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Georgetown fends off Creighton in Big East quarters

Mar 13, 2015 - 6:27 AM New York, NY ( - D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 12 of his 25 points in the final five minutes, and No. 23 Georgetown fought off upset- minded Creighton 60-55 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference Tournament.

Smith-Rivera, a First Team All-Big East selection, was questionable coming into the tourney with a lower body injury. The junior guard gutted through the pain and carried the Hoyas (21-9) into the semis, where they were will play Xavier on Friday.

Joshua Smith chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds for second-seeded Georgetown, which ended the game on a 15-4 run after going down by six.

"To get the first win is a sense of relief," Hoyas head coach John Thompson III said. "We are optimistic going forward."

Creighton (14-19), which came in as a No. 10 seed, was done in by 18 turnovers and a 20-6 free throw disparity in Georgetown's favor. James Milliken made four 3-pointers and led the Bluejays with 17 points.

Creighton trailed for the first 11-plus minutes of the second half before reeling off a 12-1 run. Austin Chatman hit a go-ahead 3-pointer, then knifed through the lane for a layup to give the Bluejays a 51-45 lead.

Smith-Rivera ended Georgetown's seven-plus minute field goal drought with a 3- pointer, and his three-point play followed by Smith's layup put the Hoyas back in front 54-53 with just over two minutes remaining.

After another Creighton giveaway, Smith-Rivera banked in a tough runner for a three-point Georgetown cushion. Milliken missed his first 3-pointer of the game on a wide open look in the corner, and after the Bluejays grabbed the offensive rebound, Milliken tried kicking the ball out to Chatman and threw the ball out of bounds.

The Hoyas made all four of their free throws from there to advance.

"I felt like, in a lot of ways, we outplayed Georgetown tonight. Then in the last three minutes, they made some plays, and we didn't," Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said.

There were five ties and five lead changes in a tight first half, and 10 turnovers forced by the Hoyas allowed them to take a 31-25 lead into halftime.

The second half started with another Georgetown steal and an Isaac Copeland dunk that stretched the lead to eight, and that was the biggest lead either team had all night.

Game Notes

Georgetown won both regular season meetings by an average of 21 points ... Chatman totaled 11 points ... Georgetown boasts a league-best 50 Big East Tournament wins and seven titles, although the last came in 2007.