Postgame Roundup: In overtime Marquette leaves Georgetown in tears

Markel Starks’ desperation heave clanked off the rim. The game went to overtime. And the season went to shambles.

With a 72-80 loss to Marquette (11-8, 3-3 Big East), the Hoyas (11-7, 3-4 Big East) lost their third straight game, and their fourth in their last five.

“We are seven games into an 18-game season. There is a lot of season to be played. Are we in a funk right now? Absolutely,” said Head Coach John Thompson III, “We have to make the right plays at the right time, that’s what we have not been doing. We have not been making the right plays at the right time. This group has shown that we can play with everybody.”

The Blue and Gray received huge performances from their backcourt, with senior guard Starks scoring 28 points and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera adding 24, but saw both play extended minutes, which has become a recent theme. With Starks playing 39 minutes and Smith-Rivera playing 40, it is not a surprise that the team lacked punch in the extra period.

Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams gave especially high praise to the Georgetown backcourt: “[Starks] and [Smith-Rivera] are definitely First Team All-Conference players.”

However, the rest of the team struggled that game; all seven other players scored a combined 20 points and shot 6 of 26 from the field.

On the reliance on the backcourt Thompson said, “That’s who we are. I’m disappointed. We’ve got to keep working and they’ve got to keep plugging along. They’ve got to find a way to get some points off of offensive rebounds. The way teams are playing us, when we throw it inside, because they aren’t guarding other guys as hard on the perimeter, whoever gets the ball in the paint has three guys standing in his lap. So they will kick it out… And the guys we are throwing it out to aren’t putting it in the basket except for Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.”

The Hoyas managed to keep scoring late in the second half – something they weren’t able to do last week against Xavier or Seton Hall – but blew a late lead and missed free throws down the stretch that would have sealed the game. The Hoyas led by three going into the final possession of regulation, but a missed defensive assignment from senior guard John Caprio led to an open three for Marquette junior guard Todd Mayo.

Following the three, Starks received an inbounds pass, dribbled past half court, and launched a three that was inches from ending the game. But it was not to be, and the Golden Eagles bludgeoned the exhausted Hoya lineup with their momentum in overtime.

For Marquette, five players scored in double figures, led by senior forward Davante Gardner, who scored 20 points while grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Senior guard Jake Thomas scored 12 points, shooting 4 of 6 on the day – all three pointers.

The Hoyas now stumble into their toughest stretch of the season. The Blue and Gray will travel to Nebraska to play Creighton on Saturday. The Bluejays recently defeated Villanova soundly, making 21 three pointers and leading by as much as 41 points before settling into a 96-68 victory. After the Creighton matchup, the Hoyas will return to D.C. to play No. 4 Villanova and to Madison Square Garden for a neutral court game against No. 3 Michigan State.

The Hoyas will still be without junior center Josh Smith – out indefinitely for academics – and junior guard Jabril Trawick – sidelined with a broken jaw.

“You’re right. We are hitting a difficult stretch when we go to Creighton and `Nova is after that and Michigan State is after that. Then DePaul is a day later after that. We have to figure it out,” said Thompson, “We have a couple of days here. This program was not built to feel sorry for itself, so we have go back and we have to fight.”

Tip on Saturday is at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

Photo: Georgetown Voice via Flickr

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