The Georgetown players came back to a hero’s welcome late last Saturday night.
And deservedly so after knocking off long time rivals Syracuse in perhaps their last ever trip to the Carrier Dome.
All that being said, Coach John Thompson III didn’t want a February regular season win, no matter how important, to define his team.
In talking with the media Tuesday afternoon, he felt good about his group, which has responded nicely after an 0-2 start in the Big East, to stay the course and continue playing well as a team.
He also admitted that he wouldn’t know for sure until they hit the court again.
Well, they hit the court again on Wednesday night and, even though it got crazy and perhaps a bit uncomfortable, the Hoyas kept on rolling amid all of their new found attention.
Otto Porter Jr scored the game winning layup with 9.5 seconds remaining in double overtime as No. 7 Georgetown defeated Connecticut 79-78 for the first time at Gampel Pavailion on Wednesday night.
Porter Jr scored 21 of his team-high 22 points after halftime as the Hoyas won their tenth game Big East game in a row, their longest streak since the 2006-07 season.
Georgetown (22-4, 12-3) scored the game’s final eight points over the the last 1:49 to erase a 78-71 deficit and remain alone in first place in the conference. Georgetown last won the Big East in 2008.
“That was a hell of a basketball game right there,” Thompson III told UConnhuskies.com after watching both teams battle back and forth.
“The guys in the other locker room, they could have cashed it in. They fought and fought and fought. We had our chances to end it. We didn’t. Then we could have cashed it in. We fought and fought and fought.”
Georgetown seemed in total control after taking a 60-48 lead on Porter Jr’s two free throws with 4:36 remaining.
Then, things changed.
Connecticut (19-8, 9-6) responded with a 7-0 run led by DeAndre Daniels.
Daniels scored a game-high 25 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
D’vauntes Smith-Rivera (14 points) forced a turnover and then hit the layup to increase the Hoyas lead to 62-57 but even with 1:08 remaining, it wasn’t enough
Nate Lubick (nine rebounds, seven rebounds, six assists) was called for a moving screen and then after an Omar Calhoun layup, Markel Starks (19 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one. Calhoun responded with a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to force the first extra session.
“That’s not a good win, it’s was a great win,” Thompson III said.
If it was a great win, it wasn’t a great, or even good first half.
Connecticut took a 22-19 advantage into the locker room after holding Georgetown to 28.6 percent shooting. The Huskies didn’t fare much better by hitting 34.6 percent from the field. Both teams combined for more turnovers (18) than made field goals (15).
Whatever was said in the halftime speeches, needed to be said about an hour earlier as both teams were red hot.
“It turned into a shootout [in the second half]. Let’s see who can make the most threes. It felt like they were making two for every one of ours.”
Georgetown made eight of its first nine three-pointers, and they were coming from everywhere.
Jabril Trawick, Smith-Rivera, Starks, and perhaps most importantly Porter Jr all connected from deep as the Hoyas finished 11-of-20 for the game.
Porter Jr attempted just one first half field and scored one point a game after recording a career-high 33. Getting the favorite for conference player of the year involved in the offense was certaintly a point of emphasis.
“In the second half I think we got more movement,” Thompson III said.
“On top of everything else, we did a better job of getting [Otto Porter] the ball. Coming down at the end, it was “let’s get a stop and then let’s get it to Otto and go.”
Notes: Four Hoyas played more than 40 minutes on Wednesday night. Lubick (40 minutes), Trawick (44), Starks (49), Porter Jr (49). Georgetown improved to 1-3 at Gampel Pavilioin. Georgetown is now 1-1 in overtime games this season. Connecticut fell to 4-2 in games decided in extra sessions. Georgetown is now 12-12 all-time on the road against Connecticut.
Up Next: Georgetown welcomes Rutgers to the Verizon Center on Saturday night for a rare 9 PM tip-off. The Hoyas defeated the Scarlet Knights 69-63 earlier this season. The Hoyas are 12-1 against Rutgers at home.