NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For nearly the entire season the Hoyas have well exceeded expectations. From time to time, though, they play like the team most people thought they were in November.

Showing its youth in a tough road environment, Georgetown suffered through a paralyzing first-half drought and dug itself too big a hole as it fell 70-64 to Notre Dame Wednesday night before a capacity crowd of 11,418 at the Joyce Center.

The Fighting Irish (15-7, 7-5) picked up a home win they desperately needed for their NCAA tournament resume. Head Coach ike Brey earned his 100th victory at Notre Dame as former Notre Dame Head Coach Digger Phelps broadcasted the game on ESPN Classic.

The Hoyas (16-7, 8-4) saw their three-game winning streak snap as they fell for the third straight year at Notre Dame.

Just as it was doomed by a terrible first half offensively three weeks ago at Conte Forum against No. 6 Boston College, in the first half Wednesday Georgetown went more than 10 minutes without a field goal. Notre Dame took advantage and scored 14 unanswered points to turn a game that was tight for the first 10 minutes into a lopsided one by halftime.

Sophomore guard Ray Reed’s driving layup at the 12:27 mark of the opening half put Georgetown up 9-8. But it would be the last Hoya lead in the entire game and the last Georgetown field goal until there were less than two minutes to go in the half.

In the 10 minutes that followed, Georgetown missed six shots in a row. Its field-goal percentage would have been a lot worse if the Hoyas had not turned the ball over so much and prevented themselves from even getting a shot off. They turned the ball over 11 times in the half, and at one point during the dry spell the Hoyas went five straight possessions without shooting the ball.

Head Coach John Thompson III, however, said that he did not think the half was as similar to the one at BC, as the stats may have indicated.

“Unlike BC, tonight we were getting open shots,” he said. “The ball just didn’t go in. In that first half, we got what we wanted.”

Notre Dame did not shoot the ball particularly well itself in the half, with the exception of Chris Quinn. The junior guard is one of the best three-point shooters in the Big East with a shooting percentage of better than 50 percent from downtown in conference games. He made all three of his three-pointers in the half and scored 13 of his 18 points in the first twenty minutes. The Fighting Irish shot only 8-for-24 from the field in the half, but six of those eight field goals were threes.

“We allowed them to get some looks that if we’re going to win, we can’t let them get,” Thompson said.

The Hoyas came out with a lot more poise on offense in the second half. Freshman center Roy Hibbert had one of his most polished, aggressive games of the season and finished with a career-high 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting. He got Georgetown going with four quick points as part of a 9-2 run that cut the Irish’s lead to 32-26.

But Georgetown could get no closer than six during the rest of the half until it closed to five as the final seconds were ticking away. Notre Dame always had an answer, and in this instance, Quinn hit his fourth three of the game to push the lead back to nine.

In addition to its outside shooting, Notre Dame protected its lead from the free-throw line. The Irish went 18-for-20 from the line in the second half, led by senior guard Chris Thomas, who hit nine of 10 free throws on his way to a game-high 21 points.

“I thought we defended, especially in the first half, to really set the tone,” Brey said. “We did a really good job not giving up three-point shots at key times and I thought Chris Thomas and Chris Quinn really controlled the tempo of the game.”

Georgetown must rebound quickly to maintain its solid NCAA tournament position. Last night’s road loss to a quality opponent is not a huge setback, but a loss against St. John’s this Sunday at Madison Square Garden would be.

The undermanned Red Storm are only 3-9 in the Big East but have been a tough out all year, especially at home, where all of their conference wins have been. At the Garden on Wednesday they fell to West Virginia by just one point.

“It’s February, so it’s coming close to the later part of the season,” junior guard Brandon Bowman said. “You have to get Ws under your belt. Every game is a must win. All we can do from this is bounce back and get ready for St. John’s and play our game there.”

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