WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just when you thought the National Invitation Tournament might bring a humdrum conclusion to West Virginia’s season, the Mountaineers find themselves here in our nation’s capital, playing inside a high school-sized, but a high school-sized gym with the framed jerseys of Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning adorning the wall.
While there was no center of Ewing or Dikembe or Zo’s ilk on the floor tonight, the Hoyas had guards making shots. D’Vaunte Smith-Rivera scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half and Markel Starks added 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists a Georgetown took command late for a 77-65 win.
The Hoyas (18-14) won their first game at McDonough Arena since 2009 and West Virginia (17-16) remained winless in the postseason since 2011. Here are the in-game updates from throughout the night:
GEORGETOWN 77, WEST VIRGINIA 65 (Final)
In their second-half uprising, the Hoyas outscored WVU 47-32 and out-rebounded the Mountaineers 20-13. Smith-Rivera made 7-of-10 shots in the half—including 3-of-4 from 3-point range—as West Virginia’s defensive slips proved costly
GEORGETOWN 66, WEST VIRGINIA 51 (3:47 second half)
Down by double-digits, WVU tries the halfcourt trap, which Starks breaks down easily for a drive-and-kick to Smith-Rivera. Result? Three-ball! (Smith-Rivera up to 26 points.) On the other end Staten tries to answer only to be called for a charge a Starks beats him to the spot. This one has turned ugly, with the Hoyas outscoring WVU 36-18 in the second half.
GEORGETOWN 61, WEST VIRGINIA 51 (7:05 second half)
Devin Williams’ foul at the 9:23 mark allows him to join Noreen in the four-foul club. And after Lubick leaks out for a breakaway dunk, the “We Are Georgetown!” chants are ringing with much fervor.
GEORGETOWN 55, WEST VIRGINIA 49 (9:49 second half)
Smith-Rivera energized the Hoyas with 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. He’s up to 21 now and Georgetown has made 10-of-14 shots in the half (71 percent). Starks is just 5-of-15 overall and 1-of-5 from 3, but he crossed-over Staten in transition for a sweet layup. He also has six assists.
WEST VIRGINIA 33, GEORGETOWN 30 (halftime)
Georgetown made only 37 percent of its shots, but gave itself three chances on the half’s final possession. The third one went down, courtesy of Aaron Bowen, to make it a three-point margin at intermission. … D’Vaunte Smith-Rivera has nine points, albeit on 2-of-7 shooting. Backcourt mate Markel Smarts is 2-of-9 for five points.
WEST VIRGINIA 33, GEORGETOWN 30 (halftime)
Staten makes a twisting scoop shot for an and-1 with 29 seconds left before the break. That gives him 15 for the half on 6-of-7 shooting—a nice bounce-back game from the Texas loss. Remi Dibo also scores 11, taking more shots than anyone in blue. But hey, a little aggression out of the Frenchman can’t hurt, right? And here’s the stunning part: All of Dibo’s points came from inside the 3-point line. West Virginia shot 54 percent overall.
WEST VIRGINIA 22, GEORGETOWN 21 (3:33 first half)
I’m no trainer, but Juwan Staten’s left ankle looks strong and steady. He has made a few of his trademark bursts to the rim and I haven’t noticed him wincing even once. He has eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including his first 3-pointer since Feb. 1.
WEST VIRGINIA 13, GEORGETOWN 13 (7:38 first half)
Noreen picked up his third foul, shoving Moses Ayegba about 20 feet from the basket. I’m not sure why. Long-repressed aggression from the last matchup in 2012? They say a Minnesotan never forgets. (OK, so the officials apparently redirected one of Noreen’s earlier fouls to someone else. Hard to keep up with wi-fi blocking access to live stats, but I’m not complaining—that only ups the quaintness factor of the gym even more.) Foul trouble is mounting for WVU as William, Watkins, Adrian and Noreen have two each. Basically, everybody over 6-foot-3, save for Dibo who has one.
WEST VIRGINIA 10, GEORGETOWN 9 (11:49 first half)
Among the richest storylines tonight was—what else?—Kevin Noreen vs. Nate Lubick. Dubbed the Stunna in McDonough, this showdown of screen-setting, garbage-grabbing bigs had the making of its own 30 for 30, but the refs intervened and Noreen picked up two fouls in two minutes upon entering. This makes me sad for role players everywhere.
WEST VIRGINIA 7, GEORGETOWN 4 (15:17 first half)
Jabril Trawick needed a mere 19 seconds to go all Princeton offense on WVU’s defense, back-cutting for a layup against Nathan Adrian. Give Adrian credit, though—he eliminated the passing daylight two possessions later and caused a deflection. … On WVU’s end, Eron Harris canned his first shot, a deep 3-pointer, matching his full-game output against Texas last Thursday in Kansas City.