Isaac Copeland scores 20, helps Georgetown beat Seton Hall
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera got some unexpected help from freshman Isaac Copeland and it was more than enough to get Georgetown back on track and extend Seton Hall’s recent woes.
Smith-Rivera scored 23 points, Copeland had a career-high 20 in his second start and Georgetown defeated Seton Hall 86-67 on Tuesday night after blowing an early 20-point lead.
"Isaac today played like a man" said Smith-Rivera. "You know that’s how we need him to play for the remainder of the season."
Jabril Trawick added 12 points as the Hoyas (16-8, 8-5 Big East) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the second time in five games. It was a skid that knocked them out of the Top 25.
Georgetown got back on track shooting 52.5 percent from the field and using big spurts to open and close the contest.
"We definitely wanted to come out here and take advantage of the opportunity, which we did," Smith-Rivera said. "So we can look forward to the next one and try to continue to capitalize on the opportunity."
Georgetown coach John Thompson III said his team will use to next week off to rest and to improve.
"We have to get significantly better in a few areas as we look toward the end of the season," he said.
Sterling Gibbs had 17 points to lead Seton Hall (15-9, 5-7). Freshman Angel Delgado added 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Pirates, who lost their third straight and for the sixth time in eight games while seeing their NCAA tournament hopes take another hit.
"It’s definitely difficult," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said of the struggles of his young team. "I am not going to sugarcoat it right now. We have to figure it out. We have to reach down and find something within ourselves. We have to find some toughness and get some toughness. They have done it before. They have to remember how to do it."
Down 27-7 early, Seton Hall clawed its way back and tied the game at 44 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Gibbs.
After that it was all Georgetown, with Copeland and Smith-Rivera leading the way.
Smith-Rivera, whose 15.2 point average led the team coming into the game, hit a 3-pointer to put Georgetown ahead for good at 47-44.
Copeland then took over, scoring the next 12 points for the Hoyas, capping the outburst with a 3-point shot and a three-point play for a 59-48 lead with 12:09 left to play.
"Going into the game I knew I was going to start and I wanted to make up for the last game I started," said Copeland, who had five points in his other start against Xavier on Jan. 24. "I wanted to be aggressive and do what my team wanted me to do. I wanted to do a good job."
Seton Hall never threatened again as Georgetown closed the game with a 42-23 run after being tied.
"I have great confidence in these guys," Willard said. "I know it sounds crazy right now, but I think this team is capable of good things."
Willard did not make his players available after the game because of player comments after Saturday’s loss to Marquette that many players were looking for their own shots and being selfish.
Georgetown hit 11 of its first 16 shots in taking a 20-point lead and setting the stage for a blowout.
It didn’t happen that way. Seton Hall responded with a 22-6 spurt that featured eight points apiece by Gibbs and Delgado.
"Too many times this season when the other team is making a run, we respond with poor offense, poor decisions," Thompson said.
The Pirates were within 43-38 after Isaiah Whitehead hit a late 3-pointer and they tied the contest when Gibbs hit an uncontested 3-pointer from the corner.
Georgetown: Copeland’s previous career-high for points was 17. He also matched his career high for rebounds with eight.
Seton Hall: The Pirates hit 19 of 31 shots from the free throw line, with Gibbs even throwing up an air ball while trying to convert a three-point play.