D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Georgetown to a 77-65 victory over West Virginia in an opening round NIT game at McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night.
In a battle of former Big East foes, the Hoyas outscored the Mountaineers by 15 in the second half to flip a three-point halftime deficit.
West Virginia had an opportunity to take a five-point advantage into the locker room at the break, leading 33-28, but the Hoyas got three cracks on the offensive glass before Aaron Bowen got a close one to go down ahead of the horn.
Georgetown found its shooting stroke in the second half while West Virginia went cold, the Mountaineers only getting one field goal to go down during a five-minute stretch to begin the second half.
Then, another cold spell from 12:13, when Terry Henderson
knocked down a 3 to reduce Georgetown’s lead to four, 53-49, until 2:37, when Juwan Staten
ended WVU’s long field goal drought with a driving layup, really did West Virginia in. By that time Georgetown was comfortably ahead by 13 points.
The Hoyas’ biggest lead was 17 points, 68-51, with 3:47 remaining.
Georgetown’s leading scorer, Markel Starks, was held four points below his season average with 14, while Jabril Trawick contributed 12.
Staten led West Virginia with 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Henderson came off the bench to score 13 while Remi' Dibo added 11, all of those coming in the first half.
“What’s so great about this game is you can’t cheat it,” said a disappointed West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “If you don’t put the time and the effort in - if you don’t really take it to heart - it’s not going to be good to you.”
Forty six of West Virginia’s 49 shots attempts were taken by Staten, Dibo, Henderson and Harris. Freshman forward Devin Williams
made his only field goal attempt of the game, while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
Georgetown had a 35-30 edge on the glass and finished 24 of 30 from the free throw line, while shooting just 44.2 percent from the floor.
After shooting better than 50 percent in the first half, the Mountaineers cooled off to finish the game at 44.9 percent.
Staten had his 31st double-figure scoring game tonight, moving him into a tie with Kevin Jones (2010) and Frank Young (2007) for fourth-best in school history. Staten’s nine assists gives him 195 for the season, two shy of Ron “Fritz” Williams’ school record of 197 assists produced in 1967.
The junior guard’s final season numbers includes averages of 18.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game.
West Virginia ends its season at 17-16, a four-win improvement over the 13 victories produced in 2013. The Mountaineers have no seniors on this year’s team.
“We can say we’re young, but the bottom the line is we’ve just got to get worlds better if we’re going to do what we want to do,” said Huggins.
Georgetown, now 18-14, advances to the second round to face No. 1 seed Florida State this weekend.