Recap: Georgetown's NCAA Tournament bubble didn't burst with Thursday's 82-67 loss at Seton Hall, but the Hangman is sharpening his pin and getting ready to strike.
Mixed metaphors aside, the Hoyas (15-11, 6-8 Big East) have gone from putting themselves in decent postseason position to fading away after losing for the second time this season to a suspect Seton Hall squad. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 20 points and Markel Starks had 13 for the Hoyas, who have lost two straight after winning four in a row, which came after a five-game skid.
The Pirates (14-12, 5-8) drained shots throughout en route to defeating Georgetown for the second time this season. Seton Hall had not swept the Hoyas since the 2002-03 season.
Many of the previous defeats this season could be traced back to scoring woes. The offense didn't light up Seton Hall and received little from the frontcourt, but Georgetown's defense gets the knock for this loss. Getting open looks throughout thanks to consistent penetration, the Pirates shot 55 percent from the field and 47 percent from beyond the 3-point ( 8 of 17).
Georgetown never led, trailed 37-28 in the first half and by 19 points late in the second half. The Hoyas scored the first six points of the second half to pull within three, but the Pirates countered with a 17-4 run for a 54-38 lead with 12:55 remaining. The margin never dipped inside single digits from there.
Fuquan Edwin scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting, Fellow guard and former Maryland recruit Sterling Gibbs came off the bench for 18 points and seven assists.
The Hoyas lost to Seton Hall 67-57 at the Verizon Center on Jan. 18
Turning point: The true answer is perhaps the aforementioned 17-4 run. Instead let's focus on foul trouble for Starks, who picked up two fouls inside the opening five minutes and then a third fighting through a pick with 5:16 remaining in the first half. That led to the senior guard playing only 29 minutes, the second time all season he's played fewer than 30. The previous outing came in a 35-point win over High Point. Georgetown's roster lacks a true backup point guard and the offense broke down without their leader at the end of the first half. Down 29-24 when Starks sat after receiving the third foul, the Hoyas trailed 37-28 at halftime.
Starks attempted only eight shots from the field and missed all three of his 3-point tries. The constant fear of picking up a fourth early in the second half played some factor in his defensive effort against Seton Hall's guards.
Stats: Led by Jabril Trawick's 11 points, the Hoyas reserves tallied a respectable 20 combined. Seton Hall more than doubled that total, finishing with 41.
Frontcourt woes: With Starks playing fewer minutes than normal, Georgetown needed others to produce. Little pickup came from starters Nate Lubick, Reggie Cameron and Hopkins, who combined for 14 points and nine rebounds. Swingman Aaron Bowen had seven points and six rebounds by himself, but only played 18 minutes before fouling out.
1st half: Seton Hall shot 54 percent from the field and entered halftime leading 37-28. Smith-Rivera had 10 points and combined with Hopkins for Georgetown's first 13 in the game.
History: Georgetown leads the all-time series 54-43, but gets swept for only the fourth time in the matchup that dates back to 1909 and as conference rivals since the 1979-80 season.
On deck: Very, very quick turnaround for the Hoyas as they return home to face Xavier on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Back on Jan 15, Georgetown lost 80-67 at Xavier (18-8, 8-5) despite leading by 17 points with 15 minutes remaining. The Musketeers have won three of four games.
Big picture: Georgetown needs to go 3-1 to even its Big East record, which is often a must for NCAA Tournament at-large consideration. The bad news is the remaining four games are four of the top five teams in the conference: Xavier, at Marquette, Creighton, at Villanova.