Butler 85, Georgetown 76
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON DC – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports XChange) – There was no doubt Butler coach Chris Holtmann feared a letdown entering Saturday’s road matchup at Georgetown, the first game after the Bulldogs beat No. 1 Villanova. Holtmann’s players had other ideas.
Kamar Baldwin scored 16 points and No. 18 Butler capped its high-profile week with an 85-76 overtime win over traditional Big East power Georgetown on Saturday afternoon.
Kelan Martin had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (14-2, 3-1 Big East), who pulled away with 11 straight points in overtime after rallying late in regulation to force the extra session. Nate Fowler, Andrew Chrabascz and Kethan Savage each also scored 11 points.
Butler ended reigning national champion and current No. 1-ranked Villanova’s 20-game winning streak with a 66-58 victory Wednesday night.
“It was a major concern,” Holtmann said of his team potentially coming up short after the high of downing the nation’s top team.
The coach said he was asked if he slept much after the Villanova game. “I said no. And they said ‘Because you were so excited?’ And I said, ‘No, because of Georgetown on Saturday at noon.'”
It appeared Butler might be victim of an upset against Georgetown, but Fowler’s two free throws with nine seconds remaining in regulation after grabbing an offensive rebound tied the game 68-68.
L.J. Peak scored 21 points for the Hoyas (8-8, 0-4), but missed a potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer in regulation.
“It’s nine seconds left in the game. Get a rebound and it’s over,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III lamented.
Peak’s layup with 3:23 left in overtime tied the score 70-70. By the time Georgetown scored again, Butler led 81-70 by hitting nine free throw attempts.
Georgetown, 0-4 in conference play for the first time in program history, has lost 10 consecutive Big East regular-season games.
“We have to fight, we have to fight, we have to fight. It’s as simple as that,” Thompson said. “It’s no magic dust that can be sprinkled. We just have to come and fight.”
Jagan Mosely scored a career-high 20 points for the Hoyas and Marcus Derrickson had 14.
Rodney Pryor, the co-leading scorer in the Big East with 19.8 points, didn’t score while finishing 0 of 8 from the field.
Georgetown doubled up Butler’s scoring in the paint 40-20, but was outscored 25-15 from the free throw line. The Bulldogs only shot 39.1 percent from the field, yet sank 10 of 20 3-point attempts, with Fowler hitting the biggest of the bunch.
Georgetown led 66-63 as Mosely split a pair of free throws with 1:08 left to cap a 9-0 run. Fowler countered with a game-tying 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining, ending a 3-minute, 54-second scoreless drought for the Bulldogs.
“Like Coach always tells us, we just have to stay together, stay connected, ” Baldwin said. “We were down three and he drew up a great play to get Nate a shot.”
Fowler, a seldom-used reserve last season as a freshman, went 3 of 3 from the floor.
“It was a little bit different from last year,” the 6-foot-10 center said of being on the court in crunch time. “I’ve been practicing a lot in the offseason and getting used to being in these situations.”
Pryor entered tied with Villanova’s Josh Hart for first in scoring among Big East players. Butler held Hart to 3-for-11 shooting in Wednesday’s win.
“They’re really talented scorers,” Holtmann said of Pryor and Hart. “Hopefully we had something to do with (their struggles.)”
Despite Pryor’s woes, Georgetown led 32-31 at halftime. The wing threat only played 10 of the final 25 minutes as Thompson searched for more well-rounded options.
“Maybe you have those nights, but the game is more than just putting the ball in the basket,” Thompson said.
NOTES: Butler remains on the road for Wednesday’s clash with No. 10 Creighton. The Bulldogs are 4-0 against ranked opponents this season. … Georgetown’s second contest of a four-game homestand pits the Hoyas against Saint John’s on Monday. The Hoyas swept the home-and-home series last season. … Butler G Kethan Savage, who scored 13 points against Villanova, had 11 points in his return home. Savage grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs and played two seasons at George Washington before transferring.