Georgetown Falls at Creighton, 76-63

Eric Francis

Hoyas drop fourth in a row as game defense can't compensate for sputtering offense.

Georgetown played roughly true to form Saturday night, losing at conference leader Creighton in a hostile environment by double digits. The Hoyas' path to that result was a bit surprising, but the result was expected.

Creighton's high-octane offense has been one of the Big East's headlines, most recently on Monday, when the Bluejays blew out #4 Villanova in Philadelphia. Early on Saturday, Georgetown looked prepared for that onslaught, aggressively guarding Creighton on the perimeter and denying open looks to Bluejay star Doug McDermott. Georgetown's early defensive attentiveness encouraged the Bluejays to settle for ill-advised contested jumpers, resulting in just 7 points in the first 10 minutes.

For a while, it looked like the Hoyas might capitalize on Creighton's drought. After some early offense created by the Georgetown back court, freshman Reggie Cameron buried a three to give Georgetown a four-point lead halfway through the first half. Still, offensive depth continued to be an issue, as too much of the shot creation fell to Markel Starks, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, or Mikael Hopkins, who bullied his way to the rim in sometimes chaotic but often effective fashion.

Without many scoring options, Georgetown was ill-equipped to keep pace with the inevitable Creighton scoring run. Soon, Bluejay sharpshooter Ethan Wragge caught fire from deep, fueling a 19-6 Bluejay run with three triples and a trio of free-throws when Cameron fouled him on another hoist from deep. Wragge's perimeter touch opened up the lane, where a variety of Bluejays found openings that pushed Creighton's advantage to 10 by the half.

Georgetown never seriously threatened in the second half, briefly closing the margin to single digits before another Hoya scoring drought let Creighton pull away. There isn't much new to add that hasn't been said already about Georgetown's lack of offensive options. Marquette and now Creighton have appropriately keyed in on Smith-Rivera and Starks, shading an extra defender in those scorers' direction to challenge the rest of the Hoyas to score.

Hopkins, to his credit, obliged, attacking the rim on a series of cuts and post-ups that at least convinced Creighton that he was willing, and occasionally able, to shoot. Cameron also proved willing, occasionally a bit too willing, to shoot, finishing with 8 points on 3 of 7 shooting. But there was little good to say about the offensive contributions of Aaron Bowen, Nate Lubick, and Moses Ayegba (combined 1-7, 2 points). Starks (21 points) and Smith-Rivera (18 points, 6 rebounds) unsurprisingly led Georgetown in scoring but fell short of their transcendent outputs against Marquette. Without timely scoring from the supporting cast, Georgetown never stood a chance.

Georgetown continued to make things difficult for McDermott and to contest looks on the perimeter, largely eliminating the most usual scoring options. But Creighton played like the savvy, veteran bunch it is, rerouting the ball inside for open looks around the rim. Reserve big man Will Artino (14 points, 5 rebounds) was a particular surprise, matching McDermott as the team's high scorer.

This loss is one more in a dispiriting string but is by no means a surprise. Creighton is at the top of the conference for a reason, and Georgetown has been managed just one win, in overtime, since its active roster reached austerity levels. The Hoyas will have little time to regroup before Villanova visits on Monday.

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