Georgetown gets another crack at No. 4 Xavier

The last time Georgetown played Xavier, a little more than two weeks ago, the Hoyas took the Musketeers to the limit before losing 96-91 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

A game-tying four-point play with 24 seconds left in regulation by Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett (31 points) forced the overtime. The game had 20 ties and 21 lead changes and neither team led by more than five points.

The teams face each other again Wednesday with Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East) hosting the No. 4 Musketeers (24-4, 12-3) in Washington.

The Hoyas have not played since winning at Butler 87-83 on Feb. 13 while Xavier is coming off a humbling 95-79 loss at home against No. 3 Villanova on Saturday.

“I told our team afterward (against Georgetown in the first matchup) that we should have done a better job defensively with our game plan but I give Georgetown a lot of credit. We had a battle on our hands at the very end and the game could have gone either way,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “Our team was able to function down the stretch, get good shots for each other, play deep into the shot clock and execute, and hopefully that really helps us as we get closer to the end of February and early March.”

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing is encouraged with the resolve of his team after beating Butler on the road.

Junior forward Marcus Derrickson had a career-high 27 points and three others scored in double figures in the victory.

“We’ve lost six or seven games when we’ve had the lead,” Ewing said. “If my team hasn’t learned from that yet, then we aren’t going to learn anything. I thought we showed some resiliency and were able to make plays at the end both offensively and defensively.”

Derrickson made 11 of 13 shots from the field, including all three attempts from 3-point range against Butler. He was one of four Georgetown players who had at least 19 points in the first meeting with Xavier.

Jahvon Blair matched Derrickson with 19 points, Jamorko Pickett had 21 and Jessie Govan scored 23.

“We shared the ball, a lot of guys chipped in and did a lot of good things,” Ewing said. “But the outcome did not come out the way we would’ve liked.”

Mack is trying to reason his team’s loss at home against Villanova, which puts the Musketeers only percentage points ahead of the Wildcats in the standings. Bluiett finished with 26 points in that game.

Xavier, down 51-37 at halftime, managed to cut the lead to three points with less than 13 minutes remaining before Villanova pulled away, outscoring the Musketeers 33-20 the rest of the game.

“I give our guys a lot of credit to even come out of the locker room to find ourselves in the deficit that we were, not hanging our heads and being able to get back in the game,” Mack said. “As I told our team in the locker room, when you play an elite-level team the margin for error is razor thin.

“When you make a couple mistakes you might be able to get away with versus some teams, that’s not the case with Villanova. A five-point deficit becomes an 11-point deficit, so you’re playing uphill again.”