Hoyas Surge into First Place With Road Win
Top Cincinnati for First Time in Five Tries
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 16:02
The Georgetown men’s basketball team didn’t play anything close to a perfect game at Cincinnati Friday night. Luckily for the Hoyas, neither did their opponents.
No. 15 Georgetown (19-4, 9-3 Big East) secured sole possession of first place in the conference with a tough 62-55 victory at Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6 Big East), extending its win streak to seven games and breaking a four-game slide against the Bearcats.
Junior guard Markel Starks led the way for the Hoyas with 17 points, including a clutch three-pointer that stifled a Cincinnati run with less than six minutes to play. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. added 16 and seven rebounds despite playing much of the game in foul trouble.
The Blue and Gray looked doomed from the start Friday night. Facing a tough Cincinnati team in the hostile Fifth Third Arena, the Hoyas got in foul trouble early on and couldn’t maintain a big lead despite sloppy play and a barrage of missed free throws from their opponents.
Sophomore center Mikael Hopkins traveled while attempting to secure a rebound late in the first half, returning possession to Cincinnati with one second left on the clock and Georgetown up eight. The Bearcats scored on an inbounds play just before time expired, and the momentum seemed to be squarely in their favor heading into the second frame.
Against all odds, the Hoyas managed to hold off their hosts for much of the second frame, even extending their lead to 12 points five minutes into the half. The Bearcats battled back to within two points midway through the half — largely through dominating Georgetown on the offensive glass — only to watch Porter Jr. knock down a three-pointer and stop the bleeding.
But when Porter Jr. picked up his fourth foul with under eight minutes left, Cincinnati saw an opportunity and took advantage immediately: A jumper from senior guard JaQuon Parker capped a 13-3 run and gave the Bearcats their first lead since early in the first half.
With the winning streak on the line, their star on the bench and the entire frontcourt in foul trouble, the Hoyas were in dire need of a savior. They found one in Starks, who hit a free throw and a near-impossible step-back trey with two men in his face to hold off a Cincinnati run until Porter Jr. returned.
A parade of free throws and some big defensive stops sealed the victory for the Blue and Gray, who hadn’t beaten the Bearcats since March 2010.
Georgetown will return home Wednesday and look to defend its first-place status against lowly DePaul, which hasn’t won a game since Jan. 5. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.