GAME NOTES: The Butler Bulldogs will try once again to claim their first conference victory as a member of the Big East, when they play host to the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday night.
Georgetown has plenty of Big East victories in its long basketball history, including a pair this season, but the team is still trying to recover from a 70-52 shellacking at the hands of the Providence Friars on Wednesday. The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Hoyas, who are 0-2 in limited chances on the road, but 10-4 overall. They will end this three-game trek on Wednesday at DePaul.
Butler, which is in its first season in the new-look Big East, has dropped its first three league battles. The most recent setback may have been the most difficult to take however, as the Bulldogs suffered a 99-94 loss in double overtime to DePaul for their third straight defeat, which has them at 10-5 overall. Butler needs to get into gear quickly as it is scheduled to visit Creighton next.
There is not a long history between these two programs. In fact the first and only other meeting took place in 2009 with Georgetown earning a 72-65 victory at Madison Square Garden.
The Hoyas couldn't keep up with the Friars from 3-point range and turned the ball far too often to give themselves a chance to make up the difference. Georgetown was outscored, 21-6, from beyond the arc and suffered a 20-9 scoring deficit off miscues.
Usually is it Georgetown that plays stifling defense, as the Hoyas are limiting foes to 65.1 ppg and 38.6 percent shooting, ranking 23rd in the nation in the latter category. When it comes time for the team to light up the scoreboard, it is backcourt mates D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (17.2 ppg) and Markel Starks (15.4 ppg, 4.1 apg) who usually get the first looks. Smith-Rivera had a team-high 19 points in the loss to Providence, while Stark struggled to tally eight points on 4-of-15 shooting. Joshua Smith (11.5 ppg), the only other double-digit scorer on the roster, did not make the trip to Providence as he is dealing with an academic issue. His status is uncertain, but it is unlikely he will play in this one.
Butler held a 73-62 lead with 3:46 left in regulation against DePaul, but then fell victim to an 11-0 run from the Blue Demons that forced overtime. Jackson Aldridge then made a last-second floater after an offensive rebound in the first overtime to force a second extra session. The Bulldogs' luck did not last though, as they were outscored 12-7 in the frame to suffer the loss.
Dunham (187 ppg) was sensational in the losing effort, finishing with a game- high 30 points, although it took a 9-of-25 shooting effort to reach that total. Dunham has topped the 30-point mark twice this season and has scored in double figures in eight of the last nine contests. Khyle Marshall (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is the only other double-digit scorer on the team and is coming off a 15-point effort against DePaul. Kameron Woods (9.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg) doesn't always score in droves, but he is a constant double-double threat, as the conference leader in rebounds. Woods had 14 points and 11 boards in Thursday's loss.
John Thompson III will have his Hoyas keyed in on Dunham, which will be a real problem for Butler, considering the type of defenders the Hoyas have in the backcourt. However, if Woods and Marshall can step up, the Bulldogs could finally get over the hump in conference play.
Game Date and Time