Georgetown men vs. Marquette: Hoyas can’t close out win in second half, lose 80-72 in OT


Georgetown’s Moses Ayegba meets resistance from Marquette’s Davante Gardner. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Seeking to regroup from a recent stretch that had it heading in the wrong direction, the Georgetown men’s basketball team instead continued in a tailspin by failing to preserve a second-half lead for a third straight game before succumbing to Marquette, 80-72, in overtime in front of 9,014 on Monday night at Verizon Center.

Senior guard Markel Starks finished with 28 points and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 24, but their teammates provided little assistance as the Hoyas tumbled to a third consecutive loss and a fourth in five games. The Hoyas also dipped below .500 in the Big East heading into their most rugged portion of the season with games against Creighton, fourth-ranked Villanova and No. 3 Michigan State.

Georgetown’s starting front court shot 3 for 17, although junior center Mikael Hopkins did have game highs of 11 rebounds and five blocks. The Hoyas’ bench also was outscored 34-8.

The Golden Eagles scored the first seven points in overtime, including a three-pointer by John Dawson for a 72-65 lead. The closest Georgetown got in the extra session was 74-70 on Smith-Rivera’s off-balance three-pointer, but Marquette made all six of its foul shots in the final 40 seconds.

It’s the first time Georgetown has lost consecutive home games since 2010-11 and the fourth time they’ve done so in 10 years under Coach John Thompson III.

“Are we in a funk right now? Absolutely,” Thompson said. “We just have to make the right plays at the right times. That’s what [we] have not been doing.”

The Hoyas (11-7, 3-4 Big East) were unable to get back on track despite a 60-53 buffer with three minutes left in regulation. Marquette trimmed the deficit to 60-58 on Jamil Wilson’s dunk with 2 minutes 8 seconds remaining, and Georgetown responded with reserve center Moses Ayegba’s layup off a feed from Starks.

The Golden Eagles (11-8, 3-3) cut it to 62-60 on two free throws by Davante Gardner (team-high 20 points), but with 25 seconds to play, Starks answered with two foul shots. Gardner hit a jumper with 20 seconds left, and Starks went to the line again, this time making 1 of 2 before Marquette got Todd Mayo’s three-pointer with six seconds to play. Starks launched a three-pointer at the buzzer that missed, forcing extra time.

“We’re not making winning plays at the end,” Thompson said. “Once again, we’re giving up threes at key times. We’re giving up threes to the guys on their team that can make threes.”

The Golden Eagles led 34-30 in the early portion of the second half courtesy of six consecutive points. Wilson made a pair of foul shots, Steve Taylor Jr. scored off a pass from Gardner and Gardner did the honors himself on Marquette’s next possession.

Georgetown reclaimed the lead at 44-40 with a 9-2 burst that included a three-point play by Starks, who collected an inbounds pass from Nate Lubick and put up a contested shot that rolled around the rim and fell through before he made the bonus free throw. Moments earlier, Smith-Rivera knifed through a pair of defenders to convert a foul-line jumper as the shot clock buzzer sounded.

In Saturday’s 67-57 loss to Seton Hall, Georgetown had a 10-point lead in the second half vanish amid a second straight game that featured protracted scoring struggles. The Hoyas went without a field goal for the final 9:44, missing all 13 of their attempts, and missed 10 of 11 from three-point range during the second half.

One game earlier, the Hoyas failed to score at all over the final 6:14 in an 80-67 loss to Xavier at Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Georgetown had a 17-point lead in that game during which the back-court duo of Starks and Smith-Rivera each logged 40 minutes. Against the Pirates, Starks played 38 minutes and Smith-Rivera 37, and the two combined to miss 17 of 24 shots.

The Hoyas continue to be without a pair of starters, compounding the team’s on-court issues of late. Junior center Joshua Smith has missed the last five games while dealing with an academic issue, according to school officials, but has been practicing with the team, Thompson said. Junior guard Jabril Trawick remains out indefinitely with a broken jaw suffered in a 70-52 loss to Providence on Jan. 8.

“I think losing Josh Smith and losing [Trawick], I think that’s really, really hard to overcome,” Marquette Coach Buzz Williams said. “That would be like us losing Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo midseason.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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