RALEIGH, N.C. – Fellow 2-seed Duke got a scare from small-conference opponent Belmont last night, but the Hoyas had no such trouble today. Georgetown maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half en route to a 66-47 victory over 15th-seeded UMBC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Georgetown seniors Jonathan Wallace and Roy Hibbert, playing in their third-straight tournament, showed their veteran leadership on the floor, finishing with 13 points each. Two other Hoyas, senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. and freshman forward Austin Freeman, also finished in the double digits in a balanced Hoya offense.

On the other side of the ball, the second-seeded Hoyas (28-5), the nation’s best defensive team in terms of opponent’s field-goal percentage, held the Retrievers to 32 percent from the field. UMBC’s 47 points were the team’s lowest output this year.

Although Georgetown had a comfortable lead for most of the game, Head Coach John Thompson III emphasized that the Hoyas never let up.

“That team is too well coached; they are too experienced; they are too talented to say, okay, let’s start working on stuff,” Thompson said. “If you make a mistake, if you let up, if you start to think that way, you know, all of a sudden, they are right back in it, and it’s a game.”

For UMBC, which qualified for its first-ever NCAA Tournament by winning the America East, the loss put an end to the best season in school history. UMBC finishes the year with a 24-9 record.

The Retrievers kept up with the Hoyas shot-for-shot for the first ten minutes of the game, but they were never able to regain the lead after the 12:52 mark, when they were up 12-9.

UMBC’s downfall was a seven-minute scoring drought between 8:09 and 1:06 in the first half, during which Georgetown piled on 13 unanswered points. By halftime, the Hoyas had gotten out to a 34-22 lead.

Freshman guard Chris Wright, who has only played in four games since returning from a prolonged foot injury, made two three-pointers during that Georgetown run. He finished with eight points.

“I’m feeling good,” Wright said after the game, “just trying to stay healthy, trying to get a lot of rest and do something on the court when I get in.”

Georgetown kept the game out of reach for UMBC by containing two of the Retrievers biggest offensive threats. Senior guard Ray Barbosa, who came in averaging a team-leading 16.9 points per game, mustered only six points. In the second half, he missed all five of his shots.

eanwhile, junior point guard Jay Greene, who ranks second in the nation in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, had a season-low two dimes on the game.

“[We] just tried to wear them down like we always do, grind it out,” Wright said of the Hoyas’ second-half defense.

Junior forward Darryl Proctor kept UMBC afloat with 16 points and eight rebounds.

For the Hoyas, Ewing in particular stepped up in the second half, connecting on 4-of-5 attempts after intermission. The Big East sixth-man-of-the-year contributed a total of 10 points off the bench, including a slam dunk with two minutes left.

The ride was not completely smooth for Georgetown, however, as the Retrievers forced the Hoyas to turn over the ball 15 times. Proctor alone tallied seven steals.

“They are a real scrappy team,” Hibbert said. “They are under-sized but they like to get up and down the floor and get up shots. They like to just throw different stuff at you on defense.”

On the glass, the Hoyas’ size advantage helped them out-rebound the Retrievers by a margin of 40 to 29. UMBC’s 5-foot-8 Greene, however, charged up the Retrievers’ noisy cheering section when he snuck around Hibbert for a rebound early in the first half on a missed Proctor free throw.

“I thought Coach was gonna put me on the bench for that one,” Hibbert said after the game, chuckling. “I thought he went back to the three-point line. I didn’t see him because he’s 5-8.”

Although UMBC is now going home, the players said that they were glad to have made it so far.

“This year was so much fun. We did a lot for this school,” Greene said. “No one can ever take this away from us. It was a great experience.”

Georgetown, meanwhile, will match up with 10-seed Davidson in the second-round game on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 2:50 p.m.

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