NEW YORK – The confetti began falling just before the final buzzer sounded on the Big East championship game, but the contest was already long over as top-seeded Georgetown thoroughly dominated third-seeded Pittsburgh, 65-42, in front of a sellout crowd in Madison Square Garden to claim its first conference title since 1989.

Led by junior forward Jeff Green’s 21 points, the No. 9 Hoyas (26-6) overwhelmed the No. 12 Panthers (27-7) to clinch their seventh Big East crown, the most of any team in the conference.

“This is a great feeling to win the regular season championship and then the Big East tournament championship and uphold the tradition of the name we wear across our chests every day,” said Georgetown junior guard Jonathan Wallace, who scored nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from downtown.

Green, the dominant force in the Hoyas’ three-game title run, was awarded the Dave Gavitt MVP trophy for his performance in the conference tourney. Showcasing his versatility, Green backed players down for layups, pulled up for mid-range jumpers and stepped back to drill three-pointers to further validate his Big East player of the year award.

“Great players do elevate their games this time of year,” an uncharacteristically emotional Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said of Green, who averaged 21 points and 8.7 rebounds over the three-game stretch. “Jeff Green is special in that he can do so many things at such a high level. He played extremely well this weekend.”

After pulling out victories in two nail-bitters to get there – holding off a Villanova rally in the quarterfinals and coming back from 14 down against Notre Dame in a semifinals game that came down to the final shot – the Hoyas coasted in the title game.

Georgetown and Pitt – who split their two regular season matchups – traded baskets for the first 13 minutes of the opening half, but from there the Hoyas went on a 13-0 run, and the Panthers would not come within single digits of the Hoyas for the rest of the night.

In the second half Pitt looked to come back, trailing by 13 with 10 minutes remaining, but Wallace nailed back-to-back treys to seal the win for the Hoyas. Georgetown has won all 12 games it has played in the conference tourney as the No. 1 seed.

“They really beat us in every aspect of the game,” Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon said of the Hoyas. “I can’t say enough about how well they played. I wish we could have played better but it just didn’t seem to be our night.”

Pitt had its worst game of the season statistically, tallying season lows in points scored, shooting percentage (26.9 percent) and field goals made (16). The Panthers’ 42 points also marked the lowest-ever point total in the conference championship game.

“Nothing seemed to go right offensively and we didn’t seem to be making shots,” Dixon said. “I thought we got good shots early and didn’t knock them down, and we just never really got into a rhythm offensively.”

The most important night of star center Aaron Gray’s year was also his worst. The senior scored a season-low three points on 1-for-13 shooting. Matching up with Georgetown junior center Roy Hibbert – a matchup both players say they enjoy – Gray was thoroughly outplayed by the Hoya big man. Hibbert scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and shut Gray down in his best game of the tournament.

“Aaron just had a bad day,” Thompson said. “He’s one of the best players in the country. They are a significantly better team than they looked like tonight, and everybody knows that. That said, Roy did a very good job on him, just knowing Aaron’s tendencies and being attentive to that.”

Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya Jessie Sapp (right) and Patrick Ewing Jr. kiss the Big East Tournament trophy after the Hoyas steamrolled Pitt 65-42 on Saturday night.

The Hoyas as a team were solid from the opening tip-off, shooting 52.3 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from three-point range, their best performance from behind the arc in over a month. Georgetown also turned the ball over just nine times, its cleanest performance since its season-low seven turnovers at Louisville on Feb. 2.

The Hoyas did let the Panthers collect 17 offensive rebounds – which Thompson said his team cannot allow to happen again – but, worn out by three games in three days, Pitt could not take advantage of all its second chances and lost in its second consecutive Big East final.

“We were focused from the very first game,” said freshman forward DaJuan Summers, an all-tournament team selection along with Green and Hibbert. “We knew what we wanted to accomplish. It’s just been a great week. We won, and that’s a great feeling.”

The Hoyas reveled in their title last night, but now must set their sights on their next opponent. All but guaranteed a top-two seed in the NCAA tournament, Georgetown will find out where and against whom it will play in the opening round during Selection Sunday announcements tonight.

“I know winning always helps,” Summers said, as the Hoyas prepare for the NCAA tournament after winning 15 of their last 16 games. “It gets your confidence up and helps you gel together as a team. We’re approaching the NCAAs just like we approached the season: one game at a time.”

NOTES

– Green joins Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85), Alonzo Mourning (COL ’92), Charles Smith (CAS ’89) and Reggie Williams (CAS ’87) as the only Hoyas to win both the conference regular season and tournament outstanding player awards.

– The Thompsons and Ewings became the first father-son pairs to coach and play in a Big East title game.

– Among the 19,594 in attendance at adison Square Garden last night were Hoya legends John Thompson and Patrick Ewing, as well as Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers (father of guard Jeremiah), Ball State Head Coach Ronny Thompson (brother of Coach John) and Jerome Williams, who played on the Hoyas’ 1996 team that fell to Connecticut in Georgetown’s last appearance in the conference title game.

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