INDIANAPOLIS — Georgetown coach John Thompson III watched anxiously while his team scrambled to get in position for a shot late in the game.
Eventually, Jessie Govan bailed the Hoyas out.
The sophomore center hit a 3-pointer from NBA range with 1:03 left, and Georgetown pulled out an 85-81 upset at No. 11 Butler on Saturday night.
Govan’s unexpected 3 put the Hoyas ahead by five. He’d made just two shots from beyond the arc in Big East play before Saturday.
“We didn’t have a choice, we had to take that shot,” a relieved Thompson said. “I’m not going to sit here and say we drew it up like that, but Jessie can make that shot.”
Barely. The shot was so close to the buzzer, the officials reviewed it before actually putting the points on the scoreboard.
The 6-foot-10 Govan made all three of his 3s, went 8 of 9 from the field and matched his season high with 20 points.
Georgetown (12-10, 3-6) has beaten two ranked teams in four days, and instead of slipping into a tie for last in the league standings, it managed to snap the Bulldogs’ 14-game home winning streak and their four-game overall winning streak.
The reason: Offensive efficiency. The Hoyas shot 72.7 percent from the field in the second half and 63.8 percent for the game.
L.J. Peak led the way with 22 points and Rodney Pryor added 20, but it sure wasn’t easy.
“We shot 72 percent and they still had a shot to beat us,” Thompson said as he rubbed his head. “I think the defense has to be better.”
Butler coach Chris Holtmann said the same thing about his team after watching it trade baskets in a tight second half.
During one stretch, Pryor scored 11 straight points for the Hoyas, including three straight 3s on contested shots and all after he picked up his fourth foul. Yet after that flurry, Georgetown only led 72-65.
The Bulldogs (18-4, 7-3) answered with seven straight points to tie it at 72, then were down 79-77 when the ball ended up in Govan’s hands with 63 seconds to go. After Govan made that shot, the Bulldogs never got another chance to tie the score or take the lead.
“We had no answer for them, no answer,” Holtmann said. “We need to find a way to play a lot better than that or it’s going to be a long, long few weeks.”
Kelan Martin led the Bulldogs with 22 points, and Andrew Chrabascz had 16.
Georgetown: Perhaps the Hoyas are on the mend after a rugged first three months. Georgetown is 3-3 against AP Top 25 foes this season and has a chance to get the ship righted with a softer scheduled looming.
Butler: It looked as if the Bulldogs were poised to make a big jump in the AP poll after six of the top 10 teams lost this week. But instead of continuing its roll, Butler was finally tripped up by its defense. Now it must wait to see how far it falls.
THEY SAID IT
Georgetown: “Coach almost messed it up,” Thompson said, “because he sent a sub to the table and before the next stoppage of play, he (Pryor) gets three 3s, and we needed it at that point.”
Butler: “I just thought some of us had zero grit tonight. Zero,” Holtmann said.
FOR THE RECORD
The Bulldogs had won all 11 of their home games before Saturday and were 30-0 in games when they scored at least 80 points during Holtmann’s three-year tenure. Had they stopped Govan’s shot, they might have still been perfect in both categories.
“I should have been there,” Chrabascz said when asked about the late shot. “I let a lot go by tonight and that 3 at the end of the game, that was totally on me.”
Georgetown: Plays its second straight road game Tuesday at DePaul.
Butler: Will try to even the season series Tuesday when Creighton visits Hinkle Fieldhouse.
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