Thoughts on Georgetown's fourth straight loss and fifth in six games, 76-63 at Creighton on Saturday night...
What happened: For an offensively challenged team like the Hoyas (11-8, 3-5), facing the Big East's top scoring squad figured to be challenging. It was, though not because two-time All-American Doug McDermott went off or the Bluejays (17-3, 7-1) once again made an insane amount of 3-pointers. Georgetown limited the nation's second-leading scorer to 14 points, 10.8 below his season average. Limiting the non-McDermott's proved more complicated. So did keeping up with the new conference foe on the scoreboard.
Georgetown's defensive effort was more than adequate as Creighton finished 7 of 21 from beyond the 3-point arc one game after sinking 21 3's against Villanova. McDermott failed to reach double figures in the first half for the first time this season at home and finished 5 of 15 from the field. The Bluejays did have five players score in double digits overall. That was more than enough to knock off the Hoyas, who shot 39.3 percent from the field and once again struggled to find consistent offense outside of their primary options. The Bluejays' attacking style led to 28 free throw attempts, of which they made 21. Georgetown finished 9 of 11 in the first-ever Big East between the programs.
Stats: Markel Starks kept up his scoring surge with 21 points and five assists while backcourt partner D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 18 points on 6 of 17 shooting. Mikael Hopkins, the only Georgetown starter to make at least half of his field goal attempts (5 of 10) continued his recent stretch of solid play with 14 points. Nate Lubick whiffed offensively (zero points), but grabbed 10 rebounds.
McDermott missed four of five 3-point attempts, but he grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double and committed only one turnover despite constant touches. Reserve center Will Artino scored a season-high 14 points and 3-point threat Ethan Wragge had 12 for the Blue Jays.
Turning point: Neither team could sink shots in the early minutes, but the Hoyas made enough for an 11-7 lead. At that point McDermott had five points. He scored only three over the rest of half, but others scored for the Bluejays. Predictably, Creighton started stringing baskets together. Wragge drained three 3-pointers and the Bluejays closed with a 27-11 run for a 34-24 halftime lead. The Hoyas pulled within six as Hopkins' jumper made it 42-36 with 14:44 remaining, but they never truly threatened.
Empty bench: Led by Artino, Creighton's reserves went 9 of 13 from the field and outscored Georgetown's backups 25-2.
From deep: Starks, Smith-Rivera and Reggie Cameron each made two 3-pointers, but the Hoyas finished 6 of 20 overall.
Odds and ends: During the second half the television commentators frequently pondered if Smith-Rivera was sick or injured as the sophomore guard sat for a stretch. However, he came back in and made both of his 3-pointers inside the final seven minutes. ...The lure of the Hoyas drew 18,859 out to Century Link Arena in Omaha, the largest crowd in the building history for Creighton hoops. ...McDermott has scored at least 19 points in all but two games this season. Both low-scoring outings came against D.C. based program. George Washington held the 6-foot-8 forward to seven points in a 60-53 win on December 1.
See you soon: The two sides meet at the Verizon Center on March, Georgetown's final home game of the regular season.
On deck: Quick turnaround for the Hoyas, who host Villanova on Monday. The Wildcats (17-2, 6-1) entered the week ranked No. 4 before falling to Creighton's 3-point shooters on Monday. They fended off Marquette in overtime for a win on Saturday.