Georgetown Beats Bulldogs In Jimmy V Classic

Center Greg Monroe posted career-highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds and guard Austin Freeman added 18 points to lead #15/13 Georgetown to a 72-65 victory over Butler in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday (Dec. 8).  It was Butler’s third loss in nine outings, all to teams ranked in the “Top 25.”

Monroe was dominant inside for Georgetown (7-0), but it was Freeman who may have done the most damage to Butler’s hopes of springing an upset.  The 6-3 junior hit five of seven shots in the game, including four of five from beyond the three-point arc, and added four of four from the free throw line.

“The hard part of defending Georgetown tonight was Freeman’s proficiency,” said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game.  “Obviously, he was very good.”

Freeman’s sniping from the outside, opened things up inside for the 6-11 Monroe, and the Georgetown standout responded with a career night.  He scored 14 points in the first half, and then held off Butler’s comeback attempts with 10 more points in the final period.

“Monroe attempted more field goals than he has in the past.  He was playing with a real authoritative spirit.  He’s a tough guy to guard,” added Stevens.  “Now if you told me that he would attempt 20 shots and 10 free throws and wind up with 24 points, that’s not all bad.  But we needed to do a better job with the perimeter guys.”

The Bulldogs, playing away from Hinkle Fieldhouse for the seventh time this season, started slowly, falling behind, 5-0, in the first two minutes.  But a three-point field goal by sophomore Gordon Hayward and a three-point play by sophomore Shelvin Mack gave Butler a 6-5 lead with four minutes gone.

Five straight points by Georgetown’s Jason Clark put the Hoyas back on top by four, but the Bulldogs rallied again to take an 11-10 lead on two free throws by junior Matt Howard and another three-point field goal by Hayward.

Monroe then made his first field goal of the night to start a 10-0 Georgetown run, and the Hoyas never trailed again.  Georgetown led by eight points at halftime, 39-31, and stretched it margin to as many as 17 points in the second half, before the Bulldogs battled back.

Trailing by 10 points with just over two minutes remaining, consecutive field goals by Mack and Hayward cut Georgetown’s margin to six.  Junior Zach Hahn, who came off the bench with 11 points, then followed a pair of free throws by Freeman with a three-point field goal to close the gap to five points, 67-62, with 0:46 left.

But the Hoyas made five consecutive free throws down the stretch to regain a double-figures lead, before Hayward’s final three-pointer ended the scoring.

“I though we battled,” pointed out Stevens.  “You’re supposed to play for 40 minutes, and I felt we played for 40 minutes.”

Hayward led the Bulldogs with a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds, while Mack chipped in with 12 points.  The Bulldogs shot just 27% in the second half and just 31% for the game.

“We have to get better.  We have to get better as a basketball team.  That being said, we’ve played a tough schedule, but it’s not going to get any easier,” added Stevens.

Next up for the Bulldogs is #13/15 Ohio State on Saturday, Dec. 12.  That game will be nationally-televised on ESPN, starting at 12 noon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.