The following is a press release. For a transcript of John Thompson III's halftime, on-court interview, see our Premium Court message board.
Clark's 21 Points Lead Georgetown to 74-59 Win Over Belmont in NCAA Tourney
Columbus, Ohio - Senior guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) scored a game-high 21 points to lead three players in double figures as third-seeded Georgetown put three players in double figures and hit 61.2 percent of its field goals en route to a 74-59 win over No. 14 seed Belmont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional on Friday afternoon at Nationwide Arena.
The Hoyas improve to 24-8 overall with the win, while the Bruins finish the season with a 27-8 overall record. Georgetown advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and will face North Carolina State, 79-65 winners over San Diego State, on Sunday, March 18.
Clark hit 9-of-12 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 three-pointers, for 21 points with four assists and two steals, while senior center Henry Sims (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) added 15 points, five assists and four rebounds and freshman forward Otto Porter (Sikeston, Mo./Scott County Central) added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Georgetown hit 61.2 percent of its field goals (30-of-49), including 69.6 percent (16-of-23) in the second half, while limiting Belmont to only 38.9 percent shooting from the floor (21-of-54), including 37.0 percent from three-point land (10-of-27).
"It was so good to get that first game," Sims said. "But we didn't come here just to win one game."
They looked like the Georgetown of old, the fearsome teams led by Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning who could rattle an opponent simply by walking on the court. Hoya paranoia, they called it.
When Sims went out with his second foul, Georgetown coach John Thompson switched to a 2-3 zone, and with he and his assistants pointing and waving instructions, the Hoyas worked their tails off on defense. The Bruins couldn't handle it.
"Our defense has been - there's a guy floating around here somewhere," Thompson said, referring to his dad, John Sr., the Hoyas legendary coach. "You might need to ask him that question. Our defense has been old-school Georgetown defense for large chunks of this season."
After Belmont got within 58-49 on Drew Hanlen's 3-pointer with just under six minutes left, Georgetown went on a 12-2 run to end any doubt, taking a 70-51 lead on a three-point play from Porter with 3:10 to play in the game.
Georgetown led by nine points, 36-27, at the break after hitting 53.8 percent of their field goals in the opening 20 minutes and limiting Belmont to 38 percent shooting from the floor. A layup from junior forward Hollis Thompson (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) and a layup from Sims gave Georgetown its biggest lead of the game, 40-27, with 17:30 to play in the game. Belmont responded, using a 9-2 run over 2:29 to pull to within 42-36 on a tip-in from Blake Jenkins with 14:46 to play.
The Hoyas, however, calmly responded and used a 13-4 run over 4:41 to take a 55-40 lead on a layup from Clark, his second basket of the run, which included a basket from Sims and a dunk from freshman forward Greg Whittington (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills).
The Hoyas led throughout most of the first half, with Belmont's only advantage at 2-0 on a tip-in from Blake Jenkins at 19:21. A layup at 18:49 and a three-pointer at 18:03, both from Clark, gave Georgetown the lead for the remainder of the half.
A three-pointer from Belmont's Ian Clark gave the Bruins an 8-7 lead, but the Blue & Gray used a 16-4 run over a span of 6:53 and took a 23-12 lead on a conventional three-point play from Porter, who took a feed from sophomore forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks).
Georgetown maintained its three-point lead over the next six minutes, taking a 30-19 advantage on a three-pointer from Porter and taking their biggest lead of the half, 34-22, on a baseline jumper from the freshman with 1;47 to play before going into the break with a nine-point lead, 36-27.