WVU, Georgetown to Renew Hoop Rivalry
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Do you remember when West Virginia used to play Georgetown in Washington, D.C. on a regular basis? Well, the two are playing once again, except this time the Mountaineers get to play the Hoyas in 2,500-seat McDonough Arena.
The NIT pairings were announced earlier tonight and the Mountaineers and Hoyas will be reviving their 51-game series that dates back to 1922 on Tuesday night in D.C.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
“We’re happy to be able to continue to play in the postseason,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
The fourth-seeded Hoyas, 17-14, are coming off a Big East tournament first-round upset loss to DePaul. Georgetown was 11-4 at one point this season, and was 15-9 as late as Feb. 10 with a win over No. 7 Michigan State before a late-season swoon saw the Hoyas drop five of their last seven games.
First team all-Big East guard Markel Starks is the top playmaker for Georgetown, leading the Hoyas in points (17.1 ppg.) and assists (124). The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior ranked fourth in the Big East in scoring, fifth in free throw percentage, seventh in assists and 13th in 3-point field goals made this year.
D’Vaunt Smith-Rivera, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound sophomore guard, is averaging 17 points per game and leads the team with 58 3s. Smith-Rivera scored a team-best 21 points in Georgetown’s 60-56 loss to DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament last Wednesday night in New York City.
Jabril Trawick, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior forward, is averaging 8.8 points per game and is shooting 51.7 percent from the floor, and will team with 6-foot-9, 223-pound junior forward Mikael Hopkins up front. Hopkins is Georgetown’s top available big, averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Nate Lubick, a 6-foot-8, 219-pound senior, should round out Georgetown’s starting five. Lubick is averaging 5.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Georgetown defeated Kansas State, 90-63, back on Nov. 22 in San Juan Puerto Rico when forward Joshua Smith was still with the team. He has since been ruled academically ineligible.
The Hoyas also lost to Kansas, 86-64, on Dec. 21.
Meanwhile, fifth-seeded West Virginia sees its season extended following a disappointing 66-49 loss to Texas in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals last Thursday night in Kansas City.
The Mountaineers’ top two scorers, Juwan Staten and Eron Harris, failed to reach double figures against the Longhorns and WVU trailed by as many as 30 points midway through the second half.
Staten sat out a good portion of the second half when he twisted his ankle while attempting a drive to the basket and the first team all-Big 12 guard finished with just 4 points. Still, he leads the Mountaineers with an average of 18 points per game.
Harris is averaging 17.4 points and leads the team with 87 3s, while sophomore guard Terry Henderson shows an average of 11.6 points per game and is third on the team with 44 3s.
Six-nine freshman forward Devin Williams had his three game double-double streak snapped against Texas and is averaging 8.6 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds per game. Forward Remi Dibo shows averages of 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 51 3-point field goals.
West Virginia (17-15) finished the regular season with a 9-9 record in the No. 1-rated conference in the country, defeating regular season champ Kansas at the Coliseum on March 8 and also routing Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State by 25 in Morgantown on Feb. 10.
West Virginia and Georgetown last met on Jan. 7, 2012 in Morgantown when the Mountaineers knocked off the ninth-rated Hoyas, 74-62. It was West Virginia’s fifth straight victory over Georgetown dating back to a 75-58 win at the Verizon Center on Jan. 22, 2009.
Four current players on Georgetown’s roster – Lubick, Starks, Trawick and Hopkins – played against West Virginia the last time these two teams met in Morgantown. West Virginia has just two players remaining on its roster from that game – forward Kevin Noreen and guard Gary Browne.
“Obviously we are playing a team that we are familiar with and a team that is familiar with us from our Big East battles,” said Huggins. “We’ve had great games recently with Georgetown, and in Washington, D.C. at the NCAA tournament.
“Mountaineer Nation has always turned out in great numbers in games there, and I know they will be there on Tuesday.”
WVU is making its 16th appearance in the NIT and its first since winning the tournament in 2007. That NIT championship catapulted the Mountaineers to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament the following season in 2008.
Tip off for Tuesday night’s game is set for 7 p.m.
The Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG will provide radio coverage on affiliates throughout West Virginia.
The West Virginia-Georgetown winner will face the winner of Florida State-Florida Gulf Coast in a second round game to be played at an undetermined date.
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