Men's Basketball

En Guard! Smith-Rivera, Starks Help Lead Georgetown Past No. 10 VCU, 84-80

Nov. 24, 2013

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San Juan, Puerto Rico - Georgetown guards D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central/Oak Hill) and d Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) combined for 49 points as Georgetown put three players in double figures, used a key second half run to take the lead and hit 13 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes en route to an 84-80 win over No. 10 VCU in the third round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Coliseo Roberto Clemente Sunday afternoon.

It was the second-straight win for the Hoyas, who improved to 3-2 overall this season, while the Rams fell to 4-2 overall.

Smith-Rivera scored a game-high 26 points, hitting five three-pointers, while Starks scored 23, including 18 in the second half and all 10 of his free throw attempts, to lead the Hoyas, while junior center Joshua Smith (Kent, Wash./Kentwood/UCLA) added 17 points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Hoyas trailed by eight, 48-40, in the second half, but used a 14-5 run to take a 54-53 lead and then used a 9-2 run over 3:11 in the latter stages of the half to take the lead for good, 63-57, on a layup from Smith-Rivera with 6:12 to play in the game. VCU narrowed the gap to four points, 67-63, on free throws from Treveon Graham with 4:01 left, but senior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks) hit a big layup with 3:32 left to push the lead back to six points, 69-63.

Free throws from Smith at the 2:36 mark pushed the lead to eight points, 71-63, and VCU was able to narrow the lead down to five points, but Starks hit six free throws in the final 34 seconds and freshman forward Reggie Cameron (Hackensack, N.J./Hudson Catholic) hit 1-of-2 with 1.8 seconds left to seal the win.

Trailing by one at the start of the second half (30-29), the Hoyas used a 9-3 spurt over the opening 1:43 and took a 38-33 lead on a pair of free throws from Smith. VCU used a 7-2 run to take a 40-39 lead on a Johnson three-pointer, but free throws from Starks gave the Hoyas a 41-40. The Rams responded with an 8-0 run, capped by another Johnson three, and took a 48-41 lead with 14:03 to play in the game, forcing Georgetown to call a timeout.

The Hoyas responded quickly, with Smith-Rivera hitting a jumper and a three-pointer to key a 14-5 run over a span of 1:50 - with senior center Moses Ayegba (Kano, Nigeria/Progressive Christian [Md.]) hitting two free throws and junior center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) scoring four points - to take a 54-43 lead on a Starks layup with 9:48 to play. Trailing 55-54 after free throws from VCU's Treveon Graham with 9:23 left, the Hoyas used a 9-2 spurt over 3:11 and took a 63-57 lead on a layup from Smith-Rivera with 6:12 to play.

The first half was back and forth with three ties and five lead changes, a combined 23 turnovers and VCU holding a 19-3 advantage in free throw attempts. Georgetown, which lead for a large portion of the first half, took the lead back on a floating jumper in the lane from senior guard Aaron Bowen (Jacksonville, Fla./QEA [N.C.}). A three-pointer from VCU's Rob Brandenberg with 21 seconds left, however, gave the Rams a 30-29 lead at the break.

Neither team scored in the first two-plus minutes but a hook shot from Lubick put GU on the board first and the Hoyas took an 8-0 lead after layups from Smith-Rivera, Smith and Starks. VCU took advantage of early foul trouble on the Blue & Gray and used an 18-8 run over 6:15 and tied the game at 18-all on a layup from Melvin Johnson with 8:38 to play. Tied at 20-all, VCU took a 26-20 lead on a jumper from Briante Weber but the Hoyas used a 9-1 spurt to take the lead on Bowen's jumper. The senior started the run with a basket, which was followed by a three from Smith-Rivera and free throws from Cameron.

The Hoyas hit 56.1 percent of their field goals (23-of-41), including 73.3 percent in the second half (11-of-15), were 6-of-11 from three-point land (54.5%) and hit 86.5 percent of their free throws (32-of-37). GU held a 34-29 advantage in rebounding, handed out eight assists and committed 26 turnovers, but forced 17 by VCU as well.

Lubick finished with four points and a team-high seven rebounds before fouling out, while Hopkins added four points and three rebounds and Bowen added four points and three rebounds and Ayegba chipped in two points and two rebounds. Smith-Rivera averaged 21.7 points and hit 54.3 percent of his field goals during the tournament.

Georgetown is back home on Saturday, Nov. 30, hosting Lipscomb at Verizon Center. Tipoff at the Hoyas downtown is slated for noon and the game will be shown live on Fox Sports 1, with Jason Benetti and Gary Williams calling the action.

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