Smith-Rivera leads No. 21 Hoyas past cold-shooting Creighton
Georgetown coach John Thompson III knew his team had shut down Creighton for a long time. He was surprised after the game when he was told just how long.
The Bluejays went more than 17 minutes over the halves without a field goal Saturday, and by the time they finally broke through, the 21st-ranked Hoyas were well on their way to their 67-40 victory.
"That’s a long time. I didn’t realize that. It didn’t feel like it," Thompson said. "When you’re out there, you’re worried."
Thompson really had nothing to worry about as Georgetown (15-6, 7-3 Big East) bounced back from a 13-point home loss against Xavier with a dominating performance against the conference’s last-place team.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 24 points, with 12 coming during the 31-3 run that ended with Jabril Trawick’s 3-pointer giving Georgetown a 43-18 lead with 13 minutes left. Creighton missed 24 shots in a row before Avery Dingman’s 3-pointer from the corner drew a roar from the CenturyLink Center sellout crowd of 17,499.
"Simply put, that’s embarrassing," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "It was a battle of toughness, and we certainly weren’t up to the challenge."
Creighton shot 17.9 percent (5 of 28) the first 20 minutes, its worst mark for a half this season, and a season-low 20.8 percent for the game.
"It wasn’t that they took shots out of the norm," Smith-Rivera said. "Today they got quite a few shots they usually knock down that they didn’t make. I think we defended well, so it kind of frustrated them a little."
Trawick added 15 points for the Hoyas. Dingman finished with eight points to lead Creighton (10-13, 1-9).
Georgetown, which beat Creighton 76-61 in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 3, dropped out of first place in the Big East with its loss to Xavier on Tuesday. The Hoyas scored a season-low 53 points, shot 39 percent and turned over the ball a season-high 17 times in that game.
They shot 50 percent against Creighton and cut their turnover total to 10. They used their superior athleticism to frustrate the Bluejays, never more than when 6-foot-10, 350-pound Joshua Smith threw down a backboard-shaking dunk over two Creighton players in the second half.
Georgetown scored the first nine points and led 12-2 less than five minutes after tipoff. Will Artino missed a point-blank shot underneath the basket, the first of a half-dozen missed layups by the Bluejays, and Toby Hegner air-balled a wide-open 3-pointer.
The Hoyas briefly let Creighton back into it, missing nine shots in a row and going scoreless nearly six minutes. Creighton rolled off 13 straight points and led by three after Devin Brook’s lay-in with 10:09 left.
But the Bluejays didn’t make another field goal for 17 minutes, 18 seconds, after they had fallen behind by 25 points.
"We didn’t give ourselves a chance shooting that bad," Dingman said. "We’ve got to keep shooting. Guys need to get in the gym and get up a lot more shots, and we need to stay confident."
Georgetown: Forward L.J. Peak was back in the Hoyas’ starting lineup. Peak started the first 19 games but did not Tuesday against Xavier because of an ankle injury. …The Hoyas’ struggles at the free-throw line continued in the first half. After making 13 of 24 against Xavier, they were 5 of 9.
Creighton: Bluejays are 1-4 against Top 25 opponents. … Toby Hegner, whose 21 points against St. John’s on Wednesday were the most by a Creighton freshman since 2010-11, was held to five. … The Bluejays, who have used eight starting combinations in 23 games, opened with all seniors for the second straight game.
HOW COLD WERE THEY?
Creighton’s 20.8-percent shooting was the 12th-lowest mark in Division I this season, according to STATS, and the lowest by a Big East team since Marquette shot 18.9 percent against Ohio State on Nov. 16, 2013. It was the worst in a Big East game since West Virginia shot 20 percent against Cincinnati on Jan. 30, 2008.
Thompson wasn’t ready to give credit to his team’s defense for Creighton’s dismal shooting. "As a coach you forget the 10 stops you had. You remember the one open shot when someone didn’t do something and they get a wide-open shot. I can think of too many of those examples to praise our defense."
Georgetown hosts Providence on Wednesday.
Creighton visits Xavier on Wednesday.