In the final of a three-round showdown between the No. 21 Butler Bulldogs and Georgetown Hoyas this season, a dominant performance from junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera lifted the Hoyas to a 60-54 victory on the road on Tuesday, March 3 in Indianapolis. After facing off at the Battle 4 Atlantis over the Thanksgiving holiday and once earlier in the conference schedule, Georgetown and Butler entered tonight's showdown with a split 1-1 record on the year, and showed great poise late to cling to a close lead down the stretch.
Every game at this point has implications for the Big East tournament, and after tonight, both the Bulldogs and the Hoyas sit tied for second in the conference with a half-game up on Providence. Here's three things we learned in tonight's contest:
1. Smith-Rivera makes his case for Big East POY
Don't get me wrong, I don't think he'll get it, but damn, did DSR look good tonight. Smith-Rivera contributed all over the stat sheet, scoring 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting while grabbing seven boards and dishing out two assists. He also made what was probably the biggest play of the game with 10 seconds left in the second half, stripping a Kameron Woods rebound after Joshua Smith missed the free throw on a 1-and-1 when the Hoyas held just a two-point lead. The Bulldogs fouled Smith-Rivera with six seconds remaining, and he knocked down both of his freebies to seal the Georgetown victory. It was a hell of a performance from one of the conference's best players, and he showed it tonight.
2. KAMERON WOODS DOUBLE-DOUBLE ALERT
Before we get to Woods' numbers, let's talk about WHY he had to shoulder so much of the offensive load tonight. Butler's offense usually revolves around Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones, and while Dunham did score all eight of his points in a three-minute stretch to get the Dawgs back in the game in the second half, their star duo combined for just 15 points on a dismal 5-of-22 shooting. Enter Woods, who finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds (or, as my fellow editor Robert O'Neill likes to call it, a KAM WOODS DOUBLE-DOUBLE ALERT), including seven on the offensive end. He made his share of mistakes during the game, too, but the team shoots just 35 percent from the field on the night, it's safe to say Butler wouldn't even have been in this without Woods' contributions.
3. A tale of two stats
Here's two whoppers for you: Georgetown finished with ten blocks (Butler had just two) and the Bulldogs shot just 45.5 percent from the free throw line, connecting on just ten of their 22 attempts. These are both important, as the Hoyas either blocked shots or fouled on a lot of Butler's attempts inside. In the end, it didn't matter, since the Bulldogs were a mess at the line anyway. Oh, and this happened, because of course it did:
These freaking Big East refs, man.