WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson III had little to tell the Hoyas at halftime, but in a good way. Excellence of execution during the first half against Florida International left Georgetown’s coach without complaint.
Markel Starks and Nate Lubick each scored 15 points as the Georgetown Hoyas opened the game with a 30-4 run and dominated Florida International for a 92-57 win on Saturday afternoon.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera also scored 15 for the Hoyas (8-3), who scored 24 consecutive points in the first half while holding FIU without a point for over 10 minutes. Off since Dec. 21 when they lost 86-64 at No. 18 Kansas, Georgetown led 50-14 at halftime, by 39 in the second half and shot 60.7 percent from the field.
“I think we came out extremely focused,” Thompson said following his team’s seventh win in eight games. “This is one of the few games you go into halftime and (there are) not too many negative things you can say. I thought we played a very good first half at both ends of the court.”
Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas leading scorer, came off the bench for the first time this season after returning late to practice following the Christmas holiday, Thompson said.
Dennis Mavin scored 16 points for the Panthers (8-6). FIU started 1 of 13 from the field and committed 13 turnovers in the first half.
Georgetown made 12 of its initial 15 field goal attempts and shot 65.5 percent in the first half en route to scoring its most points this season.
“We came out much stronger, not just offensively, but defensively as well,” said Starks, who led the Hoyas with nine points in the first half.
The performance resembled little of what took place last weekend against the Jayhawks.
“After Kansas, we had a talk and our mindset really changed after that. The past is the past and moving forward we have to become a better defensive team,” Starks said.
The Hoyas have won 49 straight non-conference home games at Verizon Center including six this season.
FIU, which has lost two straight and four of six, committed seven turnovers within the opening six minutes. The Hoyas scored 58 points in the paint and 26 on FIU’s 18 turnovers.
“They came out and dominated from the very start,” Panthers coach Anthony Evans said. “We didn’t play good defense, we didn’t have good energy. They did what they were supposed to.
Georgetown initiated defensive pressure in the backcourt, causing the Panthers issues with simply crossing half court. Leading 6-4, Jabril Trawick’s layup started the 24-0 spurt. Reggie Cameron’s 3-pointer put Georgetown up 30-4 with 8:04 remaining in the first half.
Jerome Frink’s layup with 7:01 left before halftime ended the scoreless drought and a streak of 12 straight missed shots by the Panthers. FIU shot 25 percent (5 of 20) in the first half.
“We wanted to pressure them,” Thompson said. “I don’t just mean in the full court and half court. We wanted to pressure them. For the most part tonight, it was successful.”
FIU also altered its starting lineup. Tymell Murphy, Rakeem Buckles and Jason Boswell came off the bench for disciplinary reasons. Buckles and Murphy each scored 15 points.
“I don’t think we were into it mentally. Some guys who normally start didn’t start so the flow was a little bit different, but Georgetown is a good basketball team. They came and executed, put pressure on us, they got turnovers and they jumped out,” Evans said.
Thompson said he emphasized rebounding effort entering a matchup against one of the nation’s top offensive rebounding squads. Georgetown was outrebounded in each their previous two games, but finished with a 33-22 advantage on the boards against FIU.
Lubick made 7 of 9 field goal attempts and Georgetown’s starting five finished 22 of 31.
“We were able to create a lot of offense from our defense that allowed us to get out to a big lead in the first half,” Lubick said.
Georgetown leads the all-time series 4-0.
The Hoyas open conference in the retooled Big East on Dec. 31 against DePaul. FIU remains out of conference, playing at Florida A&M on Jan. 2.
“We’re ready,” Thompson simply stated.
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