All the talk that the Hoyas couldn't handle underdogs can hush. Georgetown finally showed it can be a bully in March again.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 25 points, Mikael Hopkins had 10 points and nine rebounds, and fourth-seeded Georgetown avoided another NCAA tournament upset by beating No. 13 seed Eastern Washington, 84-74, on Thursday night.
The Hoyas (22-10) had lost four of their last five tournament games — all to teams seeded 10th or worse — and fell behind by seven in the first half to the 3-point happy Eagles. But Georgetown got its groove back with its own long-range touch, going ahead by 23 early in the second half and holding off Eastern Washington's late rally.
The Hoyas will face fifth-seeded Utah on Saturday in the round of 32.
National-scoring leader Tyler Harvey finished with 27 points, and Venky Jois had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles (26-9), who entered averaging 80.8 points behind Harvey's 22.9 per game.
Instead, Georgetown tired Eastern Washington with its fast-paced approach.
Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford has been so confident about his team that he predicted on a national radio show Wednesday that the Eagles would win. Hayford said later that he wanted his players to know their coach believed in them and to play fearless on the floor.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III said his players told him of Hayford's headline-grabbing interview, and they were as eager as anybody to show — not talk about — what they could do.
The Hoyas' hoped to exploit their size advantage, but Joshua Smith — their 6-foot-10, 350-pound center — picked up his second foul with 15:46 remaining in the first half and went to the bench. Smith was called for his third foul just 9 seconds into the second half and exited again.
The Eagles spread the floor and played just the kind of game they wanted: fast and filled with lots of 3-point attempts.
The problem? Georgetown could shoot it, too.
Eastern Washington made six of its first 12 shots from beyond the arc and took a 24-17 lead. But the Hoyas found their own stroke from deep, closing the half with a flurry to go up 43-33.
Georgetown finished 11 of 23 from long range. Eastern Washington was 9 of 28.
Smith-Rivera put the exclamation point on Georgetown's streaky shooting by hitting consecutive 3-pointers during a second-half spurt that put the Hoyas ahead 58-35.
The Eagles, who rallied from 11 points down to beat Montana in the Big Sky championship, put a stir into the crowd when they closed within seven in the final seconds. But their last comeback bid simply ran out of time.