Georgetown Holds Off Bulldogs

Kellen Dunham (Photo by John Fetcho)

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Guards Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera combined for 37 points and Georgetown held off a late Butler comeback attempt to post a 71-63 victory at the Verizon Center on Saturday (Feb. 8).  It was Butler's second straight loss and dropped the Bulldogs to 12-11 on the season and 2-9 in the BIG EAST.

Starks scored six of his team-high 19 points in the final two minutes to stymie Butler's attempt to erase an 11-point second half deficit.  Smith-Rivera had 14 of his 18 points after intermission.  The two backcourt players combined to hit 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the final 20 minutes.

As a team, Georgetown shot 53.8% from the field and 82.4% from the free throw line in the second half.

"They put the ball in their guards' hands and came off a number of different ball screens," said Butler head coach Brandon Miller of Georgetown's second half play.

"Georgetown has one of the best backcourts in the BIG EAST," added Butler's coach.

The Bulldogs, who led by as many as seven points in the first half, found themselves trailing, 58-47, with just under seven minutes remaining.  But a 9-2 Butler run cut the margin to 60-56 with 2:26 left.  That was a close as the Bulldogs would get down the stretch.

"It was a four-point, six-point game and we run a set, and just don't catch the ball and the ball goes out of bounds," said Miller.  "But we actually played well enough on the offensive end.  It was our defense.  We just couldn't get a stop."

"When you have a small room for error and you make mistakes, you set yourself up for not having the result you want."

The strong play of Starks and Smith-Rivera overshadowed a career performance by Butler freshman Andrew Chrabascz.  The 6-7 forward scored a career-high 24 points and added four rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot.  He hit nine of 13 shots from the field, including his first collegiate three-pointer, and five of six from the free throw line.

"Teammates were finding me in the right places," said Chrabascz.  "(Georgetown is) very aggressive on defense, so good passes by (Alex) Barlow and all of our guards got them."

Chrabascz scored Butler's final five points of the first half and the first 10 points of the second half.  He hit a pair of free throws with 15:44 left in the game to cut Georgetown's margin to 37-35, but that's as close as the Bulldogs would come.

"Give a lot of credit to Georgetown.  They're a very good basketball team and they're playing very well right now," stated Miller.  "This is their third win in a row, and they had a number of different guys step up, especially in the second half of the game."

Sophomore Kellen Dunham finished with 15 points and a team-high six rebounds, while senior Khyle Marshall added 10.  Nate Lubick posted 10 points and nine rebounds for Georgetown.

The loss was Butler's second this season to Georgetown (14-9, 5-6 BIG EAST).  The Hoyas won the first meeting between the two teams, 70-67 in overtime, at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 11.

Butler begins a brief homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 11, against Xavier.  That contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 9 p.m. (ET).  The Bulldogs will wrap the homestand against league-leading Creighton on Thursday, Feb. 13).