Georgetown made a furious rally in the second half and pulled to within six points with two-plus minutes left in the game, but seventh-ranked Pittsburgh held off the Hoyas for a 74-69 win in front of 12,508 fans at the Petersen Events Center Saturday night. It was the second-straight loss for the Blue and Gray, who fall to 11-5 overall and 1-2 in the BIG EAST, while Pittsburgh improves to 16-2 overall and 4-0 in league play.
Georgetown trailed by nine points at halftime (41-32 and fell behind by 15 points, 49-34, on a layup from Levon Kendall with 17:16 to play. The Hoyas managed to pull to within six points, 68-62, on a driving bank from junior forward Patrick Ewing (Marietta, Ga./National Christian Academy) and had a chance to get closer, but turned the ball over with just over two minutes left and the Panthers hit all six of their free throw attempts to seal the win.
Junior forward Jeff Green (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) and sophomore Jessie Sapp (New York, N.Y./National Christian Academy) scored 15 points apiece to lead the Hoyas, while Ewing tied his career-high with 12 points, all in the second half. Green's 15 points gave him 1,000 for his career, the 37th player in Georgetown history to reach that plateau.
Trailing by 15 points, the Hoyas used a 9-4 spurt started by a three-point play from junior center Roy Hibbert (Adelphi, Md./Georgetown Prep) and worked the lead down to 10 points, 53-43, on a Ewing jumper with 12:56 to play. The lead was still 10 points after a Hibbert tip-in, but Pitt guard Ronald Ramon was fouled on a three-pointer and hit three of his shots from the charity stripe, widening the gap to 58-45.
Georgetown, however, did not quit and pulled of a 17-4 run over a span of 8:12 to pull within six points on Ewing's jumper. Green started the run with a three-pointer, Sapp scored six points and Ewing led the way with eight points, hitting a pair of three-pointers.
Pittsburgh took a nine-point lead at halftime, 41-32, the first time all season that Georgetown had trailed at the half. After falling behind by 11 points, 37-26, on an Antonio Graves layup with 3:43 to play in the half, the Hoyas clawed back into it, using a 6-0 run - with four points from junior guard Jonathan Wallace (Harvest, Ala./Sparkman) and two from sophomore guard Jessie Sapp (New York, N.Y./National Christian Academy) - to make it 37-32. The Panthers scored the last four points of the half to take the nine-point lead.
The Hoyas had jumped out to the early lead, with a basket from Hibbert followed by a Green layup and three-pointer, giving GU a 7-2 lead. Another basket from Green gave the Hoyas an 11-8 lead, but a three from Ronald Ramon tied the game. Over the next four-plus minutes, there were six lead changes. A Sapp layup gave the Hoyas an 18-17 lead with 10:57 to play, before a jumper from Ramon gave the Panthers the lead for good in the half, 19-18. A jumper from junior Tyler Crawford (Stuarts Draft, Va./Robert E. Lee) cut the deficit to 23-20 with 8:48 to play before the Panthers responded with a 14-6 run, taking the 37-26 lead.
Green led the Hoyas with 15 points and tied his career-high with seven assists, while Sapp had 15 points with four rebounds and four assists and Hibbert chipped in 11 points. Ewing connected on 5-of-6 shots from the field for 12 points and added two assists for Georgetown, which had 16 total and committed only 10 turnovers. The Panthers shot 59.6 percent from the floor (28-of-47), 30.0 percent from long distance (3-of-10) and 78.9 percent from the line (15-of-19), while holding a 23-18 advantage in rebounding.
The Hoyas shot 60.9 percent from the floor (28-of-46), 35.7 percent from outside the arc (5-of-14) and 72.7 percent from the free throw line (8-of-11).
Georgetown plays the second of a three-game road trip on Wednesday at Rutgers. Tip-off at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J., is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard locally on AM 570 and will be broadcast on MASN.