Postgame Roundup: Hoyas Leash Bulldogs for Third Straight Win
The Georgetown men’s basketball team (14-9, 5-6 Big East) continued its winning ways on Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center, defeating Butler (10-13, 2-9 Big East) 71-63 in the annual Gray-Out Game in front of 13,011 fans. Catapulted by the strong backcourt play of senior guard Markel Starks and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas earned their third consecutive victory and completed their season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Starks, whose strong play has led the way during their winning stretch, scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including seven assists, while also playing the whole duration of the game. Smith-Rivera added 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting and pulled down five rebounds.
“Today’s game was just a fun game,” Starks said following the win. “Obviously down the stretch we have to be smarter, I think we all understand that, but today’s game was just a fun game.”
After the game, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III praised Starks’ performance, specifically his defensive effort. Starks made life difficult Butler’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Kellen Dunham, who had to battle for 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
“I think that Markel is playing at a very high level right now at both ends of the court,” Thompson said. “Most night’s he’s going to have to guard someone who can get buckets, who can score, and so just to have that responsibility to work at one end, to work at the other end, get everyone else involved, and just with our team right now he’s going to be out there for most of the time.”
For Butler, freshman forward Andrew Chrabascz’s hot-shooting wasn’t enough to overcome the Hoyas. Chrabascz had a career- 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a stretch where he scored 15 consecutive Butler points. The Hoyas have struggled stopping Chrabascz this year, as he scored a then career-high 14 points in the two teams’ January matchup in Indianapolis.
“It’s just teammates finding me in the right places. They’re very aggressive on defense and so it was great passes from [Alex] Barlow, all the guards and stuff like that,” Chrabascz said. “Just right place, right time type of deal. But of course we wish we could of pulled this one off.
The Blue and Gray also received great play off the bench from senior forward Aaron Bowen and junior guard Jabril Trawick, while also energizing their teammates whenever they were on the floor. Trawick scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds in 29 minutes of play, while Bowen scored eight points and had two steals in 29 minutes as well.
“Those two, that’s their job, those two their responsibility is to come in, to give us a boost, to give us energy, to make the hustle plays, and they both did a very good job of it,” Thompson said.
Senior forward and co-captain Nate Lubick played arguably his best all-around game of the season, as he did a little bit of everything in his near double-double effort. Lubick scored an efficient 10 points, on 4-of-5 shooting, with nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals. His production prompted Starks, his fellow co-captain, to complement him directly during the post-game press conference.
“First of all, outstanding game today Nate, seriously,” said Starks directly to Lubick, who was sitting to his right. “For Nate and me as seniors, it’s time to turn the corner. There’s no tomorrow for he and I and all of the other seniors. We all have a sense of urgency as a program.”
Lubick hopes that him and his teammates can continue their strong play and convert it into a NCAA Tournament berth in March.
“We are very hard to stop,” Lubick said. “Our guys are making plays for other people and scoring, and we have to get the rebounds. If we rebound, teams are not going to beat us.”
The Hoyas have a quick-turnaround for their next game at Verizon Center, as they face Providence (16-8, 6-5 Big East) Monday night at 7 p.m.