Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Men’s Basketball | Freshmen Carry No. 25 GU to 76-61 Victory Over Creighton

Georgetown had a question that needed answering — Who would provide offensive production aside from senior center Joshua Smith and junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera?

The Hoyas seemingly have several candidates, but none of them stepped up in a 71-56 dismantling at the hands of Xavier on Dec. 31, in which Smith and Smith-Rivera were the only double-digit scorers for the Hoyas. Georgetown faced a similar problem against Creighton at Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon after Smith picked up his third foul with 7:10 remaining in the first half the game against Creighton and Smith-Rivera had missed his only attempted field goal.

Luckily for the Hoyas, the freshmen had the answers. Driven by a combined 37-point effort from guard Tre Campbell and forwards L.J. Peak and Paul White, No. 25 Georgetown (9-4, 1-1 Big East) cruised to a 76-61 victory over Creighton (9-6, 0-2 Big East).

The combined performances from Campbell, Peak and White was the first time three different Hoya freshmen scored double-digit points since Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green and Jonathan Wallace (COL ’08) did so in January 2005 against Syracuse.

For Head Coach John Thompson III however, the performances were entirely expected.

“They did what they were brought here to do,” said Thompson. “I don’t think that group in our locker room looks at our freshman class as a bunch of neophytes.”

Out of the three performances by the freshmen, it was Campbell’s that stood out the most. The D.C. native has seen his minutes fluctuate throughout the season, at times playing for only a few seconds in order to give leading scorer Smith-Rivera a quick breather.

On Saturday, Campbell played for a season-high 26 minutes — not because Smith-Rivera needed a rest, but because Campbell was having the best game of his young college career. He contributed a layup, an assist and a three-pointer to the 9-2 Georgetown run that propelled the Hoyas to a 33-31 halftime lead. Starting the second half on the floor, Campbell ran the Georgetown offense effectively and with poise — his deep three-pointer with 11:42 remaining pushed the lead to 54-44.

Campbell appeared to take his success in stride after the game.

“Coach called on my number and I was ready to go out there and perform,” the freshman said. “He had confidence in me and I always have confidence in myself. I just went out there and performed.”

The freshmen were not the only ones to contribute to the victory for the Hoyas. Smith returned from his foul-induced exile with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the second half and finished with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Additionally, senior guard Jabril Trawick finished with 12 points, five assists and zero turnovers.

While the Hoyas managed a balanced offensive effort, on the defensive end of the floor, the afternoon was marked by Creighton’s inability to make shots more than anything else. The Bluejays play a style of basketball that relies heavily on three-point shots, and when they are not falling, as was the case Saturday, their offense suffers.

After making three of its first four attempts from behind the arc, Creighton shot 2-of-21 from deep for the rest of the game, a far cry from the 34 percent rate that the team was shooting from the three-point line coming into Saturday’s game.

While Georgetown deserves some credit for improving its three-point defense from Wednesday’s game against Xavier, in which the Musketeers made 6-of-12 shots from behind the arc, several of Creighton’s misses came off of relatively open looks.

For Thompson, it was his team’s effort to get a hand in the face of shooters that made the difference.

“I think our guys were more attentive — finally — to harder closeouts,” he said.

Next up for Georgetown is a Tuesday night matchup against Marquette (9-5, 1-1 Big East) at Verizon Center. The Golden Eagles’ season got off to a rough start with an early loss to Nebraska-Omaha, but the team has looked markedly improved since Indiana transfer and center Luke Fischer became eligible to play in mid-December. Fischer is averaging 15.7 points and seven rebounds per contest and most recently scored 11 points in Marquette’s 75-66 victory over Providence on Saturday.

The importance of home court advantage has been apparent early in Big East play with home teams winning nine of the first 10 conference games. Georgetown will look to further that trend and improve to 2-1 in conference play on Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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