March 9, 2007
New York, N.Y. - Junior forward Jeff Green (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) hit a pull-up jumper with 13 seconds left in the game and Notre Dame's Russell Carter missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as top-seeded Georgetown came back to defeat Notre Dame, 84-82, in the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The win advances the Hoyas (25-6) to the BIG EAST Tournament Championship Game for the first time since 1996.
Georgetown broke a 69-all tie late in the second half with a 7-0 run - keyed by Green, who scored six of his career-high 30 points during the span - over a span of 1:52, but the Irish raced back to tie the game at 76-all after seven-consecutive points form freshman guard Tory Jackson with 2:54 to play.
Notre Dame's Rob Kurz hit a pair of free throws to give the Irish a 78-76 lead, but junior guard Jonathan Wallace (Harvest, Ala./Sparkman) connected on a floater in the lane to tie the game and junior center Roy Hibbert (Adelphi, Md./Georgetown Prep) hit a jumper to give the Hoyas an 80-78 lead. After Jackson missed one of two free throws, freshman forward DaJuan Summers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), who tied his career-high with 18 points, hit a pair of free throws to give GU an 82-79 lead. Notre Dame freshman Luke Harangody missed one of two free throws and Jackson scored on a driving layup with 35 seconds left to tie the game at 82-all. After a Hoya timeout, Green took the ball on the near side and drove in toward the basket, pulled up, was fouled by Harangody and connected on his jumper. He missed the free throw - one of only two misses in 14 attempts for the team's co-captain - but the Hoyas held off and moved on to the championship game for the 11th time in program history.
The Hoyas, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, cut Notre Dame's lead to two points (46-44) at halftime and took the lead for the first time on a dunk from junior forward Patrick Ewing, Jr. (Marietta, Ga./National Christian Academy) just over a minute into the second half. That was the start of a hectic, fast-paced second half that featured 10 ties and 13 lead changes.
A three-pointer from Carter - who hit 4-of-6 from outside the arc in the first half, but only 1-of-6 in the second half - gave the Irish a 52-50 lead, but a conventional three-point play from Green gave the Hoyas a 53-52 lead. The Irish used a 7-2 spurt over 1:57 and took a 59-55 lead on a three-pointer from Colin Falls. A free throw from Green and a three-pointer from Wallace in front of the Georgetown bench tied the game at 59-all. The lead changed hands six times over the next five minutes, with a Wallace three-pointer on a feed from Hibbert giving the Hoyas a 67-65 lead. A pair of free throws from Harangody tied the game and a Carter jumper gave ND a 69-67 lead, but Green tied it on a dunk, setting up the late Hoya run.
Notre Dame used a strong performance from three-point land in the first half to stake a lead that grew to as many as 14 points through the first 15 minutes. A three-pointer from Falls gave the Irish an 11-4 lead, but a pair of free throws from Green pulled the Hoyas to within four points, 15-11, with 13:40 to play. The lead remained four points (17-13) after a Green hook shot, but the Irish went on an 18-8 run - keyed by four three-pointers, including three from Carter - and took a 35-21 lead with 7:36 to play.
The lead was still 14 points after Carter hit a jumper with 6:37 to play in the half, but the Hoyas caught fire and took advantage of free throws - hitting 12-of-13 in the first half - to pull back within two points. A 19-7 run over 5:42, with Green scoring nine of his 17 first half points and Summers adding seven, pulled the Hoyas to within two points, 44-42, with under a minute left. Jackson came back with a layup to make it 46-42, but Summers hit two free throws as the Blue and Gray cut the lead to two points at the break.
Green scored a career-high 30 points - hitting 9-of-21 shots from the field and 12-of-14 from the free throw line - and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for his first double-double this season. Summers hit 6-of-10 shots from the field for 18 points, Ewing hit 7-of-11 and finished with a career-high tying 15 points, and Wallace added 10 points and five assists. Hibbert added six points, four rebounds and five blocked shots, while sophomore guard Jessie Sapp (New York, N.Y./National Christian Academy) added five points and four assists.
The Hoyas shot 52.5 percent from the floor (31-of-59), hit 33.3 percent of their three-pointers (5-of-15) and 85.0 percent of their free throws (17-of-20). They were beaten on the boards, 39-34, but handed out 17 assists and committed only 10 turnovers.