The Georgetown Hoyas squandered a double-digit second half lead and were eliminated from the Big East Tournament in double overtime by the Cincinnati Bearcats 70-72. In a match-up of two of the toughest defensive teams in the nation, neither team established much of a rhythm offensively. During the latter portion of the first half, the Hoyas began to create a little bit of separation on the scoreboard, as Cincinnati had a lot of trouble with the Hoyas’ zone defense. Georgetown led by six, 30-24, at the half.
In the second half, the Hoyas methodically pulled away, continuing the tough defense and slightly increasing their offensive productivity. Georgetown led by eleven with nine minutes remaining thanks to patience on offense and limiting the fast break points for the Bearcats. From that point however, the Hoyas stopped doing the things that earned them the large lead. Cincinnati went on a 6-0 run in less than 50 seconds, creating turnovers and turning them into fast break opportunities. The easy baskets gave Cincinnati confidence, and their half-court execution improved. The lead got smaller and smaller for the Hoyas, as a result of additional turnovers and poor free-throw shooting. On two separate occasions down the stretch, Markel Starks, one of the Hoyas more reliable free throw shooters, missed the front end of one and one situations which would have kept the Hoyas in front.
Yancey Gates was a one-man force in the paint for Cincinnati, finishing with a game high 23 points, helping the Bearcats take the lead in the final moments. Georgetown had the ball down by two in the final seconds when Henry Sims found an open Otto Porter who made a short jumper to tie the score with 3.4 seconds left and send the game into overtime. The teams traded baskets in OT, but again the Hoyas failed to take advantage of their opportunities as Sims went 0-2 from the line. Down by two points again in the final seconds, Sims made another critical play. With less than 3 seconds left, Sims had the ball at the top of the key, exploded to the basket, and put a layup in off the backboard as the clock expired, sending the game into double overtime.
In the second overtime, the story was much the same, Gates scoring for Cincinnati, and Sims with an opportunity to tie the game. The Hoyas had their final possession with 7 seconds left, down by 2 points. Jason Clark took the ball into the front court and gave it to Sims outside the arc. The potential game-winning shot form Sims was too strong and Cincinnati escaped, advancing to the semifinal to take on Syracuse.
Henry Sims led the Hoyas with 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and freshman Otto Porter added 14 and 7. Unfortunately, neither Jason Clark nor Hollis Thompson provided much scoring in the defeat, as the two key players combined for 22 points off of 8-21 shooting. The Hoyas also left a lot of points at the line, going 53% from the stripe. Georgetown now must wait until Sunday afternoon to see where they land in the NCAA Tournament. Hoya Hoops will have all of Georgetown’s post-season information as soon as it becomes available.