Georgetown 71, Creighton 51
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON DC – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The scoreboard did not work in the first few minutes of Big East game Wednesday between No. 16 Creighton and Georgetown at the Verizon Center.
And neither did the Bluejays’ outside shooting. Creighton missed its first six shots from 3-point range and was of 1 of 8 from long distance in the first half.
Creighton, which entered the game shooting 41 percent from 3-point range, could never find its rhythm in a 71-51 setback to Georgetown. The Bluejays shot just 34.5 percent from the field and made only 1 of 18 shots from 3-point range.
Georgetown guard L.J. Peak had 20 points to reach 1,000 for his career, graduate guard Rodney Pryor added 18 points and a career-high six assists, and center Jessie Govan had 15 points.
It was the second loss in a row for the Bluejays without guard Maurice Watson Jr., who is out for the season with leg injury sustained Jan. 16 against Xavier.
“We really didn’t have an answer for Pryor and Peak,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “We are fighting a lot of adversity right now. We have lost a good player. We have some guys fighting the flu. We have to be able to corral that adversity and try and use it to our advantage. We are going to need some young guys to step up. Our margin for error is different that it was before.”
Pryor was quick to point out his number of assists.
“We knew we needed to get into our (offense) early,” Pryor said. “Our guards do a good job of putting on pressure. Without Watson … we have guards that can get downhill, and that is good for me.”
Georgetown (11-10, 2-6 Big East) won the battle of the boards 47-36 and improved to 4-0 at home against the Bluejays since Creighton joined the Big East. The Hoyas, who had 20 assists on 29 baskets, led by 12 points at halftime and by 22 with 1:35 left in the game.
“We just made sure we put a body on everybody,” Govan said. “It worked out in our favor today. We were focused on defense today. It was an overall team effort.”
Creighton, meanwhile, needs to find a new identity without Watson, a Philadelphia product.
“Maurice is a very good player. It has been hard because we have to find a different way,” said Bluejays freshman center Justin Patton, who had a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds. “Just toughness and execution (on rebounding). We just have to execute that and be tougher. We just lost focus. We didn’t follow the scouting report.”
Creighton (18-3, 5-3) also got 12 points from guard Marcus Foster.
John Thompson III, the Georgetown head coach, was grateful for a rare win.
“It feels really, really good. I thought out guys … we were very engaged,” Thompson said. “We have watched a lot of film. Clearly they miss Watson. He is one of the best players in the country. They will figure it out. That is a very talented team without him.”
The Hoyas built the margin to 50-34 with 16:30 left in the game on a basket by Peak. Forward Marcus Derrickson scored as boosted built the margin to 55-36.
The Hoyas eventually led by 20, but Patton scored on a layup with 6:48 left to trim the difference to 62-48. Derrickson made a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give Georgetown a 66-48 lead with 4:55 left. The Hoyas led by 21 with less than two minutes to go.
It was the first win in 17 games for Georgetown against a Big East team other than DePaul and St. John’s.
The start of the game was sloppy and the scoreboard did not work in the opening minutes. Neither team shot a free throw until Foster made two with 7:58 left in the first half for Creighton.
Peak hit a 3-pointer to give Georgetown the lead at 16-15 with 6:40 left in the first half.
The Hoyas made it 23-17 on a 3-pointer by Pryor, and reserve forward and Omaha product Akoy Agau — playing against his hometown team — made a layup with one second left in the first half to give Georgetown a 39-27 edge at intermission.
“They are physical, long and athletic,” McDermott said of the Hoyas. “Pryor and Peak were at times able to rise over us and score. We got in such a hurry (against the Georgetown pressure). We certainly have things to tweak. We have got to have guys step up and play better.
“We are going to keep working. That group will not point fingers. I know that for a fact. We are juggling personnel. They all just have to keep working.”
Creighton was averaging a conference-best 87.1 points per game and making 52.8 percent of its shots from the field before Wednesday.
NOTES: Creighton plays at home Saturday against DePaul, and Georgetown is at Butler the same day. … Bluejays G Marcus Foster scored 45 points in the previous two games, including 30 in a loss to Marquette on Saturday. … The teams split two games last season, with Georgetown winning 74-73 at home. … Creighton G Isaiah Zierden is son of Don Zierden, a former assistant with the Washington Wizards.