FILE PHOTO: CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 13 points in 34 minutes off the bench Thursday.
Freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 13 points in 34 minutes off the bench Thursday.

Georgetown’s offense-neutralizing machine has claimed its first victim of the postseason.

The No. 5 Hoyas (25-5) withstood a spectacular one-man rally from Cincinnati guard Cashmere Wright and cruised to a 62-43 win over the Bearcats (22-11) in their Big East tournament quarterfinal Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. scored most of his game-high 18 points at the line in a foul-filled game typical of the two physical Big East squads. Junior guard Markel Starks added 14 on 6-of-10 shooting.

FILE PHOTO: CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA Otto Porter Jr. had 18 points to lead Georgetown over Cincy.
Otto Porter Jr. had 18 points to lead Georgetown over Cincy.

“All the attention Otto is getting is well-deserved, but at the same time, knowing that going into games that he’s going to have that attention, we have to step up,” Starks told the Associated Press.

The opening minutes were played at an unusually torrid pace, as both teams came out of the gates in full-court presses and with quick triggers on the long ball. Georgetown’s guards were more sure-handed and its defense more sound, though, and the top-seeded Hoyasquickly gained an edge.

Cincinnati Head Coach Mick Cronin picked up an early technical that may have been intended to energize his team but, if anything, had the opposite effect. By the five-minute mark, Georgetown had opened up a 24-8 lead.

Then, Wright woke up.

The 6-foot senior hit three absurdly long three-pointers in a three-minute span, closing the gap rapidly with the help ofbackcourt mate JaQuon Parker. The Hoyas sputtered on offense and lost all their momentum before halftime; they left for the locker room holding a five-point edge that seemed much smaller.

The opening minutes of the second half were no different. Parker and Wright continued their rampage after the break, and a leaning floater from the latter gave the Bearcats a two-point lead.

Georgetown’s response justified its No. 1 seed, to put it mildly. Junior forward Nate Lubick hit a baseline jump hook to tie the game at 33, then back-to-back buckets from freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera gave his team some breathing room. Buckets from the usual suspects (Porter Jr. and Starks) followed, the Hoyas locked down on defense and a parade of free throws sealed the win.

“We turned it up at the defensive end. We started getting stops, which then helped our offense,” Head Coach John Thompson III told the AP. “For the most part, this group doesn’t get rattled.”

Wright scored 14 points and shot 4-of-5 from long range to lead his team. Cincinnati’s star player, junior guard Sean Kilpatrick, struggled against the Hoyas once again: He scored four points on 2-of-12 shooting after putting up 12 on a 3-of-13 mark earlier this year.

The Hoyas will next take to the court in tonight’s 7 p.m. semifinal against all-too-familiar Syracuse. The Orange are suddenly hot after trouncing Seton Hall Tuesday and then holding on to top Pittsburgh, 62-59, in Thursday’s second afternoon game.

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