WASHINGTON, D.C. — After Georgetown sophomore D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera made four 3-pointers, converted five buckets in the paint and sank all 10 of his free throws, a reporter asked Bob Huggins about the challenge of defending him.

“I don’t think he felt like it was much of a challenge,” Huggins chirped.

Smith-Rivera scored a season-high 32 points, 23 of those in a dazzling second half that carried the Hoyas to a 77-65 throwback win over its old Big East rival West Virginia.

“He was in rhythm today,” said Georgetown point guard Markel Starks of Smith-Rivera. “You go through practices and you scrimmage against one another and he is hitting shots and you are like ‘gosh.’ And then you finally see it tonight.

“That’s big. Unbelievable game. Unbelievable.”

After Georgetown used an 8-0 run to seize the lead in early in the second half, Smith-Rivera scored nine points during a 15-2 flurry that widened the Hoyas’ lead to 67-51 with 3:47 left.

“(Smith-Rivera) really got going, scored it a number of ways,” said West Virginia point guard Juwan Staten. “He basically made us pay for every mistake we made on the defensive end.”

And there were many.

Georgetown (18-14) shot 52 percent and piled up 47 points in the second half, sending the sold-out McDonough Arena crowd of 2,133 into hysteria. Students who helped pack the tiny on-campus gym chanted “Go home, West Virginia!” when the lead swelled to double-digits. Later came a mock rendition of “Country Roads” that doubled as WVU’s swan song.

“The fans got us a little rattled, but it’s a do-or-die game so you can’t have that kind of excuse,” said Terry Henderson, who summed up WVU’s trouble as “being lazy on defense.”

The Mountaineers ranked at the bottom of the Big 12 in defense for a reason—a point Huggins bemoaned all season.

“We haven’t guarded all year. If we can’t outscore you, we’re not going to win, which is a terrible, terrible way to be,” he said. “I hate saying that, and I hate it being that way, but we just don’t guard well enough that we can not make shots, because we let other people make them.”

Though the Mountaineers shot 44.9 percent overall to Georgetown’s 44.2 percent, the second-half totals weighed heavily in the Hoyas’ favor and the visitors couldn’t make momentum-changing shots.

West Virginia finished 6-of-21 from 3-point range, including 0-of-7 by Remi Dibo, who had at least three misses rattle in and out. After one wide-open shot from the top of circle pinballed out of the basket, Dibo shook his head in disbelief as he glanced over at Huggins.

“Remi had great looks, but didn’t make any,” Huggins said. “I’m sitting here looking at this (stat feet): If Remi Dibo goes 0-for-7 from 3 and Eron Harris goes 2-for-7, we’re not going to win. We’re just not going to win.”

Freshman forward Brandon Watkins played three minutes in the opening half before going to the bench with two fouls. One came when he arrived late on a moving screen, and the other was a backcourt bump that tripe Aaron Bowen.

In the second half, Watkins made an even briefer cameo. He entered at the 17:50 mark and gave only a timid swipe at a loose ball after Harris was stripped on a drive. Georgetown grabbed the 50-50 bal and turned it into a Smith-Rivera 3-pointer for a 39-36 lead.

Huggins called a 30-second timeout at 16:40 and subbed out Watkins, never to return.

After the game, Huggins said: “We had some guys who certainly could have played a whole lot harder.”

Georgetown’s first men’s game at McDonough Arena in more than four years featured a hypercharged atmosphere that had sentimentalists yearning for more.

“It was unbelievable, the energy that we got from the fans,” said coach John Thompson III. “The students, the young alums, the old alums. It was a great environment. … I wish we could have that environment at the Verizon Center.”

That energy doesn’t typically translate because the Hoyas average just 9,106 fans at the 20,000-seat Verizon Center (which was prepping for a circus Tuesday night). Yet it’s not feasible for Georgetown to play games on campus in a gym that’s one-10th Verizon’s size.

“We have some financial responsibilities,” Thompson said. “And much as it’s a great environment (at McDonough), I think playing here we lose a lot of money that we could gain even on a bad-attended day at the Verizon Center.”

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  • Say What?

