Instant analysis: Gritty Hoyas win wild one at Butler

Instant analysis: Gritty Hoyas win wild one at Butler
January 11, 2014, 10:00 pm
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Recap: Georgetown's wildest game of the season started with uncertainty due to those not playing.

The game played on with much promise as Georgetown led Butler for the opening 36 minutes and by nine deep into the second half.

The game then looked lost as the Bulldogs rallied past their foul-plagued and free throw missing guests in the final minutes at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The game went longer as Markel Starks' 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining forced overtime.

The game went small as the Hoyas used purely used perimeter players in the extra session after Nate Lubick, Moses Ayegba and Mikael Hopkins fouled out in regulation.

The game then included approved larceny as Georgetown twice turned Aaron Bowen steals into go-ahead fast break scores inside the final 52 seconds.

The wildest game of the season had one constant for the Hoyas: Grit with a capital G. That tenacity and resilience kept coach John Thompson III's undermanned squad alive throughout and ultimately proved why the result turned victorious as Georgetown held on for a 70-67 overtime win over Butler on Saturday night.

Georgetown improved to 11-4 overall, 3-1 in Big East play and won its first true road game in three attempts. Butler dropped to 10-6 and 0-4 in its first Big East season.

The finish: Bowen's frontcourt interception and fast-break dunk with 52 seconds left gave Georgetown the lead for good at 66-64. After each team made one free throw, Bowen's next steal led to Reggie Cameron's layup and 69-65 lead with 14 seconds left. Starks closed out the game's scoring by splitting a pair of free throw after a Butler basket. Kellen Dunham, who led all scorers with 21 points, missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Player stats: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera carried the offense during regulation with 18 points and had another stat-stuffing effort with seven rebounds and five assists. Starks misfired for the opening 39 minutes, but had eight of his 15 points over the final 5:16 including overtime. Bowen scored 11 points.

End of regulation: Georgetown led from the start, entered halftime up 34-29 and took a 50-41 on Starks' 3-pointer with 7:00 remaining. The Hoyas then began committing turnovers, missing free throws and committing fouls. Butler took advantage with a 17-7 run, during which Georgetown's Lubick, Ayegba and Hopkins fouled out. The Bulldogs sank two free throws with 3:19 left for their first lead at 53-52. They hit two more from the line for a 60-57 lead with 24 seconds remaining. Coming out of a timeout, Georgetown set up Starks for the game-tying 3-pointer.

Short-handed: The Hoyas played without starters Jabril Trawick and Joshua Smith, who didn't travel with the team for a second straight game due to an academic issue. The school announced earlier in the day that Trawick suffered a broken jaw in Wednesday's loss at Providence. 

Small ball: With their size out, Thompson used wings Bowen, Cameron and former walk-on John Caprio along the frontcourt with Smith-Rivera and Starks in the backcourt throughout overtime.  

Key stat: Georgetown held Butler to 2 of 21 from beyond the 3-point arc

Key stat 2: Butler made 25 of 33 free throws. Georgetown only took 16, making eight.

Next man up: Making his first college start in place of Trawick, Cameron sank his first jumper, scored seven points in the first half, his points until the late dunk. Hopkins made his first start since last season. Caprio, the Hoyas de-facto third guard with Trawick out, played extensive minutes after receiving seven over the previous seven games.

Odds and ends: With the ball Georgetown looked more like Princeton-type offense squad that at any other point this season, especially in the first half. ...With a more In response to a short roster and without its top defender, Georgetown avoided using full court pressure defense after having done so with greater frequency in recent games. ...Former Hoya star and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert s

See you soon: Georgetown hosts Butler on Feb. 8, 1 p.m. tip

On deck: The Hoyas conclude their season-long three-game road trip at Xavier on Wednesday