Roy Hibbert shoots over Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray in the first half during the championship round of the Big East conference tournament Saturday at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
March 10, 2007
New York, N.Y. - Junior forward Jeff Green (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) scored a game-high 21 points and junior center Roy Hibbert (Adelphi, Md./Georgetown Prep) scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half as top-seeded Georgetown opened up a 15-point lead en route to a 65-42 win over third-seeded Pittsburgh in the championship game of the BIG EAST Tournament on Saturday night in front of 19,594 fans at Madison Square Garden.
The win gives Georgetown a league-record seven BIG EAST Tournament titles and it is the program's first win since 1989. Green, who averaged 21.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in three games, was named the BIG EAST Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, the fifth Georgetown player to earn the honor, joining Reggie Williams (1987), Patrick Ewing (1984, 1985), Sleepy Floyd (1982) and Craig Shelton (1980).
Paced by a strong shooting performance in the first half - the Hoyas connected on 55.6 percent of their shots - Georgetown led by 15 points (32-17) at the break and took their biggest lead of the game after free throws from Hibbert and freshman forward DaJuan Summers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh).
The Hoyas hit only two field goals in the first nine minutes of the second half and Pittsburgh used a 13-7 spurt to cut the GU lead to 13 points, 45-32, after a reverse layup from Aaron Gray, the All-BIG EAST center's first basket of the night. The Hoyas, however, immediately responded with an 8-0 run over a span of 1:39, with junior guard Jonathan Wallace (Harvest, Ala./Sparkman) hitting a pair of three-pointers and Green capping it with a reverse layup, giving the Hoyas their biggest lead in the game at 51-39 with 8:31 to play and sealing the win.
Pittsburgh never got closer than 19 points the rest of the way. A three-pointer from Green with 5:39 to play extended the Georgetown lead to 24 points, 58-34, and he hit two free throws with 1:25 on the clock to give the Hoyas a 65-40 lead. Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III, who improved his record on the Hilltop to 68-29, removed his starters at that point and the celebration began in the World's Most Famous Arena.
After the team accepted the tournament trophy and the players received their trophies, the Hoyas, led by junior forward Patrick Ewing, Jr. (Marietta, Ga./National Christian Academy), proceeded to cut down the nets. When the final strand was cut by Thompson, the coach led the assembled crowd in a chant of "We Are...Georgetown!"
Pittsburgh took the early lead on a basket from Mike Cook, but the Hoyas responded with six-straight points. Green put the team on the board with a hook shot, sophomore guard Jessie Sapp (New York, N.Y./National Christian Academy) fed Hibbert for a dunk and Green hit a driving Sapp for a layup, making it 6-2 at 16:52. The Panthers pulled to within two points, 10-8, on a three-pointer by Ronald Ramon and a layup by Cook with 7:49 to play in the half made it 15-13.
Georgetown, however, caught fire and reeled off 13-straight points during a span of 4:31 to take a 28-13 lead on a Hibbert dunk. The run started with a driving bank shot from freshman guard Jeremiah Rivers (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) and Hibbert scored on a baseline hook to make it 19-13. Sapp followed with a steal and a layup and Summers connected on a three before driving uncontested for a baseline layup to increase the lead to 26-13 before Hibbert's dunk. The Panthers went without a field goal for five-plus minutes. Hibbert's dunk, two of 14 first half points, made it 32-17 at the break.
Green connected on 6-of-12 shots from the field and 8-of-10 free throws for 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two assists, while Hibbert, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Summers scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and had two assists, while Wallace finished with nine points, three boards and two assists and Sapp chipped in six points, four assists and three rebounds.
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