WASHINGTON (AP) — Markel Starks scored 19 points and Georgetown won its third straight game, defeating Butler 71-63 Saturday afternoon at Verizon Center.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 18 points and Nate Lubick had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Hoyas (14-9, 5-6 Big East), who have turned it around after a five-game losing streak. Georgetown’s winning streak began with a victory over then-No.7 Michigan State at Madison Square Garden a week ago.
Georgetown led 29-25 at halftime and extended its advantage to 58-47 on a jumper by Smith-Rivera with 6:53 left. Butler battled back, getting within four points twice in the last 2:30, but Georgetown had the answers. Starks’ jumper with 45 seconds left gave the Hoyas a 66-59 cushion.
Andrew Chrabascz scored a career-high 24 and Kellen Dunham added 15 for the Bulldogs (12-11, 2-9), who fell back into a last-place tie with DePaul during their first season in the Big East.
Chrabascz scored 15 consecutive Butler points spanning the end of the first half and start of the second, and finished 9-of-13 from the field. His previous career high was also against the Hoyas. He had 14 points in the Bulldogs’ 70-67 overtime home loss to Georgetown Jan. 11.
Georgetown is in the middle of a stretch of games against teams struggling in conference play, having defeated DePaul for the 14th consecutive time Monday. After next hosting Providence on Monday, the Hoyas will visit St. John’s and Seton Hall. Four of the Hoyas’ conference wins are against the league’s two worst teams.
Smith-Rivera converted all eight of his free-throw attempts, helping Georgetown shoot 16 of 19 from the line. He’s now 40 of 41 from the stripe over his last six games, allowing him to be effective despite having missed 17 consecutive 3-pointers.
Butler missed its first eight field-goal attempts and started the game 5 of 20, but led 11-4 early and 13-10 midway through the first half as Georgetown didn’t shoot much better and turned the ball over five times. After both offenses got going, the Hoyas took a 21-20 lead with 3:30 remaining on a 3-pointer by Reggie Cameron — the Hoyas’ lone 3 of the game.
Aaron Bowen’s tip-in right before the halftime buzzer extended Georgetown’s advantage to four.
Butler was making its first trip to Verizon Center since a magical opening weekend of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, which sparked the Bulldogs’ run to a second straight NCAA final. In two nail-biters, Matt Howard’s tip-in defeated Old Dominion in the opener, then Howard made two free throws with less than a second left to defeat No. 1 seed Pittsburgh and send the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16.
With Khyle Marshall (10 points) and Erik Fromm the lone players from that 2011 team still on the roster, the Bulldogs were unable to rekindle the magic Saturday.