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Georgetown Outlasts Tennessee, 37-36, in SEC/BIG EAST Challenge
WASHINGTON - After the No. 20 Georgetown University men's basketball team out-lasted Tennessee, 37-36, in front of 13,656 fans at Verizon Center on Friday night, Hoyas Head Coach John Thompson III said he had never been a part of a game like that in his career. Later in his post-game press conference, he said that he had, but it was in eighth grade.
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And in both cases, his team won. The SEC-BIG EAST Challenge game on Friday night at Verizon Center wasn't a thing of beauty, but it was a Hoya win.
Sophomores Greg Whittington (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills), Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) and Otto Porter (Morley, Mo./Scott Country Central) led Georgetown to the hard-fought victory, scoring eight points apiece.
The 37 points scored by the Hoyas were the fewest under Thompson III, eclipsing the previous low of 46, set in a 46-45 win over Temple during the 2009-10 season.
It was the first the Hoyas won and scored less than 40 points since the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1984, when Georgetown beat Southern Methodist by the exact same score. The 36 points scored by Tennessee were the fewest allowed by a Georgetown team under Thompson since beating The Citadel, 69-34, during the 2004-05 season.
The closing minutes of the game kept viewers on the edge of their seats, as a missed three-pointer from Tennessee's Skylar McBee was off the mark with five seconds left. The rebound bounced off a Georgetown player, giving the Vols one more shot with time winding down and another three, this one from Jordan McRae, bounced off the rim and was rebounded by Whittington as the Hoyas held on for the win.
Trailing at the half, 18-16, baskets from Hopkins and sophomore guard Jabril Trawick (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) gave GU a 20-18 lead. Aided by four steals over the opening four minutes of the second half, the Hoyas used layups from Whittington and Porter to take a 24-20 at 16:11. A three-pointer from Trawick at 15:00 capped an 11-2 run over the first five minutes and pushed the Hoya lead to seven points, 27-20.
A layup from junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) gave the Hoyas their biggest lead of the second half, 31-23, but Tennessee responded with a 9-0 run over 3:55 and took a 32-31 lead on a three-pointer from McBee with 8:15 to play.
It was short-lived, as Porter hit a layup to give the Hoyas the lead back, 33-32, with 7:55 left. The lead would change four more times over the next three minutes, with a jumper from Starks at 4:10 giving the Hoyas a 37-36 lead.
Those would be the last points of the game, with Georgetown missing three shots and turning the ball over three times in the final 4:10 and Tennessee missing three shots - two of them in the final five seconds - and turning the ball over three times.
The Hoyas won the opening tip, but Tennessee scored the game's first basket, a layup from Trae Golden. Georgetown's first basket, a Hopkins jumper at 16:51 tied the game, and the Hoyas took a 4-2 lead on a Whittington layup at 15;41. GU led the first half right up until the final seconds, when Golden hit a banked jumper at the buzzer, giving the Vols an 18-16 lead.
Georgetown shot 36.4 percent from the floor (16-of-44), hit only one three-point field goal (1-of-7) and was only 44.4 percent from the free throw line (4-of-9), with no free throws taken in the second half. Tennessee held a 37-29 advantage on the glass, while the Hoyas had 11 assists, nine turnovers, four blocks and nine steals.
Georgetown is back in action on Tuesday, Dec. 4, playing Texas at Madison Square Garden in New York City in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic. Tip-off time at the World's Most Famous Arena is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be shown live on ESPN.