Big East basketball is back, and if Wednesday night’s contest between Georgetown and Butler was any indication, this season will be one the conference’s most entertaining to date.
Despite facing a deficit as large as 18 points in the second half, the Bulldogs (11-3, 1-0 Big East) rode the hot hands of Kamar Baldwin and Kelan Martin, who combined for 58 points, to victory over the Hoyas (10-2, 0-1 Big East) in double overtime, 91-89. Georgetown was led by double-doubles from Marcus Derrickson (23 points and 11 rebounds) and Jessie Govan (19 points and 13 rebounds).
The Hoyas opened the game by immediately exploiting their noticeable size advantage, with Govan connecting on a high-low pass to Derrickson for an open layup. Derrickson scored the Hoyas’ next four points before Tyler Wideman connected on a mid-range jumper to cut the Georgetown lead to 6-4 at the first media timeout. After the timeout, the Hoyas found their offensive rhythm, as Jamorko Pickett and Jagan Mosely connected on consecutive 3-pointers midway through the half. Jahvon Blair provided a nice spark off the bench, getting to the free throw line five times in the half, connecting on four of his attempts. Meanwhile, Butler went cold from the field, scoring just 11 points in 10 minutes. Baldwin’s jumper with 4:10 remaining stopped the bleeding momentarily, but Blair responded with a jumper two minutes later to give Georgetown a 20-point lead, its largest of the game. At the half, the Hoyas enjoyed a comfortable 42-24 lead, despite committing nine turnovers in the half. The Bulldogs shot a dismal 1-11 from behind the arc and 32 percent from the field, while the Hoyas shot 50 percent from deep and 52 percent from the field.
In the second half, Butler refused to go away quietly, finding their shooting touch early and often. Baldwin opened the scoring 36 seconds into the half with a mid-range jumper and Paul Jorgensen added seven consecutive points to cut the lead down to 11 after just two minutes of play. From there, the Hoyas earned several clutch baskets, including a 3-pointer from Derrickson at the 9:37 mark to extend the lead to 13. But that was as large a lead as the Hoyas would enjoy for the rest of the game. Baldwin and Martin combined to score 13 of the Bulldogs’ next 15 points as numerous turnovers stifled any momentum Georgetown attempted to muster. A pair of free throws from Baldwin with 4:45 remaining trimmed the lead to two, but Jonathan Mulmore’s 3-pointer on the Hoyas’ next possession restored a five-point lead.
Martin drilled a jumper with 1:31 remaining to give Butler its first lead of the game, 71-70. On the following possession, Georgetown looked to be stuck in a sure shot clock violation, but Derrickson answered Hoya fans’ prayers with a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, putting the Blue & Gray back in the lead, 73-71. A pair of free throws tied the game at 73 apiece, forcing a timeout from Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing with 0:35 remaining. Out of the timeout, Govan canned a running floater from the right side, giving Georgetown a 75-73 lead with just 6.5 remaining. Butler immediately inbounded the ball to Baldwin, who pulled up from 3-point range. His attempt missed and bounced high in the air, and Sean McDermott was the first to react, tipping the loose ball in as time expired, forcing overtime in the conference’s opening game of the season.
In the first overtime period, Govan and Derrickson combined for six of the Hoyas’ eight points, but two points apiece from Tyler Wideman, Martin, Baldwin and McDermott and a late turnover from Blair ensured a second overtime period. Martin shined in the final period, hitting a jumper with 0:51 remaining to tie the game before connecting on a running floater through traffic with 0:03 to win it for the Bulldogs, who have won four of their last five games against the Hoyas.
Butler will have three days to prepare for a home date with No. 1 Villanova (13-0, 1-0 Big East) on Satuday afternoon, while Georgetown will travel to Milwaukee for a meeting with Marquette (9-3, Big East).