MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Before today’s game against No. 21 Marquette, sophomore forward DaJuan Summers told Head Coach John Thompson III that Georgetown needed to win this game for the seniors.

Fourth-year point guard Jonathan Wallace made sure that the No. 11 Hoyas did just that in a thrilling come-from-behind, overtime victory of 70-68, at Marquette’s Bradley Center. It was fitting that Wallace was the one to end up with the ball in his hands as the final buzzer sounded because the Hoyas’ floor leader almost singlehandedly put Georgetown (24-4, 14-3 Big East) in the position to win.

Wallace’s astonishing run began with three-and-a-half minutes left in the second half on a layup that gave Georgetown the lead for the first time in over 33 minutes.

Then on the Hoyas’ last possession of regulation, with the score 63-60 in the Golden Eagles’ favor, Marquette’s junior guard Dominic James fouled Wallace on a three-point attempt. After Wallace made the first two, Marquette called a time out, giving the full house of fans a chance to rile themselves up for Georgetown’s only chance at staying alive.

But Wallace is not just the Alabama Rainmaker. According to fellow senior Roy Hibbert, when Wallace is at the line, he is cold as ice.

His third free throw bounced vertically off of the rim and briefly looked like it would not go in – but it did.

“I just knew I had to make the free throws,” Wallace said. “I knew what was at stake. There was no second guessing about it. I just started looking up.”

Wallace and the big man Hibbert finished with 20 points each.

“This group of guys didn’t want to lose and didn’t want to quit,” Thompson said. “We could have packed it in at several points during the game, but this group is a little too resilient for that.”

The Hoyas tied the score to bring the game to overtime, where Wallace continued to deliver. After Marquette got out to a three-point lead, 66-63, on free throws, the Alabama Rainmaker nailed a three, hardly even squaring up to spot the shot, to tie it up. He followed that with a beautiful lateral pass that hooked around his defender and into the hands of Summers, who was fouled on his layup attempt and made his subsequent two foul shots.

Finally, Wallace found himself at the stripe again in the final moments of overtime, needing to pad Georgetown’s 69-68 lead. Although he missed his very last free throw, Wallace had already done more than enough for the win. Junior guard Jessie Sapp’s steal in the final second made the 70-68 score official.

Before heading off the court, Hibbert turned to the Marquette student section and popped his jersey.

The loss left Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean “extremely disappointed” for his players. The Golden Eagles (21-7, 11-6) kept the Hoyas on their toes all afternoon with their transition game, scoring 26 points off of turnovers and 16 on fast breaks.

The Golden Eagles, who are 11th in the nation and tops in the Big East in steals, had been ruthless on defense, slipping a hand in on someone’s dribble or getting in the middle of a pass to steal the ball 15 times. In all, the Hoyas turned the ball over 21 times, tying their season high.

When asked how he felt about the defeat, Marquette junior guard Wesley Matthews immediately responded, “It hurt.”

“We played our hearts out. We played with passion, we played with emotion, we played confident,” continued Matthews, who put up 22 points and three assists.

“They are a good team. They aren’t ranked No. 1 in our conference for any reason. Being No. 1 in this conference is an accomplishment. We were expecting them to make their run, and they did. We were steady for a while, but we just didn’t make enough plays. The ball didn’t bounce our way enough.”

Indeed, the ball caromed off the rim and out of the basket too many times for Marquette in the second half, as they made only 25.9 percent of their shots in the period. The Golden Eagles also missed 4-of-5 field-goal attempts in overtime.

Free-throw shooting was also a problem for Marquette, as the Golden Eagles missed three charity shots that could have put the game out of reach for the Hoyas. In addition, Marquette only made 3-of-10 free throws in the first half.

Georgetown, meanwhile, improved their shooting percentage from .385 in the first half to an impressive .611 clip in the second.

The Hoyas also started to show that they can handle the full-court press. Marquette used the defense whenever the score was close and at times caused the Hoyas to lose control of the ball, throw misjudged passes out of bounds or run out the shot clock. At the most important moments, however, like when Wallace scored a layup to tie the game with 3:32 left in the second half, Georgetown was able to come through.

In addition, the Hoyas broke the press in the play that resulted in Wallace’s final free throws in overtime, as Sapp inbounded the ball to freshman guard Austin Freeman over the heads of Marquette’s defenders, got in position to receive a return pass and passed it ahead to Wallace.

To put the icing on the cake, Georgetown out-rebounded Marquette 39 to 37. The 14 boards that DaJuan Summers grabbed are the most that a Hoya has tallied in a single game all year, even leaving out the one that he got in overtime.

With the end of a tough conference schedule approaching and the beginning of the postseason imminent, Georgetown’s win will be a big confidence builder, as road wins have been hard to come by in this league. In beating the Golden Eagles, the Hoyas earned a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament.

And despite the team’s disappointment, Marquette found a motivating factor in the close score.

“We feel that that was our win,” Matthews said. “When you leave it all on the floor and you still come up short, that’s a hard thing to deal with. . We’re gonna use this game as fuel and drive it all the way into March.”

Free Throws:

– Freshman guard Austin Freeman did not start against Marquette because he rolled his ankle yesterday in practice. He ended up putting in 21 minutes today, finishing with five points.

– Georgetown held Marquette to nine points below their season scoring average of 77 points.

– Three players for Marquette finished with double-digit points. In addition to Matthews, junior guard Dominic James had 15 points, while star Jerel McNeal, also a junior guard, finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, six steals and six assists.

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