Georgetown basketball: Shorthanded Hoyas find a way to slip past Butler in overtime


Reggie Cameron (1) goes up for layup in Georgetown’s meeting with Kameron Woods and Butler on Saturday. Cameron had nine points as the Hoyas of the Georgetown Hoyas improved to 3-1 in the Big East. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Minus two starters from the outset and dealing with foul trouble down the stretch, the Georgetown men’s basketball team dug in for a 70-67 overtime win against Butler on Saturday night in front of 9,640 in the Hoyas’ first trip to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Georgetown (11-4, 3-1 Big East) won its first conference road game, first overtime game and for the 10th time in 12 games thanks in part to a team-high 18 points from sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and 15 points from senior guard Markel Starks. Smith-Rivera, who played three years of high school basketball in Indianapolis, added seven rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal.

Reserve forward Aaron Bowen also factored in significantly, deflecting a Butler inbounds pass to Starks, who delivered a fast-break pass back to Bowen with less than a minute left in overtime for a dunk that gave the Hoyas the lead for good, 66-64. Bowen finished with 11 points to complete three Georgetown players in double-figures.

Reserve guard John Caprio then made 1 of 2 foul shots for Georgetown, and freshman Reggie Cameron got a driving layup to fall for a 69-65 buffer. Freshman Andrew Chrabascz scored for Butler, but Starks, a senior, made the second of two foul shots before sophomore forward Kellen Dunham’s desperation three-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.

“This is a very big win,” Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said. “To us that was Big East basketball. We’re fortunate that we came out on the winning end of it. Obviously it could have gone either way, the way the game swung back and forth. I thought our guys fought. I’m proud of how they fought.”

After the Hoyas were unable to preserve a nine-point lead late in the second half, Starks hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds to go in regulation, and Butler missed a field goal try as time expired. Starks’s three-pointer came after Butler senior guard Alex Barlow made a pair of foul shots with 25 seconds to play.

In using a fourth different starting lineup in four games, the Hoyas played for a second straight time without center Joshua Smith, who remained in the District trying to resolve an academic issue, according to school officials. The junior transfer had played in Georgetown’s first 13 games until not making the trip Wednesday to Rhode Island.

Compounding Smith’s unavailability was an injury to junior Jabril Trawick, who had started every game this season before breaking his jaw in the 70-52 loss to the Friars. Georgetown’s fourth-leading scorer played 23 minutes in that game, and an announcement from the athletic department regarding the injury that has him out indefinitely came early Saturday afternoon.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in,” said Smith-Rivera, who won an Indiana state title as a sophomore at North Central High. “We knew it was going to be tough with the matchups. Just kind of [followed] the message earlier this week to be prepared and come out with some intensity.”

With the Hoyas holding a five-point halftime edge, starting forward Nate Lubick logged his fourth personal foul 2 1 / 2 minutes into the second half. The Bulldogs quickly got within 38-35 when the senior went to the bench, but Georgetown scored seven of the ensuing nine points, beginning with Smith-Rivera’s three-point play.

Senior center Moses Ayegba backed down his defender for a layup and sank another layup off a feed from Smith-Rivera for a 45-37 lead. The margin expanded to 50-41 when Starks made a three-pointer with 6:57 left in regulation.

But the Bulldogs (10-6, 0-4), who have lost four in a row for the first time since 2004-05, chipped away and took their first lead, 53-52, with 3 minutes 19 seconds to play and held a 60-57 advantage on a pair of free throws from senior guard Alex Barlow before Starks forced overtime. The Hoyas had to play the extra five minutes without starting forwards Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins and reserve center Moses Ayegba, all of whom had fouled out.

“It was just one of those things. I was like, ‘Good God almighty,’ ” Starks said. “Just like one after another, but I think the biggest testament was we hung in there and had guys who hadn’t played contribute large minutes. When I think of John Caprio coming in, especially in the clutch. Aaron Bowen with that big play at the end. Having those guys come in and contribute early was big for us.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering many local and national beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He joined The Washington Post sports department in 1990 as a member of the high school staff and worked as a copy editor and assignment editor for almost 19 years.
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