Butler had evidently also prepared well in that week off as they found ways to slow scoring by Jessie Govan (2-8 FG) and James Akinjo (0-6 FG) in ways reminiscent of the Villanova game last Sunday.
The Hoyas stuck around all afternoon with the help of free throws (17-22) and offensive rebounds (15), led by Josh LeBlanc (4 ORBs), along with some timely three-pointers from Jamorko Pickett (3-6). Pickett’s efforts, along with Mac McClung’s two threes (7-19 FG, 2-7 3FG) weren’t enough as Butler (10-26 3FG) beat Georgetown (6-22) from beyond the arc.
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Jordan Tucker added 15 points for Butler (14-10, 5-6 Big East) and Paul Jorgensen added 12. It was Butler’s fourth straight win at Capital One Arena, the first three came in overtime. Mac McClung had 21 points or Georgetown (Georgetown 15-9, 5-6), Jamorko Pickett added 18 and Jessie Govan scored 12.
Georgetown loses to Butler, but the Hoyas have definitely taken a step forward in Year 2 of Ewing coaching era. Have five league wins — had five all of last season — and have a nice young backcourt in Akinjo and McClung.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 9, 2019
The Bulldogs’ defense has been off-and-on all season. It was on Saturday. Butler’s 1-2-2 zone and man-to-man muddied offense by Georgetown, which leads the league in scoring (81.7) and prefers a fast tempo. The Hoyas were limited to 38 percent shooting. Butler held star freshman James Akinjo (13.9 ppg) to two points.
Aaron Thompson, who was commanding as point guard, helped hold down Akinjo and committed two hard fouls – one was called a flagrant against McClung. Maybe Thompson, who is from the Washington area, meant to deliver a message: Toughest team sets the rules.
NB: Has Metro PD issued an arrest warrant for Aaron Thompson yet on multiple counts of aggravated assault?
I’m grateful I got the opportunity to cover Butler’s game at Georgetown this afternoon for .@IndyStarSports. Bulldogs went up by as many as 11, but they had to hold off the Hoyas down the stretch to earn the win. https://t.co/Sxr1O400KH— Parker Cotton (@ByParkerCotton) February 9, 2019
Georgetown freshman Mac McClung, who missed the first meeting with an ankle injury, had two close but contested shots at the rim in the last 40 seconds, but both went astray. Though McClung finished with a game-high 21 points, he was held scoreless for the final 13 minutes. Sophomore forward Jamorko Pickett backed him up with 18 points. Butler’s defensive effort on James Akinjo was more pronounced. The freshman guard who averages 13.9 points was 0-for-6 from the field and limited to two points in 27 minutes.
Ewing: "We only had six fast break points. The last time we played them I think we had 30, so we weren't able to get out and score like we did."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) February 9, 2019
Ewing felt his team lacked a sense of urgency from the start.
McClung led Georgetown with 21 points on 7-for-19 shooting and Jamorko Pickett continued his recent hot streak with 18 points and five rebounds, but just as in their loss against Villanova, two of the Hoyas’ biggest scorers were too quiet...
Govan scored just three points after halftime, part of which Ewing took blame for with his play calling but part of which was due to Butler’s defense. The Hoyas outscored the smaller Bulldogs by just 26-20 in the paint.
“I thought our big guys fought like crazy to keep him from catching the ball deep in the post, which, he’s so long when he gets those catches it’s hard to defend,” Butler Coach LaVall Jordan said. “And then the way we were rotating based on the game plan, we took some things away with his pick-and-pop options, and these guys executed.”
Pickett: "I'm just starting to feel a lot more confident, and I'm taking the shots that I know I can make."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) February 9, 2019
Butler went on a nine-point run from down 17-14, with 12:09 left in the first half to take a six-point lead. The Hoyas went into the half down, 41-35, with the team shooting 38.7 percent from the floor. McClung was already in double digits with 14 points, but freshman guard James Akinjo was scoreless and freshman forward Josh LeBlanc only had one point. Ewing was disappointed to see his team come out flat in the first half and fall behind early. “At home in front of one of the largest crowds we’ve had in here, we’ve got to come up with that,” he said.
In the opening 20 minutes, the Bulldogs shot nine percent better from the field and 15 percent better from three. They won the bench battle by 10, got eight fastbreak points and committed one less turnover than Georgetown. Butler still only led by six because of the Hoyas’ 11-0 edge in second-chance points. Georgetown only managed 45 points from its first shots, a testament to how effective the Bulldogs’ defense was.
The other 24 were the result of 15 offensive rebounds. Guarding well doesn’t matter if the possession doesn’t end in a rebound. When Butler shoots 44 percent from the field and goes 10-of-26 from deep while being this good defensively, it should win by 15, not four.
#Butler once again rode Kamar Baldwin and strong bench contributions to snag a big win, this time on the road against Georgetown. Here were @hardwiredsports' takeaways from the performance. #GoDawgshttps://t.co/Hayv3pUzbG— Busting Brackets (@BustingBrackets) February 9, 2019
Additionally, even teams with outstanding depth need a break. To start conference play, the Dawgs had to play 10 games over the span of 32 days and it was clear that their stamina was drained near the end of that stretch. Heading into this matchup with Georgetown, though, Butler had an entire week to prepare and that was evident. The Dawgs came out with a ton of energy and had a strong gameplan, especially on the offensive end, from the jump.
Georgetown had its chances to strike even, but costly turnovers and missed layups doomed their comeback effort. Josh LeBlanc had the best opportunity of all to trim the deficit, but his seemingly-open dunk attempt was swatted by Tucker’s excellent help defense. McClung had a chance to make it a one-possession game with 40 seconds remaining when the Hoyas ran a play to get him going towards the basket, but the freshman was unable to finish the contested layup.
Pickett: "Going into these last seven games we have to win as much as we can to pull away from the rest of the guys."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) February 9, 2019
Ewing on how they're approaching the rest of the season: "Win at all costs. We have to separate ourselves if we're going to do well."— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) February 9, 2019