For the second straight game, Butler has started slow, only to be rescued by a dazzling individual performance in the second half. Last week against Marquette, it was Kamar Baldwin. Tuesday night against Georgetown, it was Sean McDermott. McDermott’s 25 points led the Bulldogs to a 69-64 victory.
Georgetown jumped out to an early lead behind Butler foul trouble and turnovers. The Hoyas used a balanced scoring approach with Mac McClung, Terrell Allen, and Omer Yurtseven scoring nine first half points each, ultimately extending the lead to 14 points. A Jordan Tucker three brought Butler back within 11, but Georgetown went into the break with all the momentum.
McDermott was Butler’s best option in the first half, scoring 11 points, and he was just getting started. McDermott is one of the nation’s most efficient offensive players and in the second half he showed why. Seemingly every time Georgetown lost track of him defensively, he made them pay, often for three points. During one stretch of 2:58, he scored 11 points, capping it off with a three-pointer that gave the once-trailing Bulldogs a four-point lead.
The Bulldogs would cling to this lead throughout most of the second half, but with 4:39 remaining, Jahvon Blair knocked down a triple to tie it back up. After some back-and-forth, Butler had the ball with about a minute left and the score tied. Georgetown once again made the fatal mistake of losing Sean McDermott and the floor. Kamar Baldwin found him and he knocked down his seventh three of the night, to put the Dawgs back on top. The Hoyas weren’t able to respond and Butler came away with the road win.
Butler has now won two straight after a three-game skid, improving to 5-3 in conference play. Meanwhile, Georgetown is now on a three-game losing streak of its own and is 2-6 in Big East play.
Georgetown: Defensive Awareness
There are really only two guys on Butler’s team that you absolutely cannot give good looks from three — Jordan Tucker and, more importantly, Sean McDermott. How the Hoyas managed to lose track of McDermott so many times throughout this game is a mystery. Georgetown has a lot of talent. The Hoyas can pass, shoot, score inside, and rebound, but they have to improve their team defense if they want to climb out of the Big East cellar.
Butler: Missing Aaron Thompson
Butler has been fortunate to pull out wins in its last two games without Aaron Thompson. In both games, the Bulldogs have desperately missed Thompson’s defense and passing and have had a hard time getting the offense going early without his motor. Against better teams, it will be nearly impossible for Butler to prevail without AT. He is listed as day-to-day with his wrist injury, but has now missed two games. Coach Jordan and his squad need him back as soon as possible.
Georgetown plays St. John’s on Sunday, February 2, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Butler hosts Providence on Saturday, February 1, at 2:00 p.m. ET.