Postgame Roundup: Hoyas falter against Providence

After winning three straight, the Hoyas (10-4, 2-1 Big East) have faltered against the Providence Friars (11-5, 1-2 Big East) in a game that ended 70-52. The Hoyas had not lost to the Friars since 2005.

Junior center Josh Smith did not travel for the game because of academic issues, and his absence was obvious, as Providence senior forward Kadeem Batts scored 21 points, having his way with the Georgetown bigs. Providence’s leading scorer, senior guard Bryce Cotton added 20 points.

For the Hoyas, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 19 points while shooting 60 percent from the field. The only other Georgetown player to reach double figures was junior forward Mikael Hopkins, who continued his impressive season, scoring 12 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Senior guard Markel Starks had an off night, shooting only 4 of 15 from the field and 0 of 3 from three point range. The team as a whole struggled from deep, shooting below 30 percent for the game, which is often a harbinger of a Hoya loss.

“We were kind of stumbling along in the first half, and they slowly gained confidence, gained momentum,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We came up against a team that’s lost a couple in a row, had some bad breaks, and they came out and made the plays to win the game. We didn’t.”

Without Smith, the Blue and Gray’s lack of potent scorers was clear, with Smith-Rivera being the only reliable offensive asset. But even DSR is no Otto, and if the Hoyas can’t quickly find a way to spark their offensive game, the Big East season could be a slippery slope. Poor shooting and lack of depth are clear problems on this year’s team. Small forward candidates sophomore Stephen Domingo and freshman Reggie Cameron have largely been non-factors on the offensive end of the floor. Defensive stalwart junior guard Jabril Trawick has also struggled to find his way to the basket. Especially with Smith’s return unclear, the Hoyas should be worried about their ability to compete with a slew of tough opponents on the horizon.

However, Coach Thompson believes that his team is more than able to win games, even without their starting center. “I think the group that we have in the locker room right there is more than capable of playing better than we did today, whether Josh is here or not,” he said.

The Blue and Gray will next play the Butler Bulldogs (10-4, 0-2 Big East) at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, with tip off at 7 p.m.

Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice

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