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No. 15 Georgetown Wins Seventh Straight, Beats Cincinnati, 62-55
WASHINGTON - Georgetown opened up a 12-point lead early in the second half only to see it evaporate, but junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) hit a three-pointer from the corner to break a 51-all tie and the 15th-ranked Hoyas hit eight of 10 free throws in the final 3:35 to score an important BIG EAST Conference road win, beating Cincinnati, 62-55, at Fifth Third Arena Friday night.
It was the seventh-straight win for the Hoyas, who improve to 19-4 overall and 9-3 in the BIG EAST. The seven-game win streak is the longest for Georgetown against BIG EAST opponents since the 2006-07 team won 11 in a row. Cincinnati falls to 19-7 overall and 7-6 in the league.
Starks finished with a game-high 17 points and three assists, while sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./Scott County Central) scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./Oak Hill) scored 14 points, had four rebounds and two assists. Junior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks) scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists and sophomore center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) chipped in four points and four rebounds before fouling out.
Georgetown had opened up a 12-point lead early in the second half (43-31) and saw the Bearcats race back to take a 51-50 lead, but it was short-lived as Starks hit 1-of-2 free throws with 6:24 left to tie the game and then nailed a three-pointer from the corner to give the Hoyas a 54-51 lead with 5:36 to play.
A free throw from Smith-Rivera gave GU a 55-53 lead and two more shots from the charity stripe from Porter Jr., who was 7-of-7 from the line, pushed the lead to 57-53 with 1:16 left. Starks hit 1-of-2 with 47 seconds left to make it 58-53 and then added two more to push the lead to 60-53 with 31 seconds left. After a layup from Cashmere Wright made it 60-55, Starks hit two more with 21 seconds left to close out the win.
The Hoyas had opened the second half with a six point and pushed it to eight, 33-25, on free throws from Hopkins in the opening 30 seconds, but Cincinnati used a 6-2 spurt and cut the lead to 35-31 on free throws from Chekh Mbodj at the 18:06 mark. Georgetown responded with eight-straight points, using an 8-0 run over 2:06 to open its biggest lead, 43-31, on a jumper from Lubick at the 15:17 mark.
Leading by 12 points, 43-31, Cincinnati would go on a 14-4 run over 5:34 and pulled to within two points, 47-45, on a three-pointer from JaQuon Parker with 9:25 left to play. Porter Jr. quieted the crowd with a three-pointer to push the Hoya lead back to five points, 50-45, but a 6-0 response gave the Bearcats their first lead since the opening minutes of the game on a jumper from Parker.
The Hoyas jumped out to a six-point lead at halftime (31-25), connecting on 46.2 percent of their field goals (12-of-26) while limiting the Bearcats to 30.8 percent shooting (8-of-26) and holding a slight edge on the glass (18-17). The teams struggled from the field out of the gate, hitting only one of seven field goal attempts apiece over the first four-plus minutes, with UC holding a 3-2 lead and the only GU basket a layup from Hopkins at the 15:52 mark. Trailing 4-2, the Hoyas went on a 9-3 run over 3:01 and opened a four-point lead, 11-7, capped by a three-point play from Porter Jr.
The Hoya lead was still four points (17-13) after a driving layup from Starks at the 8 minute mark and the Blue & Gray would use an 8-3 spurt over 2:31 to extend the lead to eight points, 25-17, on a layup from Lubick at the 4:35 mark. GU took its biggest lead, 29-20, on free throws from Smith-Rivera, who scored nine points in the half, with 2:18 to play. A layup from the freshman gave GU a 31-23 lead with 32 seconds but JaQuon Parker's layup with one second left made it a six-point game.
Georgetown returns home to play BIG EAST Conference rival DePaul on Thursday, Feb. 20 at Verizon Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on MASN, with Mike Corey and Bob Wenzel calling all of the action, and it can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.