Georgetown’s freshmen have received a lot of attention in this surprising season so far. Wednesday night, though, it was the upperclassmen who showed their ability to take over a game and lead the Hoyas to a big win.

Junior guard Ashanti Cook paced the Hoyas in the first half, and junior forward Brandon Bowman came up huge in the second on a night in which he became the 35th player in Georgetown history to score 1,000 points. The two lead Georgetown to a 61-51 victory over Seton Hall before 8,568 on “Retro Night” at MCI Center.

The game was almost a mirror image of the Hoyas’ loss at Boston College on Saturday night, but this time the Hoyas got the better end. Georgetown (6-3, 14-6) struggled offensively at times but always seemed to come up with a big basket when it needed one while Seton Hall (2-5, 10-8) never got the bucket which could have put them back in the game.

“We had a better first half,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “I thought our defense for the game was pretty good. They got some open shots at the end, but I’m glad we made our foul shots and I’m glad to get out of here with a win.”

Where the Hoyas really won the game was at the free-throw line. The Pirates shot the ball terribly all night but still ended up hitting three more field goals than the Hoyas on 22 more shots.

But Georgetown, especially Bowman, took advantage when Seton Hall sent them to the line. The Hoyas scored more than a third of their points on free throws, going 22-29 and setting a season high for free throws made in a game. Bowman led the way with a terrific 14-15 effort on his way to 25 points. The most free throws any Georgetown player had made previously this season were Bowman’s seven against Syracuse and sophomore guard Ray Reed’s seven against at Villanova.

“I’ve been working so hard on my free throws because I’ve been kind of slouching lately,” Bowman said. “I was working all week on different techniques with the coaches. I found one. I’m going to stick with it. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to knock them down.”

Seton Hall, meanwhile, hit all of its free throw attempts but got to the line only eight times, a season-low for Georgetown’s opponents.

Seton Hall had several chances in both halves to make the game close but never could cut the Georgetown lead to less than six. The Hoyas held an 18-10 lead in the first half when freshman forward Jeff Green picked up his second personal foul with 6:11 remaining and went to the bench for the rest of the half.

Instead of struggling without their second-highest scorer, the Hoyas outscored the Pirates 9-5 in the final minutes and led 27-15 at halftime. Cook scored four of his 10 first half points during the run to lead Georgetown.

Seton Hall would chip away again just after the midway point of the second half. A 8-2 Pirate run cut the Georgetown lead to 41-33 but Bowman stopped the drive dead in its tracks with an acrobatic layup to begin a three-point play. He scored seven straight points as Georgetown opened up its lead to 48-33.

But Seton Hall had one more run left in it. Trailing by 15 with five minutes to go, the Pirates dumped in nine unanswered points in just over 90 seconds to narrow the score to 53-47. They had several chances to get even closer, but junior guard J.R. Morris badly missed a three and junior forward Kelly Whitney could not convert a short hook shot. Bowman grabbed one of his seven rebounds and drained two free throws at the other end. Bowman made all six of his free throw attempts in the final two minutes to help Georgetown maintain its comfortable lead until the final buzzer sounded.

The Hoyas’ key freshmen, who struggled mightily against Boston College, were able to regain their form somewhat Wednesday. Freshman guard Jonathan Wallace had his best outing in two weeks, scoring 10 points and drilling two threes. Green had a sub-par game by the high standards he has set for himself so far this season, but he still scored 10 points, eight of which came in the second half.

Thompson did not even want to hear about the idea of his freshmen hitting a late-season wall.

“They’re not hitting a wall. They’re not allowed to hit a wall. There is no wall,” he said jokingly after the game.

It was Georgetown’s first win against Seton Hall in three years after three straight losses. The game was a far cry from the embarrassing 75-48 loss the Pirates dealt the Hoyas at the eadowlands last February.

“I think [the Hoyas] have bought into the system offensively,” Seton Hall Head Coach Louis Orr said. They make a number of passes before they shoot, and they’re defending. They scored 61 points, and that was enough for them to win.”

Georgetown looks to complete a sweep of the New Jersey Big East schools when it meets a struggling Rutgers team tomorrow night at the RAC, where Georgetown is only 2-5 since Rutgers joined the Big East in 1995. The Hoyas beat the Scarlet Knights 62-55 at MCI Center three weeks ago. Rutgers has lost four straight games and eight of its last nine. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

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