Hoyas fall to No. 9 Nova, fifth straight loss

Hoyas fall to No. 9 Nova, fifth straight loss
January 27, 2014, 11:30 pm
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Georgetown Hoyas forward Mikael Hopkins (center) reacts after losing to the Marquette Golden Eagles 80-72 at Verizon Center.

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Recap: Georgetown welcomed Jabril Trawick back to the lineup while losing Moses Ayegba for the night due to an odd NCAA suspension. Alas, the swap in personnel could not help the Hoyas exchange their losing trend for a needed victory.

Markel Starks scored 20 points in the back-and-forth contest, but ultimately another round of late-game misses doomed the Hoyas to a 65-60 loss against No. 9 Villanova Monday night. Georgetown has lost five straight overall and three straight at home, both matching the longest streaks under coach John Thompson III.

Reggie Cameron scored 12 points for the Hoyas (11-9, 3-6 Big East), who shot 37.5 percent from the field after halftime after making more than half of their attempts in the first half. Both teams committed many turnovers, but the WIldcats offset their errors with frequent trips to the free throw line.

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The Wildcats (18-2, 7-1) are the deeper team with several players able to take and make shots in key spots. It should throughout as Villanova improved to 5-0 on the road in conference play. James Bell scored 16 points while big men JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ochefu each had 12.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown's leading scorer on the season, shot 2 of 11 overall including 0 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc and finished with eight points.

End game: Villanova never led by more than five points in the second half until the final seconds. Starks' floater with 2:08 remaining cut Villanova's lead to 61-58. It was also Georgetown's final basket until the final second and with the game decided.

Several empty possessions from both sides followed. After a timeout with 44.9 seconds remaining, the Hoyas moved quickly for a shot, but a driving Starks was called for a charge with 34.6 seconds remaining. After Tony Chennault split a pair of free throws for the Wildcats, Trawick missed two shots on Georgetown's next trip. Villanova hit three of four free throws over the final 14 seconds.

Key stat: Villanova made 22 of 28 while the Georgetown finished 8 of 9. That marks seven straight games - all without academically ineligible center Joshua Smith - where the Hoyas took fewer free throws than their opponent.

One in, one out: Trawick, out since the Jan. 8 game at Providence, was cleared to play against Villanova. The junior guard came off the bench, made his first attempt from beyond the arc and finished with three points in 12 minutes. Thompson said Trawick had not participated in a full practice before Monday's game.

Georgetown learned just before leaving campus that Ayegba could not play against the Wildcats due to a violation of pre-enrollment issues, which date back to his freshman season.

Going deep: Stephen Domingo and Bradley Hayes not only played, but the seldon-used sophomores played in both halves for their first meaningful minutes together at Georgetown. Hayes, the only big man option behind starters Nate Lubick and Hopkins, entered having played only 13 minutes. He played a scoreless three minutes.

First half: The Hoyas opened the game with an 8-0 spurt, and then the Wildcats scored the next nine with the run ballooning to 19-4. Georgetown committed 13 turnovers - Trawick had three in four minutes - while sinking 11 of 20 field goal attempts. The turnovers led to 12 points for the Wildcats, who led 35-30 at halftime. Starks went 3 of 3 from the field and led all scorers with 10 points while dishing out four assists.

Odds and ends: TV announcers during Georgetown's loss at Creighton at one point hinted that Smith-Rivera might be injured, but the sophomore later made two 3-pointers. A possible rib injury, as apparently mentioned during Monday's coverage, might have been an issue with his off-shooting performance. It would also help explain him having just one rebound. ...With a jumper in the lane late in the second half, Starks became the 44th player in school history to score at least 1,000 points. The senior guard, now with 1,004 points, is the seventh player under Thompson to score at least 1,000 points and the first since Jason Clark.

See you soon: Georgetown plays at Villanova on March 8

On deck: The Hoyas are off until Saturday when they head to Madison Square Garden for a matchup with No. 7 Michigan State. Eventually the schedule won't be as daunting. Eventually is not right now.