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February 3, 2014

Hoyas buck up, take down Blue Demons

February 3, 2014 - After Saturday's stirring defeat of top ten ranked Michigan State in NYC, and the subsequent travel directly to Chicago for tonight's game at DePaul, Georgetown's Hoyas might be forgiven for a letdown and/or fatigue. The Blue Demons were ninth in the BIG EAST coming into the game, Michigan State has been mentioned as a national championship contender, and four days on the road can be sapping for college players.

After a slow start, the Hoyas got into gear, defeating DePaul at AllState Arena 71-59. G'Town is now 13-9 on the year, 4-6 in BIG EAST play. DePaul has fallen to 10-13, 2-8 for conference action.

Falling behind 11-4 to start the game, the Hoyas were down only 30-27 at intermission, in certain measure due to senior point guard Markel Starks's 12 points in the stanza. For the contest, he finished with 26 points, including 11-14 from the charity stripe in the second half, his entire free throw work.

The Hoyas equalized the game at 32 with 18:02 in the second half after a jumper by sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-rivera, never looking back, eventually blowing the game open after a three ball from junior swingman Jabril Trawick at 11:04 to go; that shot started a 18-9 Blue and Grey run, punctuated by a pair of Starks' free throws at the 4:40 mark.

Senior wing Aaron Bowen's steal and dunk with little more than a minute to go extinguished all hope for the Blue Demons. Bowen logged five points and four rebounds.

One G'Town player that made a difference was Trawick, owner of a 15 point, three board statline. He would convert four shots at the rim and a quartet of free throws, illustrative of his penchant for playing aggressively.

The Hoyas were not without challenges: Starks and Smith-Rivera, the offensive engine of the team, shot 6-18 and 3-11 respectively, though they were huge from the charity stripe - Smith-Rivera joined Starks with 11 free throw makes, going 11-11, the lion's share of his 17 point output, all but two free throws being sunk in the second half.

An aggressive match up zone seemed to flummox the Blue Devils, a key point in G'Town's victory. Nevertheless the Hoyas shot 36% for the game, less than DePaul's 37.3% mark, though the Blue Demons didn't score form the field for swaths of five and three minutes in the second half, pointing towards the Hoyas' defensive impact. DePaul went 23.5% for three pointers, yet G'Town was was under 30% itself (29.4%).

For the second time this season every G'Town big in the rotation fouled out, the last being senior center Moses Ayegba, disqualified with 3:02 remaining in regulation after an unnecessary defensive swim move. Junior forward Mikael Hopkins left for good at the 3:48 mark, while senior forward Nate Lubick was shown the pine by referees with a little less than four and a half minutes to play.

As a group, the trio scored eight points, though Lubick tied a game high 10 rebound mark, while Ayegba pulled down five. DePaul managed one more carom, 39-38, for the contest.

Senior guard Brandon Young led DePaul, scoring 15 points and adding seven rebounds, three assists for DePaul. A pair of freshman guards joined him in double figure points, R.J. Curington and Billy Garrett, with 10 and 12 respectively.

Tommy Hamilton IV, a first year center, joined the Hoyas' Lubick with 10 rebounds and also scored 10 points.

The Hoyas take a much needed break, taking the court again Saturday, a home tilt with Butler. Tip-off is set for 1p EST, and John Thompson III's team looks to make it three straight.

DePaul travels to Creighton for a Friday matchup, which starts at 9p EST. The Blue Demons have fallen five consecutive times, while tasting defeat at the hands of G'Town 14 straight games.

For more on the Hoyas' win, see Premium Court.

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