WASHINGTON, D.C. – John Thompson III flashed a subtle fist pump in the waning minutes of Saturday’s afternoon matinee against Marquette.
Georgetown mounted a commanding 20-point lead with under five minutes to go, and despite a two-game skid into the weekend tilt, the carry-over from three straight resume-bolstering wins against No. 16 Creighton, No. 11 Butler and DePaul didn’t diminish one bit.
Rodney Pryor and Jessie Govan flushed crowd-pleasing dunks when the Golden Eagles threatened and Pryor hit a wide-open 3-pointer in between the sequence, adding more life to the rejuvenated Hoyas that ascended a month ago.
Georgetown won their fourth game in the last six contests on Saturday, holding Marquette to their lowest output of the season in the 80-62 win at the Verizon Center.
Govan (23 points), L.J. Peak (20 points) and Pryor (20 points) combined for 63 points, outscoring the entire Marquette team in a stout defensive performance.
“I thought our defense was terrific today,” Thompson III said. “We just wanted to stay at home. That is a very good offensive team. Anybody who watches them understands that.”
Coming into the game, Marquette ranked second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (42.4) and holstered six players averaging in double figures. Behind ‘closed-doors motivation,’ spurred from criticism addressed toward Georgetown’s defense, the Golden Eagles were held to 21 percent from behind the arc (3-for-14) and were outrebounded 39-28.
In terms of importance, Govan’s outing served as the x-factor. The 6-foot-10 sophomore center averages a hair under 10 points per game, and his 23-point performance on Saturday is a season-high.
“When Goval plays well, they’re a lot to handle,” Marquette Coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “He kicked out butt today.”
Govan’s imposing play in the post forced Marquette to focus inward, opening space on the perimeter for Peak and Pryor to operate, who combined to go 14-for-23 and 4-for-6 from behind the arc.
“When the big fella gets going, it makes life easier on everybody,” Thompson said. “And he was going today. When all three guys are playing well, I think we’re like, 10-1? It was good, it was good.”
Thompson hit it on the head, the Hoyas are 10-1 when all three – Govan, Peak and Pryor – score in double figures, and seem to be playing their best brand of basketball at the right time with the Big East tournament at the end of the month and the NCAA tournament shortly after.
Georgetown (14-12, 5-8) got out to an 11-4 lead six minutes into regulation after a 9-0 run featuring a corner 3-pointer from Pryor to break a 4-4 tie and a Pryor layup to extend the lead to seven.
Minutes later, the Hoyas staked their largest lead of the first half at 20-11 when Govan delivered a well-timed bounce pass to a hard-cutting Pryor from the wing for an uncontested layup. It was the Hoyas’ ninth bucket in 13 attempts – a hair under 70 percent – while Marquette (15-10, 6-7) opened the first nine minutes shooting 36 percent (3-for-11).
For the next eight minutes, Georgetown encountered trouble with Marquette’s 1-3-1 zone, and only converted three of their next 11 shot attempts, opening the door for the Golden Eagles to bring the game to 30-28 with under three minutes left in the first half.
Georgetown took 41-32 lead into the intermission and sandwiched an 11-0 run between halftime to lengthen their lead to 46-32 two minutes into the second half.
The Hoyas pushed their lead to 62-44 off a showy dunk from Pryor and to 69-50 when Govan (eight rebounds, five offensive) muscled into the paint for a tip-in put-back.
“I was just feeling it today,” Govan said in a witty manner, drawing laughter from majority of the press room.
Georgetown shot 54 percent overall while Marquette shot 42 percent. Pryor added 10 rebounds to his 20-point showing. Peak notched five rebounds and four assists and Akoy Agau collected six points and 11 rebounds. Jagan Mosley dished a game-high six assists.
Jajuan Johnson led Marquette with 14 points.
Georgetown’s nine turnovers were also the fewest in a game this season. They’ll take an eight-day break before hitting the road to play at ranked Creighton on February 19.
“For us, we just know, if we have multiple guys show up, whoever that may be, we’ll be OK,” Thompson said.