Charles Nailen/The Hoya Georgetown got a much-needed home win Tuesday over Big East foe Providence.

The Georgetown Men’s Basketball team won a home game Tuesday night for the first time in the month of February, beating the Providence Friars, 71-56, to move into fifth place in the Big East West division.

And unlike so many of the Hoyas’ Big East Conference games this season, the outcome of the game was never really in question in the second half, as Georgetown (13-11, 5-8 Big East) opened the second half with a 16-3 run and never really looked back.

Providence cut the Georgetown lead to five with just over five minutes remaining in the second half after a pair of Friar free throws, but the Hoyas responded with an 8-0 run to finish off the Friars for good.

“I think this is one game that I definitely can say that we closed with intelligence and with good judgment down the stretch,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said. “We did a great job in the second half of getting the lead and putting Providence on their heels.”

Georgetown’s pressure defense resulted in 25 Providence turnovers, which the Hoyas converted into 27 points. Georgetown turned the ball over just 14 times, which Providence converted into only 12 points.

“It was important to finish a game,” Esherick said. “Providence made a couple of runs at us; we turned the ball over a couple of times against their pressure, and we kept our composure.” The Hoyas are just 2-6 this season in games decided by five points or less or in overtime.

The win was Georgetown’s second consecutive victory, and their third in four games following a six-game losing streak that sent the Hoyas to the bottom of the Big East West division. The last place team in each division is not invited to the Big East Tournament.

While the Hoyas took care of business against the Friars, they got some help from Seton Hall, who defeated Rutgers 62-52. West Virginia was idle, and the Hoyas moved into sole possession of fifth place by a half-game over the Mountaineers.

Providence dropped to 13-12 on the season, and 6-8 in the East division of the Big East.

Junior forward All-American candidate Mike Sweetney led Georgetown with 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Sweetney was held to just five points in the first half, thanks in large part to Providence’s first-half zone defense. “Because we got the lead, it forced [Providence Head Coach] Tim [Welch] to go more man, and it was easier to get the ball to [Sweetney] in the man. In zone, they just kept somebody on him the whole time in the first half, and we had a difficult time getting the ball to him,” Esherick said.

Sweetney said that he thinks the Hoyas have turned it around since their losing streak and that the team is focused on making the post-season. “There was no way I was going to be sitting home watching the tournaments on TV. I had to at least play in something,” he said. “I refuse to be a part of Georgetown history, not making the Big East Tournament. We’re playing good basketball right now.”

Esherick, too, said he is confident about the team’s post-season prospects.

“We can control our own destiny in a lot of ways. We can put ourselves in a position to play in a couple of post-season tournaments . we can do some things to put ourselves in a position to play in the post-season this year,” Esherick said. “And I’m not talking about just the Big East Tournament.”

Junior forward Gerald Riley added 19 points for the Hoyas and senior forward Victor Samnick gave the Hoyas a spark with 12 points and four steals.

“Victor played great; he rebounded the ball, he played great defense, he had a couple nice blocks, he had a couple rebounds when we needed them, he made a couple free throws, he was tough on the baseline,” Esherick said.

Samnick said he was trying to do anything he could to help the team win.

“That’s what everybody’s supposed to do. Everybody’s supposed to hustle and try to catch a win, whatever it takes,” he said. “You have to hustle.”

Providence was led by sophomore forward Ryan Gomes, who had 21 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Tuukka Kotti added 12 for the Friars.

The Hoyas next face the 15th-ranked Syracuse Orangemen on Saturday at MCI Center. Tip-off is at 1 p.m.

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