ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

Despite a game-high 27 points from senior guard Markel Starks in his final career game, Georgetown’s disappointing season ended on a sour note Monday night with a 101-90 loss at Florida State in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

As they have throughout the season, the Hoyas (18-15, 8-10 Big East) faced early foul trouble that resulted in the Seminoles (21-13, 9-9 ACC) reaching the bonus midway through the first half. Worse still, junior forward Mikael Hopkins picked up his third foul less than five minutes into the game.

It was a slow, chippy game from the outset, and the two teams combined for 51 personal fouls — 30 on Georgetown, 21 against Florida State. Each team also picked up a pair of technical fouls, with Head Coach John Thompson III tagged for just the third technical of his tenure.

Florida State was able to inflict the most damage at the three-point line, however, draining eight three-pointers in the first half and stringing together a punishing 15-8 run in the half’s final four minutes that put the Hoyas in a 48-35 hole at the break.

Georgetown could not make a dent in Florida State’s lead out of halftime, especially with the frontcourt saddled in serious foul trouble. When the final buzzer sounded, Hopkins, senior forward Nate Lubick and sophomore center Bradley Hayes — who played a career high 13 minutes — all had four fouls.

While Georgetown’s backcourt once again turned in a solid performance — in addition to Starks, sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 22 points and junior guard Jabril Trawick finished with 14 points — it was not enough to keep up with Florida State’s truly sensational play.

Defensive lapses were another problem for the Blue and Gray, who allowed the Seminoles to shoot 68.2 percent from the floor and an even better 68.8 percent — 11-for-16 — from beyond the arc on the night.

Florida State guard Devon Bookert was especially hard for Georgetown to handle, dishing out nine assists and setting up fellow guards sophomore Montay Brandon and senior Ian Miller to close the game with 26 and 18 points, respectively.

Those figures allowed the Seminoles to build a 17-point lead in the second half, although 11 Florida State turnovers provided the Hoyas with several opportunities to cut the lead in the final minutes.

Although Starks — who was all heart in his final game in a Georgetown uniform — cut the lead to 12 points on a three-pointer with 3:10 left, Florida State calmly made its free throws down the stretch and the Hoyas could get no closer until the game was entirely out of reach.

The Blue and Gray shot 47.5 percent on the evening, a solid figure but not nearly competitive with the Seminoles’ lights-out performance.

With the win, No. 1-seeded Florida State will advance to face Louisiana Tech on Wednesday night. Monday night’s loss was the final game at Georgetown for Starks, Lubick and senior guard John Caprio. Senior Aaron Bowen and senior center Moses Ayegba have additional years of eligibility and their plans have not yet been announced.
Georgetown’s 18 wins this season were the second lowest on the Hilltop for Thompson, whose 2008-09 squad finished with just 16 wins. The Hoyas have not advanced past the second game of either the NCAA tournament or the NIT since reaching the Final Four in 2007.

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