San Juan, PR (SportsNetwork.com) - D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 26 points and led a second-half rally that staked Georgetown to an 84-80 victory over 10th- ranked VCU in the fifth-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off.
The Hoyas trailed 53-50 with 10 minutes remaining before embarking on a 13-4 run, during which Smith-Rivera tallied six points, to forge ahead and ultimately hand the Rams their second loss of the tournament.
Smith-Rivera knocked down 5-of-6 shots from 3-point range for the game, while Markel Starks went 10-for-10 from the foul line and finished with 23 points for Georgetown (3-2).
The Hoyas ended 32-of-37 from the charity stripe, with Joshua Smith hitting 9- of-10 attempts as part of a 17-point effort.
Briante Weber put up a career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting for VCU (4-2), which earlier fell to Florida State in Thursday's opening round. Treveon Graham compiled 17 points and nine rebounds in a losing cause, while Melvin Johnson netted 16 points off the bench for the Rams.
"The main thing we learned in Puerto Rico is we have to get better," said Rams head coach Shaka Smart. "We already knew that, but now we've been smacked across the face with it."
Smith-Rivera's sixth triple of the day gave Georgetown a 57-55 lead with just over nine minutes left to play, and the Hoyas played strong defense down the stretch to stay on top the rest of the way.
VCU pulled with 58-57 when Rob Brandenberg fed Juvonte Reddic for a dunk with 8:19 left, but the Rams were held without a field goal for the next four-plus minutes as Georgetown began to extend the margin.
Starks drove the lane and scored with 6:30 to go for a 61-57 Hoyas' edge, and Smith-Rivera came up with a steal on the ensuing possession before converting a layup in transition to make it a six-point differential.
"Everyone always talks about VCU's defense, but they always have five guys on the court who can attack and score," Hoyas head coach John Thompson remarked. "So the key wasn't necessarily handling their pressure. The key was making it hard for them to score."
The Rams closed within three points when Graham buried a trey with 24 seconds remaining, but Georgetown sank 5-of-6 foul shots in the closing stages to ward off the comeback attempt.
VCU owned a 30-29 edge at the conclusion of a tightly played opening half and was ahead by seven with 14 minutes left, as 3-pointers from JaQuan Lewis and Johnson sparked an 8-0 spurt that put the Rams up by a 48-41 count.
The Hoyas proceeded to score 13 of the next 18 points, with Starks' steal and layup capping the flurry and staking Georgetown to a 54-53 lead just past the midway mark of the second half.
The teams combined for 14 lead changes ... VCU had won both of the previous two meetings between the schools, the most recent coming in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament as part of the Rams' run to the Final Four ... Smith-Rivera averaged 21.7 points over the tournament's three games ... Weber's previous career high was 16 points, set against Winthrop on Nov. 16.