Providence-Georgetown Preview

BY foxsports • January 29, 2016

Providence has been fairly solid this season down the stretch while Georgetown just turned in what could be considered one of the best clutch efforts in college basketball this season.

The 10th-ranked Friars are one of four teams in the country that are unbeaten on the road as they face the Hoyas on Saturday night in a matchup featuring the Big East's top three scorers.

Providence (17-4, 5-3) cut a 17-point second-half deficit to three Tuesday before falling 75-68 at home to No. 7 Xavier, dropping to 2-3 in Big East home games.

"We're tough, we've got a tough team," coach Ed Cooley said. "I think we've got a good basketball team, we've just gotta be a little bit more disciplined at crunch time."

Crunch time has usually been good to the Friars, who are 5-1 in games decided by four points or less.

Providence will visit DePaul after this contest, which marks the halfway point of the conference season. The Friars, who are 5-0 on the road, are tied for fourth place with Creighton.

"I think we're a really good road team so we gotta go out there and get one," star forward Ben Bentil said.

Georgetown (13-8, 6-2) is now tied with the Musketeers for second after rallying from 11 down in the final 2:32 of Tuesday's 74-73 home victory over Creighton. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 19 points, including two free throws with 6.2 seconds left to cap the scoring for the Hoyas, who matched a season high with 10 steals.

"I like the way our guys kept fighting," coach John Thompson III said. "There was a lot of adversity coming from a lot of different angles throughout the game and I liked the way we kept fighting and kept plugging. In the locker room, every single person made a play, a winning play, to help us win this game."

Smith-Rivera is third in the Big East in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Bentil is first at 20 with Providence teammate Kris Dunn second at 16.9.

While the Friars' one-two punch of Bentil and Dunn is one of college basketball's most dynamic duos, the Hoyas are enduring recent woes from their second-leading scorer Isaac Copeland, who averages 10 points.

Copeland has totaled nine on 4-of-18 shooting in his last three games, although he came through with career highs of seven assists and 10 rebounds Tuesday.

"We need him not to worry about the scoring, and that's not saying I don't want Isaac Copeland to score, but the seven assists, 10 boards, a couple of deflections, just play the whole game," Thompson said.

L.J. Peak may soon become the Hoyas' second-best scorer. He's averaging 9.9 points with a total of 36 on 12-of-20 shooting in his last three games.

Bentil scored 25 on Tuesday and Dunn added 16 to move six shy of 1,000 for his career.

Providence won twice by three points over Georgetown last season after dropping nine of the previous 10 meetings. The Friars ended a six-game road slide in the series with a 74-71 victory Feb. 4.

Smith-Rivera is averaging 19.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting in four career starts versus the Friars.

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