No. 24 Georgetown (15-6, 7-3 Big East) had a chance during its past two games to recover some momentum and display greater consistency. The team came three points away from doing just that, beating Creighton (11-13, 2-9 Big East) on the road before returning home and falling 71-74 to Providence (17-6, 7-3 Big East).
The Hoyas entered their game against Creighton needing a win to bounce back from their loss to Xavier (14-9, 5-6 Big East) and give themselves a chance at remaining in the national top 25 rankings. They dominated the Bluejays for most of the game, and their 67-40 victory last Saturday was enough to keep them at No. 24 in both major polls this week.
The Hoyas opened with nine straight points, but would go cold for a six minute stretch that saw Creighton claw its way back into the game. From there, however, the away team controlled play as the Bluejays could not find the basket, going 17 minutes without a field goal.
“It wasn’t that they took shots out of the norm,” junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who scored a game-high 24 points, said. “Today they got quite a few shots they usually knock down that they didn’t make. I think we defended well, so it kind of frustrated them a little.”
In early January, the Hoyas traveled to Providence and suffered a bitter, 57-60 defeat in overtime. On Wednesday night the Friars would once again hand Georgetown a crushing three point loss, with this one coming at Verizon Center by a score of 71-74. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera saw his three-point attempt bounce off the rim as time expired, denying the Hoyas the chance to tie the game in its final seconds.
The two teams battled throughout the first half, with the Hoyas gaining an early edge with their full-court pressure. Then the two sides would trade baskets for the remainder of the half, and a Smith-Rivera three-pointer gave the Hoyas a 47-44 lead heading into halftime.
The Hoyas used a 14-2 run early in the second half to stretch their lead to 61-52 and looked poised to take control of the game. But after Smith-Rivera’s three-pointer with just under eight minutes remaining in the game the Hoyas would not convert another field goal for the remainder of the game.
“We didn’t take care of the ball. We can’t go through stretches where we aren’t getting shots. You have to give their defense credit, but we have to be better,” Head Coach John Thompson III said.
LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn led the way for the Friars, scoring 16 and 12 points respectively. Dunn, the Big East’s assist leader, added 9 assists and 6 steals.
Smith-Rivera once again shouldered the greatest scoring load, with 21 points including five three-pointers. Senior forward Joshua Smith, freshman guard Tre Campbell and freshman forward Isaac Copeland each contributed 10 points.
A series of turnovers and fouls late in the game led to several lead changes in the final minutes. Two crucial turnovers in the closing seconds by the Hoyas, however, allowed Providence to recover their advantage and build a 74-71 lead in the final moments of the game. This would be enough for the victory, as Smith-Rivera’s shot bounced out with two seconds left on the clock.
The Hoyas will travel next to Philadelphia to take on No. 7 Villanova (20-2, 7-2 Big East) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.