Men’s Basketball has mixed results at Puerto Rico Tip-off Classic

Georgetown Men’s Basketball (3-2, 0-0 Big East) travels back home after a mixed showing at the Puerto Rico Tip-off Classic last weekend. While the three game tournament kicked off to a rocky start against Northeastern (2-4, 0-0 CAA), the Hoyas recharged and served up two wins against Kansas State (3-3, 0-0 Big Ten) and Virginia Commonwealth University (4-2, 0-0 A10).

Georgetown could not quite measure up against the Huskies on Thursday. Though size was in favor of the Hoyas, the win resulted from the skill Northeastern executed despite their lack of height. Maneuvering with speed, they dodged past the Hoyas time and time again down the lane. By the second half, the Hoyas allowed a 14-point lead to drag behind in the dust. Lacking intensity, the Hoyas put forth a meager defense and fell behind in performance, getting outdone in the paint and three pointing to oblivion.

“This group quickly needs to figure out how to compete. We can sit and talk offensive systems, defensive systems…but we have to compete,” Coach John Thompson said after the loss. Georgetown only shot 23 percent with 0 for 8 in the three-point range while Northeastern shot 52 percent. Sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was the only player to contribute double figures (14 points) and senior guard Markel Starks finished with 9 points.

After Georgetown’s muted approach to Thursday’s opener, they came back with a 27-point victory over Kansas State in the second round of the tournament. Remembering to bulldoze on defense and cooperating on the opposite end, they performed with a consistent intent to make a statement. The team packed more energy into the front court, outscoring Kansas State 48-18 in the paint. While the Hoyas pulled 16 turnovers from the Wildcats, they only gave up 7. Revenging his former conduct on the court, Smith-Rivera finished with 25 points, completing all 9 of his free throws. Junior guard Jabril Trawick, junior center Josh Smith and Starks followed him with 16, 13 and 11 respective points. While boasting a 45-28 lead by the second half, this time Georgetown made sure to keep playing until the final whistle.

The tournament concluded with a win against No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams blew out the Hoyas in the second round of the NCAA tournament on their way to the Final Four in 2011. Though the game was close (84-80), history did not repeat itself. The lead switched back and forth throughout, but the Hoyas kept their footing.

Smith-Rivera scored 26 points to bring his scoring average to 19 points per game. “I felt like at certain times the team needed me to score, and I felt the need to step up and make plays,” he said. The Hoyas played a team game as Starks added a career-high 23 points as well as 5 assists, Josh Smith contributed 17 points, and senior forward Nate Lubick caught 7 rebounds. VCU managed to force 26 turnovers but was derailed by poor shooting. Georgetown sealed it off by shooting 56 percent including 6 for 11 from the three-point line.

The Hoyas will return home to face Lipscomb (2-3, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) at home on Saturday.

Photo: Abigail Greene/Georgetown Voice

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