Recap: From an NCAA Tournament perspective, no doubt Tuesday's matchup against No. 13 Creighton and All-American Doug McDermott screamed must win for Georgetown. Good thing the Hoyas took care of business.
D'Vauntes Smith had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, fellow guard Markel Starks finished with 17 points and a career-best 11 assists as the Hoyas started and finished strong for a 75-63 win over the Bluejays.
Georgetown (17-12, 8-9 Big East) shot 61.5 percent from the field in the first half for a 42-28 halftime lead. As if not more important, the Hoyas limited McDermott, the nation's leading scorer to only six points in the opening 20 minutes. The senior forward finished with 22 points and drained three 3's during a second half rally, but the Hoyas fended off the Bluejays (23-6, 13-4) late.
Jabril Trawick, the third member of the Hoyas starting backcourt, added 15 points. Mikael Hopkins avoided foul trouble and keyed the defensive effort on McDermott along with Aaron Bowen. Hopkins had 10 points and five blocks. Creighton's lack of an interior game allowed Georgetown to stick with a smaller, athletic lineup that provided trouble for the nation's top 3-point shooting team.
Georgetown led by 16 in the second half and 59-44 with 9:03 remaining when McDermott woke up. His outside shooting sparked the rally and Grant Gibbs' 3-pointer pulled the Bluejays closer at 66-61 with 1:31 remaining.
On Georgetown's next possession, Starks, one of five seniors playing their final home game, penetrated and dished to Bowen for a layup. The Hoyas closed with a 9-2 spurt.
The Bluejays have lost two straight and fell 1 1/2 games behind first place Villanova in the Big East standings.
Big picture: The Hoyas didn't punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, but a loss would have just about ended any hopes of a fifth straight appearance. Georgetown now owns five wins over teams in the RPI top-50 including Kansas State, VCU, Michigan State and Xavier. Creighton entered eighth in RPI. At this point Georgetown must defeat No. 6 Villanova on Saturday or have a deep run in next week's Big East Tournament.
Georgetown likely enters the Big East Tournament as the seventh seed, but could jump into a tie with Saint John's for sixth depending on this weekend's result
McDermott: The Hoyas rotated defenders on the 6-foot-8 senior forward with a heavy dose of the lengthy Hopkins or the athletic Bowen. McDermott finished 9 of 23 from the field
1st half: Georgetown held McDermott to six points on 3 of 10 shooting and entered halftime leading 42-28. Offensively challenged much of the season, the Hoyas have scored at least 40 first-half points in three straight games.
On deck: The Hoyas regular season takes place Saturday at Villanova. Georgetown lost the first matchup 65-60 at the Verizon Center on January 25 despite 20 points from Starks. The Wildcats made 22 of 28 free throws while the Hoyas went 8 of 9.