    Dibo goes 0-7 from 3-point land and Huggs doesn't even consider putting in Chase Connor?!? I love the Mounties, but some of the coaching decisions in this seasons' games were baffling to say the least. Both teams playing in that small- college-size gym was pretty cool. Oh well, guess I will now focus on West Liberty U. They made the Elite 8 !

    • Football Is King

      Cool. That was nothing more than a way to keep all but about twenty WVU fans out of the arena. It is amzing that everything revolves around money in college sports but when setting this game, they decide on a 2000 capacity gym when we would have put 8-10 grand in the coliseum. That was a joke site and it was so small I went ot bed hearing, "Huggins you're fat!!" in my sleep. I think that guy was right next to Tony and Jay.

      • Hailey

        That's "Bob you're fat" .....hopefully that will motivate him to take better care of himself.

    • J

      Let's go Toppers!

      • Rick S.

        Jim Crutchfield (West Liberty) is one of the best coaches I have ever seen -- in any sport. He took over a basketball afterthought and turned the program into a perennial national championship contender. And to top it off, the man has a wonderful demeanor.

      • Red Dwarf

        Shhhhh! You're not supposed to mention anything about the Mountain East conference! Metronews ignores them, thus should we.

  • squad

    sad effort on defense all year long. no effort has to be the worst feeling. 2 years of this faction raising its head, we don't want it to be a habit. truth be told is if we don't do a bit better next year in the effort and defense department coach may end up calling it a day before anyone would need say a word. I have been around him some these last few years and I can tell you that if this goes on, he will not continue... he is and has been at his wits end for an extended period of time and I don't think its good for his health or quality of life to continue.

  • Jay

    Did someone say Catlett?


    I like this WVU team and I hope they work together to get better. I also would like to see Hugs only let this team have two types of our uniforms White & black, All white Or All black and when they show they can play Mountaineer Defense for the full game, night in and night out, then they can put on the the schools/ state colors... The Florida Gators will win it all this year and they play the best team defense in the country just a little something to think about.... WVU has great players , they have a lot of work to do before they can be a great team." I remember my dad saying son great players make the other players around him better players, not just score the most points... " We need our players to be better students of the game. I love Bob Huggins and what is is trying to do here but he needs some help and prayers! Let's Go Mountaineer nation pull together!!!!
    Good Job Boys!!!


      Well you're exactly right; and Virginia Tech beat us too, and they just fired their coach.....hmmm !

    • Hello, McFly

      I am also a fan but, dude, you are wearing rose colored glasses. Program is in a deep slide.

      • Charleston

        How's is it in a deep slide if they improved from last season's dismal performance?

        • Mike

          Not a deep slide, just sliding sideways.

          • Charleston

            Mike Casazza wrote a good piece this morning with regards to our team's progress. All I am trying to say was that there was progress made this season. For some people, I guess, there expectations are so high that they see this season as a failure. I am a "glass is half full" kind of guy. BTW, next season started yesterday.

  • Capt. Obvious

    The level of competition in the Big 12 is not the problem when you get throttled post season by Cuse in the lowly pinhead bowl and Gtown in the NIT first round.

    • Mike

      Ditto. EERS wouldn't be very good right now in any conference.

  • jay zoom

    wait until next year and the next year and the next yearrrrrrrrrrrrr for what THANKS OLLIE

    • Hailey

      Your constant blowing of Ollie is very wierd

  • Baldeagle

    I think next year we should hold our games in the practice facility and bring out metal folding chairs for everyone to sit on.

  • Baldeagle

    I thought I was watching a high school game last night, what a horrible building to play in yet appropriate for our team.

  • bball fan

    Same old song and dance good first half and horrendous second. I guess now its time to wait and see who is going to leave the program. Everybody is talking how great WVU will be next year with the 4 additions only time will tell. I remember 2 years ago how great everybody said the 2 additions were going to make WVU only time will tell. Will the new guys take Huggins's instruction and do what they are told or not that's the big question

  • Leroy j Gibbs

    Staten is eligible to transfer next year. Hope he stays and the rest go .the rest of the team is terrible. Huggins needs to start over. ...again

    • Ryan

      I don't think Staten will transfer. The rest of the team is not terrible; we are just incomplete and rely too much on undeveloped freshmen. Assuming that all of our players are eligible (which is a rare occurrence at WVU under Huggins), next season should be, for better or for worse, more of a "finishing touches" season than a fresh start. What we really lacked this year were:

      1) an interior defender who can protect the paint and challenge shots without fouling (need Macon to be eligible and improvement from Watkins; move Williams to his natural PF spot)

      2) a consistent 3-pt shot from Staten so teams can't pack it in and prevent his dribble-drives. Yes, he has developed a nice 20-ft jumper off the dribble. However, we all saw how a long/quick defense can take that away without ceding passing lanes to shooters, which renders him irrelevant offensively.

