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No. 15 Georgetown Falls to Marquette in BIG EAST Opener, 49-48
Milwaukee, Wis. - The Georgetown men's basketball team returned to the floor for the first time in two weeks to open BIG EAST Conference play and had a chance in the final seconds, but could not connect as Marquette escaped Bradley Center with a 49-48 win over the Hoyas.
The Hoyas had a seven-game win streak come to an end and fall to 10-2 overall and 0-1 in the BIG EAST, while Marquette improves to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) scored 18 points and had a career-high seven assists to lead the Hoyas, while sophomore forward Greg Whittington (Columbia, Md./ Oakland Mills) had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists and sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./ Scott County Central) added 13 points and five rebounds.
The Hoyas had hit only three field goals in the opening 13 minutes of the game, but warmed up late in the first half and took an early second half lead. A three-pointer from Starks at 7:36 tied the game at 42-all, but Vander Blue responded with a three of his own, giving MU a 45-42 lead.
Free throws from Porter Jr. with 3:36 left pulled GU to within 45-44 and after Davante Gardner hit one of two free throws, a driving layup from Starks at 2:11 tied the game at 46-all. Gardner hit one of two free throws with 2:01 left to give MU a 47-46 lead and the Hoyas had a chance in the final minute but could not connect.
After Gardner hit two more free throws with 8.3 seconds left, Whittington was fouled while taking a last second three from the corner with 2.3 seconds
After trailing through much of the first half, the Hoyas used a 13-7 run late to cut the lead to one point and took the lead - their first since the first basket of the game - on a pair of free throws from Starks at the 18:55 mark. Starks scored the first seven points of the second half for the Hoyas and a three-pointer at 17:03 tied the game at 26-all.
There was only one tie and one lead change in the first half, but the lead changed hands four times and the game was tied three times in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The Golden Eagles pushed the lead to 32-27 on free throws from Davante Garner, but baskets from Porter Jr., Whittington and Starks pulled the Hoyas to within 34-33 and a three from Porter Jr. tied the game at 36-all.
Marquette pushed the lead to 40-36 on a jumper from Jamil Wilson, but three-pointers from Whittington (8:36) and Starks (7:38) tied the game at 42-all, setting up the tense final minutes.
The first half was difficult for the Hoyas, who struggled shooting in the opening 13 minutes, hitting only three of their first 17 shots (17.6%). Still, after a jumper from sophomore center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./ DeMatha), GU trailed by only two points, 8-6, at the 9:30 mark.
Georgetown's trademark defense was present, as the team forced Marquette into 25.9 percent shooting (7-of-27) during the opening 20 minutes. After a three-pointer from Vander Blue gave the Golden Eagles their biggest lead of the half, 13-6, at the 7:28 mark, the Hoyas began to warm up. A layup from Hopkins at 6:36 was the team's first field goal in nearly three minutes and a jumper from Porter Jr. made it 13-10.
Those baskets were the start of a 13-7 run over the final 6:36 as the Hoyas pulled to within one point, 20-19, on a Whittington three-pointer at the buzzer. After three field goals in the opening 13-plus minutes, the Hoyas were 6-of-9 (66.7%) in the final 6:36.
Georgetown is back home on Tuesday, Jan. 8, hosting Pittsburgh in its BIG EAST Conference home opener. Tipoff at Verizon Center is slated for 9 p.mm. The game will be shown live on ESPNU, with Adam Amin and Tim Welsh calling all the action. It can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.