CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – They just dug themselves too big of a hole.

Georgetown played some of its worst basketball of the season against one of the toughest teams on its schedule. After a terrible first half, the Hoyas (5-3, 13-6) could not rally back Saturday night against the still undefeated Boston College Eagles (7-0, 18-0) and fell 64-49 before a sellout crowd of 8,606 at Conte Forum.

The first half was the ugliest basketball played this season. In a battle between two of the top three teams in the Big East, neither team played up to its record. Georgetown scored only 12 points in the half, just one point more than the Big East record low of 11 set by Providence two years ago.

Junior guard Ashanti Cook drilled a long three on Georgetown’s first possession of the game. The 3-0 score would be the only time Georgetown led all game. The bucket would also be the last Hoya field goal for more than 15 minutes.

A free throw by freshman center Roy Hibbert at 16:57 was Georgetown’s only point during the tremendous dry spell. The Hoyas missed 12 straight shots and turned the ball over 10 times in what was by far their worst stretch of basketball so far this season.

“You have to give credit to them. They’re a very good team,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “But at the same time, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. We were not executing. Fourteen turnovers in a half are too many. The points we did get, we stumbled into them. It wasn’t because of our offense.”

With a chance to really put the Hoyas away, the then-No. 8 Eagles also struggled in the first half. They shot only 10-24 from the field and 0-4 from behind the three-point line.

Only the play of standout junior forward Craig Smith allowed the Eagles to build a lead. He scored 10 points on 5-10 shooting on his way to a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds. BC led 24-12 going into the locker room.

The Hoyas were able to make a game of it in the second half. Their offense finally began to have to some flow and they began to get easy baskets on cuts to the hoop.

Consecutive layups by junior guard Brandon Bowman and freshman swingman Tyler Crawford capped off an 8-0 GU run and closed the gap to 36-30 with 11 minutes to play.

Twice after that Georgetown would get within five points and have the ball with a chance to get even closer, but neither time could it convert. Trailing 42-37, freshman forward Jeff Green air-balled a shot at 5:49 after being smothered on defense. Georgetown never got that close for the rest of the game.

“I thought we got the stops we needed to that allowed us to maintain the lead,” Boston College Head Coach Al Skinner said.

If Georgetown has lived and died with its freshman all year, Saturday was no exception. Its three freshman starters – Hibbert, Green and guard Jonathan Wallace -played their worst games of the season. Green had just five points – 10 below his season average – and five turnovers. The struggling Wallace went scoreless, missing all three of his shots from the floor. After serving as a key spark for the Hoyas in the early part of the conference season, he has scored just eight total points in Georgetown’s last three games.

“It was a night when a couple of the freshman had freshman nights,” Thompson said.

The loss to the Big East’s top team does not really signal a setback for Georgetown as much as a lost opportunity to firmly put themselves among the top teams in the conference.

It puts more pressure on the young Hoyas to take care of business in games in which they will be favored, starting with this Wednesday when they play host to Seton Hall at MCI Center at 8 p.m.

BC, meanwhile, moved into sole possession of first place in the league after Syracuse fell at Pittsburgh Saturday. The Eagles continue to generate more and more buzz about the possibility of running through the regular season undefeated.

“The most important thing is the success we have in our league,” Skinner said. “18-0 is fine, but 7-0 makes a statement in this league.”

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