      3) a player who can create his own offense other than Staten (looking at Henderson, Harris, and/or Dibo).

      4) more versatile perimeter defenders who can defend larger swingmen (let's hope for a healthy Henderson and an eligible Holton next season).

      5) all of our Fr. (Williams, Adrian, Watkins, ) and So. (Harris, Henderson) to develop as much as one would reasonably expect for players that young.

      This team's trajectory is upward, if for no other reason than recruits are becoming upperclassmen instead of being ruled ineligible and/or transferring.

      • Mike

        Wow, that's quite a list.

      • Charles

        Well, you've just described what every team in America needs. Will WV get any of those? Based on what we've seen for the past two years-probably not.

        • Ryan

          So every team in America needs Juwan Staten to add some range to his jumper,Terry Henderson to be healthy, and one proven and another promising transfer to be eligible? I laid out specific things that this team needs to improve, and I think they are all feasible.

    • Alex

      Somewhere about a month or so ago I seen where Staten said that he wanted to stay next year and get his masters hope that is true. As it is at the present time if the season for next year would start today I do not see anyone on the team that could take his place and perform as well as he does. WVU would be in another down year. Just hope we got a good point guard coming in.

  • Independent View

    Big 12 Conference Tournament
    NCAA- no bid
    NIT (no interest tournament)
    Two Tournaments--1 and done!

  • Frank/Moundsville

    Another very disappointing season of Mountaineer basketball. I'd normally say "hurry football" but it's basically just as sad. Luck, Huggins and Holgorsen look like the Three Stooges. Mountaineer Nation is in tatters.

  • Mike

    You are what your record says you are. 17-16. End of story. End of season.

  • William

    UNBELIEVABLE - That "Sweatsuit" Huggins doesn't get FIRED!
    How bad does it need to get?
    This coach gets a outrageous salary of $70,000.00 a week for a part time job.
    It's a sad time to be a Mountaineer fan, wherever you may be!
    As long as Huggins is head coach, I hope they lose every game!
    And yes,

    • Big Larry

      "Love your Work"

    • wvunut

      You know if you hate this team so bad then don't watch. why do you hate Huggins so bad are you jealous of the money he makes or does he remind you of an old boyfriend of yours

      • Charleston

        You only embolden a troll when you respond to it. Just ignore.

      • wvrefugee

        I love these kids but despise this staff! lazy bunch of drunks.......ask the kids!

  • Aaron

    At about the 16 minute mark in the 2nd half, with WV trailing by 3, I told my son how similar this game was to the Baylor game. Like the Baylor game, this game comes down to defense.

    Listening to the WVU broadcast on the radio, Jay Jacobs made no bones about who he thought was lacking when he stated "get Harris out of the game, he's killiing us on defense."

    Many of WV's losses have two things in common. Eron Harris does not score and it translates into his defense. I love this young man's game and he is a tremendous shooter but there are many area's he needs to work on, the most important being mental toughness.

    The one aspect that he needs to learn is that he cannot control his offensive output but he completely controls the defensive effort. If he will dedicate himself to becoming a stopper on defense, the offensive end will take care of itself.

    At any rate, this team has been fun to watch and as always, it's a great day to be a Mountaineer.

    • Huh

      A team with 16 losses is fun to watch?

      Ohhhhhhhh Kaaaaayyy

      • Aaron

        I thought so but then I understand the game of basketball, understand that in every game, there is a winner and loser and in the end, don't let the final score of the game detract from my everyday life.

      • GoEers

        yeah they were fun to watch when they beat Baylor, Kansas st., Oklahoma, Iowa st. and Kansas....and there were several games like last night there were hard to watch

        In any case I am glad that you are following them. Tv ratings help when it comes time to renegotiate the Big 12 tv contract