NEWARK — The NCAA tournament hopes for the Georgetown men’s basketball team continued to fade late Thursday night at Prudential Center, where the Hoyas fell behind by double figures in the first half, threatened only briefly thereafter and were unable to catch Seton Hall in an 82-67 loss that was the Hoyas’ second in a row.
The loss was the Hoyas’ fourth in their past five road games and dropped them to 15-11 overall and 6-8 in the Big East with four games left in the regular season.
Georgetown was swept in this regular season series in large part because of uncharacteristically poor defense, particularly in limiting three-pointers.
The Pirates shot 55 percent overall and made 8 of 17 (47 percent) from beyond the arc against the top-ranked three-point field goal percentage defense in the Big East entering the game.
“They did a good job of executing,” Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said of the Pirates. “Going into the game, part of the game plan was not to let them get off threes, and we just did not execute that well at all. I thought they did a good job of penetrating and kicking it out and throwing it in and kicking it out.”
Trailing by nine at halftime, Georgetown scored the first six points after the break to draw within 37-34 with 17 minutes 52 seconds left.
But Seton Hall countered with a 14-2 run to pull away in front of a home crowd of 6,590.
The Hoyas made another charge that whittled the deficit to 65-54, but again Seton Hall was able to push back when backup forward Patrik Auda scored on a layup and reserve guard Jaren Sina followed with a three-pointer to allow for plenty of breathing room the rest of the way.
“We came out kind of slow from the jump,” said Smith-Rivera, who made 8 of 14 shots. “They got a few open looks, and that got them rolling for pretty much the rest of the game.”
Georgetown fell behind quickly in the first half and was forced to chase with Starks (Georgetown Prep) in foul trouble. The starting point guard picked up his second personal less than five minutes after tip-off and his third with 5:16 to play until intermission.
During that stretch, Seton Hall opened a 25-15 lead on the strength of a 10-2 run that included three-pointers from Sterling Gibbs (18 points) and Fuquan Edwin (game-high 21 points).
Starks briefly brought Georgetown back with consecutive layups, and when Trawick sank a three-pointer, the Hoyas were within 27-22.
But the Pirates (14-12, 5-8) scored seven of the ensuing nine points capped by a three-point play from backup center Eugene Teague (12 points, seven rebounds) to expand the margin back to 10.
When Starks went to the bench with his third personal foul, the Hoyas proceeded to go without a point for nearly 3:30 with seldom-used reserves Stephen Domingo and John Caprio in the lineup. Neither player averages more than 4.9 minutes per game.
Trawick ended the drought with a fast-break layup, but a three-pointer by Edwin bumped Seton Hall’s lead to 37-26 before backup forward Aaron Bowen sank a layup to close the half for the Hoyas.
“With Seton Hall, we knew they’re a team that likes to get a lot of three-point shots,” Trawick said. “What we wanted to do is we wanted to chase them off the line early, and they were able to get a lot of open shots in transition early from the three-point line, which gave them confidence at home.”