First of all, wow. Just WOW! What a game! Your Georgetown Fighting "Heart Attack" Hoyas gave the fans yet another thriller of a game, ultimately prevailing over Butler in the "Bulldog Bowl." It was quite the game to see in person from the front row, but it wasn't without a lot of stress and struggling.
I was unsure of how well we would do given that, although a fellow Hoyas fan was kind enough to give me my usual front row, behind-the-basket seat, an error led to my usual Pope Francis cutout not being present. Fortunately Georgetown Athletics had a few Paul White "big heads" available, and I was glad to get my hands on one. As everyone prepared to line up for the national anthem, I held my cutout up and cheered. White saw and gave me an acknowledgement. That and the fact that I swear I saw Josh Smith make a 20-footer at the end of warmups signaled potential success for the Hoyas.
The first half of this one, however, seemed genuinely awful for the first 18 minutes. By the time Butler seized a 12-point lead with 2:32 to go in the first half, I had already thrown my towel on the ground a fair number of times in frustration. Despite that, the Hoyas did not throw in their towel. The Hoyas went on a 12-4 run to end the first half and cut the lead to 4 heading into the break. The deficit was due to Georgetown shooting 30.7% from the field on 8-26 shooting and due to a lack of defense on Butler's dynamic forwards Roosevelt Jones and Kellen Dunham, who combined for 25 of Butler's 31 first half points. This one seemed a lot like the Indiana game. Their shots were falling; ours were not. The second half had to be better.
This game became a never-ending back-and-forth swing in the second half, which really got the crowd back into it. The students had gotten quieter late in the first half and then again midway through the second when Butler went on a run to regain the lead. Fortunately, the crowd got particularly loud when it really needed to, and the last few minutes of the game gave me quite the headache thanks to the substantial help I got in cheering. I like to think that it helped for me to tweet out to Verizon Center and Fox Sports 1 telling them to put me on the scoreboard and on TV more because it leads to Hoyas success. They probably did not read the tweet, but obliged, and it coincided with the Hoyas fighting their way back into the game.
It was nice to see Isaac Copeland make the most of his extended run, scoring all 10 of his points in the second half, especially this (relive it again and again!) Copeland's three pointer drove the Hoya faithful nuts. I think most of us doubted that coach John Thompson III could draw up the right play as time wound down, but the success of this play should be reason for us to have faith. The crowd and I were all still concerned that Butler would force overtime, especially with me seeing the similarities to the Indiana game. Fortunately D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera decided to join Isaac Copeland in the "Hero of the Game" club by stuffing Roosevelt Jones' drive to the basket as time expired. The crowd erupted like the game was over. Technically it was, as the clock showed 0.0 and the Hoyas were leading, but we had to wait until the referees confirmed the time and lack of a foul for this win to be official.
Copeland and DSR were the stars, Other on-court highlights included Mikael Hopkins putting in an unusually good all-around performance with 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks, as well as DSR leading the way with 14 points. I had been surprised at the lack of usage for Joshua Smith, who scored 10 points in only 19 minutes, but this made more sense once I found out that he had flu-like symptoms in addition to his early foul trouble. I would have also loved to have seen Paul White play more, but I would guess that he was sentenced to ride the pine for most of the game after two quick first half fouls.
Regardless, this game was a much-needed win against a stealthily strong Butler team. I may need to go rest for a day and a half to prepare myself to potentially wait all day to get my seat against Villanova, but even if not, it should still be a great game. If you can attend, by all means, do. We need you in the Verizon Center and maybe even in the student section.
Hoya Saxa! Beat Villanova!