Freshmen lead No. 25 Hoyas past Creighton 76-61
WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, dating to when current coach John Thompson III’s father roamed the sideline, Georgetown freshmen have not been allowed to speak to the media early in the basketball season.
Now that it’s January, that restriction is lifted, and with the way the Hoyas’ first-year players performed Saturday, it made sense for at least one of them to appear next to Thompson at a news conference afterward. L.J. Peak, Tre Campbell and Paul White combined for 37 points to lead No. 25 Georgetown past Creighton 76-61 in a Big East matchup.
“Coach has confidence in us, putting freshmen out there,” said Campbell, a 6-foot-2 guard. “So, I mean, we’ve just got to play with confidence, and I think we should be fine.”
Sure were in this game.
With a pair of starting seniors, Joshua Smith and Jabril Trawick, sitting because of foul trouble, and Big East preseason player of the year D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera held to five points, Georgetown (9-4, 1-1) relied heavily on its freshmen. The youngsters provided 25 of 29 points during one span, including 13 in a row.
“I don’t think that the group in the locker room looks at our freshman class as a bunch of neophytes,” Thompson said. “They work hard, they practice hard and they play minutes. And I am comfortable when they get on the court. And they are comfortable when they get on the court. And their teammates are comfortable.”
Devin Brooks and Zach Hanson each scored 11 for Creighton (9-6, 0-2), which has lost three consecutive games, all on the road.
The Bluejays made four of their first eight 3-point tries but went 1 for 17 the rest of the way.
“Our guys were more attentive, finally, to harder close-outs with your hands up, instead of just lollygagging out to the offensive player,” Thompson said.
Peak, a starter, scored 14. Campbell, who had a total of 22 points in 12 games all season until Saturday, began 5 for 6, including 3 for 3 from beyond the arc, and wound up with 13 points. White added 10.
They’re the first trio of Georgetown freshmen to all score in double-figures since Jan. 18, 2005, when Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green and John Wallace had 12 apiece.
“We know our freshmen are good,” said Smith, who scored 16.
“These guys are all fearless,” Smith added. “I don’t see them as freshmen, if that makes any sense.”
Georgetown was up 33-31 at halftime because freshman Isaac Copeland hit a jumper with the shot clock about to expire.
Campbell’s 3 early in the second half wrapped up a 15-2 spurt that made it 39-31. And White’s 3 with 7 1/2 minutes to go gave the hosts a 61-46 edge.
“It was certainly their complementary guys today,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “That’s the sign of a good team.”
NO PIZAZZ: McDermott complained Creighton “didn’t come out of the locker room with much pizazz to start the second half.” He tried to jump-start things by bringing his team to the floor earlier than usual after the break.
ZIERDEN’S SLUMP: Creighton G Isaiah Zierden shot 3 of 11 for eight points. “I’m obviously in a slump,” he said. “I’m going to shoot my way out of it.”
Creighton: The Bluejays are 7-1 at home, 2-5 on the road. ... G Austin Chatman came in leading Creighton by averaging 13.7 points but was limited to eight.
Georgetown: The Hoyas are ranked this week in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the final poll of the 2012-13 season. ... Georgetown lost its conference opener at Xavier on New Year’s Eve. ... As part of the Hoyas’ second annual Men Against Breast Cancer game, players wore pink laces on their sneakers, and spectators were given white T-shirts with a pink capital “G.”
Creighton hosts DePaul on Wednesday.
Georgetown hosts Marquette on Tuesday.
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