The Georgetown men’s basketball team (6-10, 4-7 Big East) defeated the Butler Bulldogs (7-11, 6-9 Big East) 78-63 on Saturday afternoon at McDonough Arena, riding an early 13-0 run to a convincing, but sloppy victory. Seniors Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair both surpassed 1000 career points on the day, putting on a strong shooting display that overcame 23 team turnovers and two technical fouls.
Blair and junior forward Chudier Bile led the Hoyas in scoring with 17 points apiece. Blair went 3-8 from downtown and Bile went a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line to lead the Hoyas. Sophomore forward Qudus Wahab added 12 points and 9 rebounds, as Butler limited his post touches.
The Hoyas got off to a lackadaisical start, as two quick Butler field goals got them out to a 4-0 lead. Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing’s quick timeout stopped a potential run, and the Hoyas converted three consecutive threes after a Wahab jumper to make it 13-4 Hoyas. Georgetown was relentless in transition over the next several minutes, and Bile’s three-point play and Blair’s transition three extended the lead to 31-17 with 3:39 left in the half.
The Hoyas never looked back, closing out the half with two more threes and a 16 point lead, but it was that early timeout that proved to be the spark.
“He gave us that look. He said you guys better turn it around and just fix it,” said Blair
“Once he gave us that, everyone knew what to do. Just to come out and find the open man, feed the ball in the post, move, cut, and get open, and just play our style of Georgetown basketball.”
Fix it they did, as the Hoyas never relinquished the lead.
The Hoyas’ shooting cooled off in the second half, but not as much as Butler did. The Hoyas capitalized on a Bulldogs scoring drought at the start of the second half to extend their lead to 54-29 with 11:39 remaining. The Bulldogs shot 39% from the field and 33.3% in the second half, which gave Georgetown room for error and helped them build a big lead. Of the Hoyas’ 23 turnovers, 14 of them came in the second half, but the Bulldogs were only able to capitalize for 16 points off of them, which was not enough to overcome their poor shooting.
Georgetown also dominated on the boards, recording 38 rebounds to Butler’s 20, allowing them to get out and run for 18 fastbreak points. The Hoyas’ defense was stifling at times, forcing 15 turnovers of their own, including a shot clock violation with 17:12 remaining in the second half.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing was pleased with the defensive effort, especially that of freshman guard Dante Harris. “I thought Dante did an outstanding job with his defensive effort,” he said. “It was a great win. We needed it.”
Ewing was not happy, however, with the technical fouls and turnovers that prevented the Hoyas from a more dominant victory. He was nonetheless positive in his postgame comments, congratulating Blair and Pickett on their milestone, and did not detail much about the negatives of the day.
“I’m happy with the win. I’m not happy with some of the things that we did. For the most part, I’m happy with the win,” he said.
The Hoyas had 16 assists on 24 made field goals, a stark contrast to the Creighton game in which Ewing lamented Georgetown’s selfish play. Today’s ball movement created a lot of opportunities for shooters, and the Hoyas connected on 11 threes, tying a season-high.
The Hoyas’ victory puts them back in the win column after a tough loss to a talented Creighton team, but Ewing refused to say that this means the team is back on track.
“That’s yet to be determined. We only won one game. We have a tough game coming up this weekend,” said Ewing. “I brought my chef hat with me and I’m still getting that gumbo right.”
The Hoyas return to action at home against Seton Hall (11-8, 8-5 Big East) on February 20th, a team that beat the Hoyas handily earlier in the season. Tip-off at McDonough Arena is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The Hoyas have the week off, and could potentially schedule a game for the middle of the week to make up for cancellations, but there is no update at this time on rescheduled games. For continued coverage of the men’s basketball team and all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.