March 9, 2011
NEW YORK - Junior guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) scored 23 points and senior guard Austin Freeman (Mitchellville, Md./DeMatha) added 20 points, but it wasn't enough as eighth-seeded Georgetown lost to ninth-seeded Connecticut, 79-62, in the second round of the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden Wednesday afternoon.
It was the fourth-straight loss for the 22nd-ranked Hoyas, who fall to 21-10 overall and now await the NCAA Tournament selections on Sunday, March 13, while No. 21 UConn improves to 23-9 overall. The loss marks only the second time in seven years under Head Coach John Thompson III that the Hoyas have lost their first game in the BIG EAST Tournament.
The Hoyas trailed by 12 points, 42-30, at the half and were able to cut the lead to 10 points on a couple of occasions early in the second half - twice on baskets from Clark (42-32 and 44-34) and once on a basket from freshman forward Nate Lubick (Southboro, Mass./St. Marks) (46-36) - but an 8-2 UConn run gave the Huskies a 54-38 lead on a jumper from Kemba Walker with 13:18 to play in the game.
The Huskies increased their lead to 19 points, 61-42, on a layup from Shabazz Napier, but the Hoyas did not quit and pulled to within 12 points, 71-59, on a three-pointer from sophomore forward Hollis Thompson (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) with 3:31 to play.
Georgetown went into the half trailing by 12 points, 42-30, after a first half in which they shot 46.2 percent from the floor (12-of-26), but committed 10 turnovers, with UConn hit 48.4 percent of its shots (15-of-31), including four three-pointers.
The teams were close during the early going with four ties and three lead changes. A jumper from Thompson and a layup from Freeman in the opening moments gave Georgetown the early lead, but UConn tied it at 6-all on a three from Jeremy Lamb and took an 8-6 lead on free throws from Alex Oriakhi.
A three-pointer from freshman guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) gave the Hoyas an 11-10 lead and one of two free throws Freeman tied the game at 12-all. Georgetown tied it for the last in the half, 15-all, on a three-pointer from Thompson with 11:04 to play, but UConn used an 8-0 run and took a 23-15 lead on a three from Josh Coombs-McDaniels.
A tip-in from Lubick made it 23-17 with 8:29 to play and a layup from Freeman made it 25-19 with 7:36 to play in the half. Freeman, who scored 14 first half points, hit a three-pointer with 6:27 to play, cutting the UConn lead to 29-22, but the Huskies out-scored the Hoyas 13-8 over the final minutes of the half and pushed the lead to 12 points.
Georgetown shot 42.3 percent from the floor (22-of-52) and hit 5-of-22 shots from three-point land.
The Hoyas played their third-straight game without senior starting guard Chris Wright (Bowie, Md./St. John's College HS), who broke a bone in his left hand against Cincinnati on Feb. 23. Wright, an All-BIG EAST Third Team selection, is second on the team in scoring with 13.1 points and leads the team, and ranks third in the league, with 5.4 assists per game.