INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing harkened back to his college days to put into perspective the short-handed Hoyas’ inspired road win against No. 19 Butler on Saturday.
“I remember when I was playing, coach (John) Thompson always talked about the junkyard dog, having the ‘junkyard dog mentality,’” Ewing said after his Hoyas had defeated the 19th ranked Bulldogs 73-66. “No matter what the adversity is, you scratch and you claw and are able to come away with a win. I think that’s what we’ve been doing, not just today but all season.”
Nobody bit the Bulldogs more than Hoyas senior guard Terrell Allen, whose 22 points tied a career high. He hit the game’s first shot as part of seven points in an 11-2 run at the outset, then delivered two of the most crucial baskets when the game got tight late.
Butler (19-7, 7-6 Big East) had pulled to within 61-60 with 3:46 remaining when Allen knocked down a pull-up jumper in the paint. After each team missed opportunities, he hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to put Georgetown up 66-60 with 1:28 remaining.
Allen hit 9 of 14 shots, including all four 3-point tries.
“He played one of the best games that I’ve seen him play, one of the best games since he’s been here,” Ewing said. “He not only scored, he assisted and played great defense.”
The Hoyas (15-10, 5-7) improved to 6-1 lifetime at Hinkle Fieldhouse despite missing their top two scorers, Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven, due to injuries.
“Every time something happens with the team, an injury or anything that happens, we just want to continue to fight hard every single night,” Allen said. “Coach Pat does a great job with us, letting us know we can still win games with the people we do have. We have enough talent in the locker room.”
Jahvon Blair added 16 points as Georgetown avenged a 69-64 home loss to Butler on Jan. 28.
“We’re a hard-working team,” Allen said. “We go out there and fight every single night. We know our (roster) numbers are down, but our minutes are all up and we’re all producing and we all know what we need out of each other.”
Kamar Baldwin led Butler with 17 points and Jordan Tucker scored 12 of his 16 on four 3-pointers in the first half. The host Bulldogs didn’t take the lead until early in the second half and failed to hold slim advantages for long.
“We struggled to get stops,” Tucker said. “Even when we were scoring, it was like they had an answer back every time.”
The Bulldogs were also without a key player in injured point guard Aaron Thompson.
But Butler coach LaVall Jordan couldn’t have been more adamant about the earned outcome.
“They deserved to win the game,” he said of the Hoyas. “They had guys out, we had guys out, and they were more prepared. So we have to do a better job of being more focused – that’s on us as coaches – and play harder.”
Georgetown: Six league games and the conference tournament isn’t much time for the Hoyas to prove themselves worthy of NCAA Tournament consideration, but an inspiring effort suggests there’s still a chance. This team still might need to win the conference tournament to secure an NCAA bid.
Butler: Hopes to rise to a possible No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament took a serious hit with a bad home loss. Three of the final five regular-season games are on the road, too. The Bulldogs might fall to a No. 5 or No. 6 seed with a sputtering, late-season finish.
Georgetown: Hosts Providence on Wednesday.
Butler: At Seton Hall on Wednesday.
For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25