Men’s basketball dropped by No. 18 Butler in overtime, worst conference start since 1998-99

January 9, 2017

Photo: Georgetown Sports Information

Another Big East game led to another disappointment for the Georgetown men’s basketball team (8-8, 0-4 Big East) on Saturday afternoon. The Hoyas lost to No. 18 Butler (14-2, 3-1 Big East), 85-76, in an overtime thriller. Georgetown junior guard LJ Peak led all scorers with 21 points while freshman guard Jagan Mosely recorded a career high 20 points on 5-7 field goal and 7-8 free throw shooting. Butler was paced by 16 points and five rebounds from freshman guard Kamar Baldwin and a 13-point, 10-rebound performance from junior forward Kelan Martin.

The overtime loss drops the Hoyas to 0-4 in the Big East for the first time since the 1998-99 season. John Thompson Jr., father of current Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III, then Georgetown’s head coach, resigned following the team’s early conference struggles.

Georgetown has now lost 14 consecutive games to Big East opponents outside of St. John’s (8-9, 2-2 Big East) and DePaul (7-9, 0-3 Big East) dating back to last season.

Both teams struggled to find offensive rhythm early in the game. Through the first nine minutes of the game, the teams combined for just 20 points with the game knotted at 10 apiece. The teams exchanged blows throughout the rest of the half. The Hoyas utilized the contributions of Peak and graduate senior center Bradley Hayes, who recorded six points and four rebounds off the bench in the first period. Georgetown managed to hold Butler in check for most of the first half by employing a defensive scheme predicated on switching ball screens and dribble handoffs on defense, but the Bulldogs eventually exploited mismatches for corner threes or layups.

“We tried to give them different looks to tell you the truth. We started off flat and hedging it and we tried to blow it up a couple times, then we ended up switching so we just gave them different looks,” Thompson said.

The first half featured five ties and seven lead changes, but Georgetown maintained a slim 32-31 advantage going into the break. The post presence of Hayes and slashing ability of Peak wreaked havoc on the Butler defense in the period, as the Blue and Gray scored 20 points in the paint to Butler’s eight.

This volatility defined the second half, as neither team was able to generate a commanding lead in the opening minutes. A 12-6 run midway through the period propelled Butler to a seven point lead, the largest lead either team would hold in regulation . With ten minutes remaining, Georgetown began to operate smoothly on the offensive end Peak’s continued efforts to attack the basket while sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson, who started for the second consecutive game, added a variety of outside shots and post moves. Derrickson’s and-one opportunity with 6:46 remaining brought the Hoyas within just one at the under-eight media timeout.

Each time Georgetown seemed primed to make a run, Butler countered. A three pointer from Baldwin nullified the momentum Derrickson’s three-point play had generated, while a pair of free throws from redshirt-senior guard Tyler Lewis then extended the Bulldog lead to six with five minutes to play.

Peak and Derrickson continued to will Georgetown back into the game, and a three-pointer from Derrickson gave Georgetown its first lead in over ten minutes with just 2:13 left. Mosely was fouled shortly after, with the chance to put the Hoyas up by four with 1:07 remaining. He split the pair of free throws, and Butler responded with a three pointer from sophomore center Nate Fowler to tie the game. Mosely then made two free throws with :37 remaining to give Georgetown a 68-66 lead.

On its final possession of regulation, Butler was forced into a tough shot attempt late in the shot clock, but Fowler grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled on his putback attempt. Fowler hit both shots in front of the sparse, yet raucous, Verizon Center crowd to tie the game at 68 apiece.

Thompson called timeout shortly after his team inbounded the ball to draw up a final play.

“(It was) just an isolation for Peak,” said Thompson. “(With) five seconds left just put the ball in Peak’s hand and make a play. He knew Marcus was coming down on one side and other than that, just go to the hole.”

Peak’s turnaround jump shot at the buzzer missed wide left, leading to overtime.

Despite its strong play to close regulation, Georgetown was unable to maintain any of the momentum it had generated into the overtime period. The struggles of graduate student guard Rodney Pryor, the Blue and Gray’s leading scorer, did not help. Pryor was held scoreless in the game and struggled to generate anything on the offensive end. After playing just seven minutes in the second half, he was placed in the starting lineup for overtime, where his struggles would continue. He missed on his only shot attempt in the period and recorded a turnover on a key fastbreak in which the Hoyas had the chance to bring themselves within two points with 2:30 remaining.

“I need to talk with him to see if something is going on because it’s one thing for him not to score, you have those nights, but the game is about more than putting the ball in the basket,” said Thompson. “You’ve heard me all year, he does a lot more than just put the ball in the basket and tonight everything didn’t happen.”

From then on, Georgetown was forced to foul, and the Bulldogs connected on 13-16 free throw attempts in overtime to seal the win.

The Hoyas will have two home games to try and grab their first Big East win before traveling to Cincinnati for a date with No. 16 Xavier on Jan. 22. Georgetown will host St. John’s on Monday at 6:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports One.

Tyler Pearre
Maryland native and D.C. sports fan. Forever romanticizing the days of Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas circa 2007.


Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments