On Feb. 13, all the Georgetown men’s basketball starters scored at least 9 points in an emphatic 78-63 victory over the Butler Bulldogs.
This game was full of milestones. Georgetown (6-10, 4-7 Big East) had its smoothest win of conference play so far, winning by 15 points after its previous conference wins came by a combined 11 points. Butler’s (7-11, 6-9 Big East) second straight loss saw the Bulldogs fall behind early and never recover. Additionally, two Georgetown seniors crossed the 1,000-point threshold for their careers.
The Hoyas opened with a familiar starting lineup, with first-year guard Dante Harris, senior guard Jahvon Blair, senior forward Jamorko Pickett, graduate forward Chudier Bile and sophomore center Qudus Wahab starting the game for the fourth straight game in a row since Bile’s 19-point performance against the Providence Friars on Jan. 30.
It was a slow start on offense for the Hoyas, whose first three possessions ended in two turnovers and an airball. Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) called a timeout out of frustration with the effort at both ends of the court as the Hoyas trailed 4-0 with 17:34 to play in the first half.
Wahab broke the scoring drought for the Hoyas with 16:48 to play, opening the offensive floodgates for Georgetown. Harris, Pickett and Blair hit three-pointers on the subsequent possessions to give the Hoyas an 11-4 lead, forcing the Bulldogs to call a timeout. Ewing was proud of how the team responded out of the timeout, ultimately scoring 11 unanswered points.
The Hoyas’ lead reached 23-12 with a basket on the fast break by Bile, who would later find Blair for a three-pointer to give Georgetown a 26-12 lead at the media timeout.
Butler got much more aggressive with its shot selection as its defense continued to improve throughout the first half, cutting the Georgetown lead from 17 to 11 points with 2:50 remaining in the first half.
A deep three-pointer from Blair in the last seconds of the half allowed him to hit 1,000 career points and gave the Hoyas a comfortable 38-22 halftime lead.
Georgetown had a strong first half at both ends of the court, shooting 54% from the field and 8-for-14 from behind the arc while holding Butler to 35% shooting. Each team had nine turnovers in the half, which was good for the Hoyas who have turned the ball over five times more per game than their opponents this season.
Georgetown struggled from the free-throw line throughout the second half, including a missed shot from Blair on the front end of a 1-and-1 that contributed to a 7-0 run by Butler that cut Georgetown’s lead to 54-36.
As Butler forward Bryce Golden began to lead the team down the stretch on offense, the Bulldogs could not avoid fouling as the Hoyas continued to hit their free throws, reaching the eight-minute mark up by 19 and in the double bonus.
A 4-point play for Butler guard Jair Bolden cut the deficit to 65-51 with 4:15 left. Georgetown continued to turn the ball over consistently, recording 23 turnovers on the day, nine of which came from Blair. Harris’ speed was essential for the Hoyas’ ability to break the press down the stretch.
A technical foul by Blair after a made floater with 3:19 to play gave the Bulldogs two free throws and new life, with a Butler three-pointer on the next possession cutting the lead to 69-56. A left-handed dunk by Blair on the fast break, however, was the icing on the cake for a 78-63 Georgetown win.
Blair and Bile each scored 17 points to lead the team, and Blair supplemented his scoring with seven rebounds and six assists. Wahab flirted with a double-double on the way to 12 points and nine rebounds, while Pickett scored 13 points on just six field-goal attempts. Three different players scored 12 points each to lead the Bulldogs. Georgetown, a team known for a consistent propensity for turnovers, was able to overcome its most consistent flaw as it won by 15 despite 23 turnovers.
Georgetown will return to action Feb. 20 against Seton Hall at 5:30 p.m., looking to avenge its 78-67 loss on Dec. 23.