Seniors Starks, Lubick lead Hoyas out of 'hell'

Seniors Starks, Lubick lead Hoyas out of 'hell'
February 9, 2014, 6:15 pm
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(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

The internet is loaded with quotes and sayings about the power of patience. Good things come to those who wait and whatnot. Georgetown's Markel Starks and Nate Lubick have no time for such down-the-line thoughts. The countdown clock ticks loudly for college basketball seniors.

The recent stretch of six losses in seven games including five straight had the Hoyas 2013-14 season clock rapidly approaching midnight.

"It was hell, it was terrible," Lubick said of the skid, which erased hopes of Georgetown defending its Big East regular season title. While dealing with notable absences and a misfiring offense, the Hoyas plummeted down the conference standings. The defeats put any sincere NCAA Tournament talk on hold and brought up the possibility program's first losing season under coach John Thompson III.

Then the Hoyas stunned No. 7 Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. The victory didn't help the Big East issues, but it changed the mood. Two more hell-avoiding wins followed, first at DePaul and then Saturday's 71-63 triumph over Butler. 

The chance to extend the run of three straight wins comes Monday as Georgetown (14-9, 4-6) hosts Providence (7 p.m., FS1) in a rematch from one of those setbacks. Lubick knows more work remains.

"It’s big, obviously the timing of it is the only timing it could be for us," Georgetown's leading rebounder said of the team's bounce back following the victory over Butler. "At this point, let's go on an eight-game winning streak. Three is great but we don’t have any losses left in us. We need to win every game we play."

Well, not every game, not in terms of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large berth, though it probably feels that way for those seniors considering the hole Georgetown dug.

Swingman Aaron Bowen, center Moses Ayegba and guard John Caprio are also part of the senior class of which Starks is the clear on-court and emotional leader.

"For Nate and me as seniors, it’s time to turn the corner," Starks said. "There’s no tomorrow for he and I and for the other seniors. We all have a sense of urgency as a program

The Accokeek native hasn't been shy about the importance of his senior campaign. During a preseason media session, the lifelong Georgetown fan noted the many NCAA Tournament banners hanging inside McDonough Arena with indicators of the program's winning and championship. The three Starks helped put in the rafters are in his eyes light with accomplishments.

''I'm sick of looking up at those banners and not having any letters up under it," Starks said in October. "So finally trying to get over that hump is the main objective of this year,'' Starks said. '' Every day, I come in, and I have to look up there and there's nothing there. So for me, as a leader of this team, it's heartbreaking.''

That desperation has fueled the 6-foot-2 Starks throughout the season. He's played at an All-American level lately, averaging 21.6 points over his last six games. Against Butler, Starks played all 40 minutes, had 19 points, seven assists and zero turnovers.

Lubick contributed 10 points and nine rebounds in the latest victory. The power forward previously contributed in discussions with the point guard and the head coach about how to turn Georgetown's season around.

"Us three specifically were constantly talking. Markel and I, we came together a bunch and were always trying to figure out how to get out of it, but that wasn’t working," Lubick said. "We knew that once we got everybody to rally, got everyone to stay on the same page...that we can go on a streak."

As juniors, Lubick and Starks played on a team that had a seven and 11-game winning streaks. That past data helps with believing this season's team can do the same.

"That's something that we did last year. Just stressing the importance of keeping our heads up, working hard, and being diligent with us winning," Lubick said.

For the seniors, being diligent is part of the growth process. Being patient, that's for others.