SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Brandon Bowman spent most of overtime sitting dejectedly on the bench, watching as his team tried to prevent a veritable disaster at unranked Notre Dame after its spectacular performance against then-No. 1 Duke.

His teammates came through in the clutch, holding off the Fighting Irish (10-7, 1-5 Big East), 85-82, and needing not one but two extra periods to do so.

After putting up 23 points in the Hoyas’ (13-4, 4-2) Saturday win over the Blue Devils, Bowman had an off-night on Tuesday. He scored just eight points, with four of those coming at the charity stripe.

But while most of the game was spent watching what Bowman wasn’t doing, in the final five seconds of regulation all eyes were on him as he defended Notre Dame junior guard Colin Falls.

Falls, averaging 14.2 points per game, took an awkward three-point attempt from the right side. Bowman, his team up 69-65, got too close during the shot. There was a whistle for a foul, the ball swished through the net and Falls was going to the line with the Irish now down by one.

The 6-foot-5 junior, a 91 percent free-throw shooter in conference play, sank the shot easily, and the Hoyas, who had never been down in the contest and had once led by as many as 15 points, were forced into their first overtime of the season.

“It would’ve been better if we could’ve left after regulation instead of double overtime,” Bowman said. “I think I probably felt it more than anyone else, because of the play I created.”

“You’ve got to know the circumstances,” fifth-year swingman Darrel Owens said. “We were screaming and telling each other not to foul. We made kind of a boneheaded play in that situation, but we pulled it out in the end.”

Bowman’s faux pas nearly cost the No. 21 Hoyas the game when, at the end of the first overtime, Notre Dame senior guard Colin Quinn put up a potentially game-winning layup at the buzzer. The ball tapped the rim and fell aside, drawing an anxious moan from the 10,508 Irish supporters in attendance.

With the game tied at 76 at the onset of the second overtime, Jeff Green won his third jump ball of the night. He got the ball back in his hands a few seconds later, sinking a three-pointer to regain the advantage for Georgetown.

The Hoyas eventually opened up a four-point lead and managed to hold on for the victory, but the last five minutes were anything but pretty. Green fouled senior forward Rick Cornett on a missed dunk, and Cornett went on to miss both free throws. Owens, passing from the paint back outside, watched as the ball flew out of bounds between senior guard Ashanti Cook and Bowman. Cook rolled over in anguish as he fouled out against sophomore forward Rob Kurz, who made one of two free-throw attempts to make it a three-point game with 55 seconds to play. And the Irish missed three shots from beyond the arc in the final 10 seconds before freshman forward Marc Egerson grabbed a rebound to seal the win.

The ugly plays late in the game overshadowed Georgetown’s dominance in the first half, when the Hoyas easily pulled away to a 29-14 lead, maintaining a 36-28 advantage into intermission.

Tiredness and complacency beset Georgetown later, as Saturday’s hard-fought win caught up with them. Notre Dame fought back, tying the game at 50 apiece with 11:29 to go.

Perhaps overconfident after their victory over the top team in the country, the Hoyas made several unforced errors, running the shot clock too low and watching passes fly out of bounds.

“Everybody’s tired this time of year, in the midst of conference play,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “But the emotion, the energy spent on Saturday is no excuse. . We can figure out how to win. We can almost figure out how to give it away, too.”

The sluggishness hurt the team mostly on the defensive end, as Georgetown surrendered 21 offensive rebounds, the most since a Dec. 8 drubbing by Illinois.

But for the second straight outing, the Hoyas diversified their offensive production, with five players reaching double figures. Roy Hibbert (18), Owens (18), Cook (15) and sophomore guard Jon Wallace (10) all had at least 10 points before overtime, while Green (12) passed that mark with his three to open the second extra period.

Hibbert, who saw limited action on Saturday, had a strong night, playing 33 minutes and shooting 8-of-13. With 13 rebounds, he recorded his sixth double-double of the year.

Georgetown made its first 12 free throws, hinting that it would not be susceptible to faltering at the charity stripe as had happened against Duke. But falter it did late in the game. There was even a point at which Wallace, facing a sea of green-clad Notre Dame students, made one and missed the second. Instead of having a five-point edge, the Hoyas were up 67-63 and soon to surrender a four-point play to go to overtime.

Quinn had 26 points and 10 assists for the Irish (10-7, 1-5). Falls recorded 18 and Kurz had 14, while senior forward Torin Francis, Notre Dame’s leading rebounder, narrowly missed a double-double with 12 boards and nine points.

The Hoyas’ win, which knotted the all-time series between these two programs at 10 wins each, marked the 100th career win for Thompson (100-59).

Georgetown (13-4, 4-2) returns home to face Cincinnati (14-6, 3-3) on Saturday. Tip-off is at noon at MCI Center.

CORRECTION: A photograph accompanying the story “Despite a Fight, Hoyas Hang On” (THE HOYA, Jan. 27, 2006, A12) was not correctly credited to staff photographer Andreas Jeninga.

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