3025426042NEW YORK — Georgetown’s first season in a new-look Big East ended with a whimper Wednesday evening as the No. 7-seeded Hoyas (17-14) fell to No. 10 DePaul (12-20), 60-56, in the first round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Although Head Coach John Thompson III said he thought his team should be considered for an at-large NCAA tournament bid, the defeat almost certainly consigns Georgetown to the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 2009.

“The tournament, we’ll see. You’ve seen and heard what we’ve done,” Thompson III said. “It’s kind of hard to sit and talk about that following this loss. We’ll see. I don’t know how things look after today.”

In a sloppy game, Georgetown relied on its guards, particularly sophomore D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and senior Markel Starks, to take a 17-9 lead midway through the first half.

But the Hoyas began to miss open three-point shots and went scoreless for more than six minutes, allowing the Blue Demons to take a 20-17 lead after a punishing 11-0 run.

Taking the ball to the hoop — the only way Georgetown was able to consistently score on the evening — junior guard Jabril Trawick and senior guard Aaron Bowen gave the Hoyas a 25-23 lead at the intermission.

The two teams traded buckets after the break, although Georgetown was never able to establish a scoring rhythm and put just five players — Smith-Rivera, Starks, Trawick, Bowen and senior forward Nate Lubick — in the scoring column by the game’s end.

With six minutes left and the game tied at 45-45, DePaul junior forward Forrest Robinson hit back-to-back three pointers to stretch the Blue Demons’ lead to 51-45.

After Thompson III took a time out, freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. hit a two-point jumper that deflated much of Georgetown’s remaining confidence.

A pair of free throws by D’Vauntes Rivera cut the lead to 55-52 with just over a minute remaining but Garrett Jr. knocked down a pair of free throws with 22 seconds remaining to stretch the lead back to 57-52.

Starks made a layup on the other end but DePaul junior forward Jamee Crockett made the first of two free throws after being fouled by senior guard John Caprio.

Trawick answered on the other end with just eight seconds remaining but a quick foul sent Garrett Jr. back to the line, where he made two free throws to seal the Blue Demons’ 60-56 win.

The Hoyas were 11-for-16 from the charity stripe on the evening, while the Blue Demons finished by making 17 of their 24 free throws.

Georgetown’s 68.8 percent free throw shooting also does not reflect a number of lost opportunities when Hoyas missed the front ends of one-and-ones.

“It came down to free throws and we were able to knock them down,” Garrett Jr. said.

DePaul’s win broke a 14-game losing streak against Georgetown. Before Wednesday, the Blue Demons had last defeated the Hoyas on Jan. 22, 1994.

After the game, Thompson III had few explanations for the defeat.

“I did not think there was a lack of energy,” Thompson III said. “I thought our guys played hard.”

Smith-Rivera cited a series of missed rebounds and the Robinson treys as factors in the loss.

“There were a few minor errors that we had defensively,” Smith-Rivera said. “You could see those baskets at the end separated us.”

The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 21 points. Starks had 17 points, despite a poor night shooting and Trawick and Bowen each chipped in eight points. Lubick rounded out the scoring with a single layup. Overall, the Hoyas shot 38.5 percent from the floor and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Garrett Jr. had 17 points for DePaul, while Robinson had 14 points and senior guard Brandon Young — who fouled out at the end of the game — contributed 13. The Blue Demons were 41.3 percent from the floor and shot 26.3 percent from three.

Although Thompson III made reference to Georgetown’s strength of schedule and a rough patch that followed Trawick’s injury in January as reasons the Hoyas might make the NCAA tournament, most observers saw Georgetown’s chances of making the 68-team field evaporate with the loss.

Georgetown will get a final answer on where its postseason is headed on Sunday, when the bids for both the NCAA tournament and the NIT are announced.

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