahassee, didn’t find the same support that was in abundance in their final home game at McDonough Arena, and the lack of energy was evident in their play.

After jumping out to an early 11-5 lead, thanks to two threes from senior guard Markel Starks, the Hoyas fell behind around the nine-minute mark in the first half. The Seminoles would close the half with a devestating 15-5 run that put them ahead by 13. The second half was a futile game of catch up for Georgetown, with the Hoyas never cutting the lead to fewer than eight points.

Starks, in his final game as a Hoya, scored a game-high 27 points on 50 percent shooting from the field to go with four assists and four rebounds. The senior also played all 40 minutes, a common occurrence during the 2013-2014 campaign.

“Markel … is the hardest worker that I have coached and it’s just what he has given to try himself better, to try to make his team better. He is someone, as you pointed out, he has had a lot of nice nights where he looked unstoppable,” said Georgetown men’s basketball Head Coach John Thompson III. “He is one of these guys that just wants to win, it’s not about him, it’s about us. … You wish that you had another game to coach him, but that’s life I guess.”

As was the case all season, the Hoya backcourt provided the scoring punch for the Blue and Gray. Sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, after scoring a season-high 32 points against West Virginia, scored 22 points and dished out four assists. Junior guard Jabril Trawick also added 14 points on five of nine shooting.

“We lost because they got the better of us. Our guards had a lot of responsibility, a lot of weight on their shoulders, which they for the most part, most nights, have responded to,” said Thompson. “[For] D’Vauntes and Markel it’s no secret that everybody’s game plan is to take them out of it … our other guys have done a good job at setting up screens, getting them open and getting them the ball. We went against a crew today that is just as potent as our backcourt.”

The Georgetown frontcourt failed to avoid the foul trouble that has plagued the Hoyas all season. Junior forward Mikael Hopkins, who picked up three fouls by the 14:42 mark in the first half, only played six minutes and managed 0 points on 0 for 1 shooting. Senior forward Nate Lubick, despite playing 23 minutes, only managed three shot attempts and scored five points while picking up four fouls. Sophomore center Bradley Hayes, playing an unusually high 13 minutes, picked up four fouls while senior forward Aaron Bowen scored 10 points before fouling out.

The lack of scoring contributions from the frontcourt combined with the inability to slow down the Seminoles hot shooting proved to be the difference on the day. Florida State shot a white hot 68.2 percent from the field and 68.8 percent from behind the arc.

“They were making threes no matter what defense we threw at them and that was part of the scout to try to take away the three’s… our guys didn’t do a good job of it today and they hit a couple then they got their rhythm and their confidence,” said Thompson. “We tried to do a little bit of everything. … Nothing was really effective today.”

For the Hoyas, the final loss of the season came characteristically. The devestating duo of Starks and Smith-Rivera, despite dragging the anemic Hoya frontcourt along with them, could do little to keep up with the Seminoles who made the traditionally stingy Hoya defense look porous, ending their mostly deserved run in the NIT.

The final game of the season for the quintet of Hoya seniors was a disappointing end to a disappointing season. Students who have watched Starks and Lubick over the years will agree that these dorm room names deserved to go out in style. The year began with aspirations to break the rut of postseason pain that has plagued the Blue and Gray since the 2008 NCAA tournament. Instead, Georgetown dropped below even the bar set by last year’s second round loss. Though Starks and company will be missed, not only for their contirbutions on the court, but their overall demeanor, most Hoya fans will not hesitate to look ahead to next year.




Chris Almeida
Chris Almeida was an editor for The Georgetown Voice and graduated in 2016.

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