Ben There Dunn That: Bentil and Dunn combine for 52 to lead No. 10 Providence past Hoyas

January 31, 2016

Santul Nerkar

Just four days after mounting a valiant comeback win over Creighton, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (13-9, 6-3 Big East) could not repeat the same late-game heroics, as the Hoyas fell to No. 10 Providence (18-4, 6-3 Big East) 73-69 in front of 14,481 fans at Verizon Center Saturday night.

Sophomore guard L.J. Peak scored a team-high 19 points, senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 18 points, and senior center Bradley Hayes had his fourth double-double of the season, 13 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome the Providence duo of junior guard Kris Dunn and sophomore forward Ben Bentil, whose efforts moved the Friars into a tie for third place with Georgetown in the Big East standings.

Santul Nerkar

Dunn and Bentil each lived up to their billing as the two leading scorers in the conference by finishing with 26 points each, while sophomore forward Rodney Bullock had his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Both Dunn and Bentil combined to shoot 16-of-29, including 17-of-20 from the free throw line, while the rest of the Friars shot only 26 percent from the floor.

“They have two players that are elite and they played like it,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III. “Early on we were not able to make the plays to not let them get a lead, to not let them pull away. We scrapped and got back into it, but there wasn’t enough time.”

“It’s always going to be tough,” said Smith-Rivera of the team’s efforts to stop Dunn. “I felt as a team we had to try and contain him better.  I did a solid job on him individually, but once he’s getting downhill in on-ball situations, as a team we had to defend him better.”

Santul Nerkar

Similar to their comeback effort against Creighton, the Hoyas successfully played the fouling game late to cut the deficit three points twice, to 67-64 with 30 seconds left and 69-66 with 10 seconds left, and two points, 71-69, after a three-pointer from Smith-Rivera with four seconds left. But Bentil hit two free throws with three seconds remaining to ice the victory and keep the Friars an undefeated 6-0 on the road this season.

“Another Big East game, another Big East war on the road,” said Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley in his opening remarks during the post-game press conference.

Peak opened the second half scoring eight of Georgetown’s first nine points to spark a 15-4 to cut the Friar’s lead to 46-45 at the 12:32 mark. The Hoyas never got any closer the rest of the way, as the Friars methodically extended their lead to as many as nine points, 65-56, after a three-pointer from sophomore guard Kyron Cartwright with 2:23 left.

“Anytime you play on the road, you have to be mentally tough, have to be totally locked in and I thought from start to finish our players were totally bought into to our game preparation,” said Cooley.

Bentil scored the first nine points of the game for the Friars to catalyze an early 11-2 run to put them up 16-7 at the 13:19 mark. The Hoyas responded with a 12-4 run to tie the game at 19 with 8:01 left in the half before the Friars embarked on a 21-9 run, which included a highlight alley oop dunk by Dunn off the feed from Cartwright, to enter halftime leading 38-28.

The Hoyas will return to action this Tuesday night when they go on the road to face Butler (14-6, 3-6 Big East) for a 7:00 p.m. tip. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.


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