NEW YORK — Good afternoon from Madison Square Garden. Follow along for updates before, during and after No. 13 Georgetown’s quarterfinal game against Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
UPDATE 7:01 p.m.: A shell-shocked Georgetown group postgame. Sure, the news will get better Sunday when the Hoyas will get a three or four seed in the NCAA tournament. But rebounding from an emotionally and physically draining game like today’s isn’t easy. How Georgetown responds in its NCAA opener will tell you a lot about this team.
Not much insight by Georgetown as to why the turnovers (12 after the first half) and missed free throws (Markel Starks missed the front end of two one-and-ones and Sims missed a pair in the first overtime) cropped up.
And having watched multiple replays of 3-point try from Sims at the end of the second overtime, it’s worth remembering that’s his first 3-point attempt of the season. As John Thompson III explained postgame, the Hoyas wanted to feed Hollis Thompson in the corner. But Cincinnati blanketed him and Jason Clark fed Sims. Thompson said the open shot was one Sims has made. But Sims hasn’t hit a 3-pointer since he was a freshman and is 2-for-16 from beyond the arc in his career.
“I mean, it would have been nice to make that last one, obviously,” Sims said. “But the first layup to put it into double-overtime I think obviously felt good. But I’d much rather have that shot at the end.”
UPDATE 5:01 p.m.: Sims’ long jumper at the buzzer rolls off and Cincinnati emerges with a 72-70 victory in double-overtime. Entertaining game, but loads of missed opportunities (along with free throws and turnovers) for the Hoyas. Off to the postgame.
UPDATE 4:47 p.m.: Drama aplenty here, as Sims goes to the hoop for a layup at the buzzer to force a second overtime period. That’s 18 points and 15 rebounds for Sims.
UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: And we’re off to overtime at the Garden tied up at 54.
UPDATE 4:11 p.m.: Big run by Cincinnati to make this a game again. Gates had a layup, then poked the ball away at midcourt and eventually got it back on an alley-oop to bring the Bearcats within three points with five minutes remaining.
UPDATE 4 p.m: Sims has 12 points and 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double for the second straight game and third time in his career. All three have come this season. The “Simsanity” sign in the Garden’s lower bowl is apt.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: Two critical shots from Markel Starks, including a long 3-pointer, boost Georgetown’s lead to seven points midway through the half. Starks, incidentally, hasn’t scored in double-digits since Feb. 12 and has 10 points over his last three games.
UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: Curious decision to tag Otto Porter with a flagrant foul after what appeared, at least from my seat courtside, to be a minor collision with Sean Kilpatrick with 16:48 left. But the officiating staff reviewed the play on a courtside television before upgrading the foul to a flagrant.
Kilpatrick hit both free throws, then JaQuon Parker sliced through the lane for a layup to cut Georgetown’s advantage to 36-35.
UPDATE 3:20 p.m.: Halftime at the Garden and Georgetown leads Cincinnati, 30-24. A few thoughts:
— A much more aggressive Hollis Thompson showed up today. He has eight points on 3-for-8 shooting and is taking the ball to the basket and following others’ shots. You don’t always see him do those things. A good sign for the Hoyas.
— At Wednesday’s postgame press conference, someone asked John Thompson III (in jest, we think) who was No. 14. That was after Henry Sims’ 20 points and 13 rebounds that showed the conference he’s a different player than his first three seasons. Well, Sims continued the surge in the first half today. He delivered eight points and five rebounds without a foul against Yancy Gates, one of the conference’s toughest big men.
— A big number: Georgetown has seven points off turnovers. Cincinnati has none. In fact, Georgetown has turned the ball over just twice. Quite a change from the 17 miscues in January’s game with the Bearcats.
UPDATE: 3:10 p.m.: Cincinnati uber-fan Nick Lachey is on hand, sitting behind the school’s cheerleaders. Georgetown has Jeff Green behind its bench for the second straight game.
UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: Impressed by Henry Sims. Hit a tough turn-around jumper in the post that barely made the net move and another jumper from the free throw line. Sims has all the physical gifts. And the senior’s game has been catching up to those gifts all season. He’s a tough matchup today.
UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: For those interested, Georgetown is the lead story on ESPN.com at the moment, under the headline “Ready to bite back.”
UPDATE: 2:38 p.m.: Five minutes in, Hollis Thompson is already more active on the offensive end than he was against Pittsburgh. That includes a 3-pointer to give Georgetown a 6-5 lead.
In January’s meeting with Cincinnati, Thompson scored 14 points in the first half, then disappeared in the second when he attempted just one shot.
UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.: Georgetown goes with its now-normal starting five: Henry Sims, Nate Lubick, Hollis Thompson, Otto Porter and Jason Clark. This is Porter’s fifth straight start in place of guard Markel Starks.
UPDATE: 2:27 p.m.: Cincinnati’s socks are, well, blinding. Blaze orange, with black high-tops and the same orange laces. Interesting fashion statement.
UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Here’s my story off Georgetown’s win over Pittsburgh Wednesday, where freshman Otto Porter delivered 20 points. That compensated for the offensive disappearance of Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson, who combined to hit just one field goal.
Big man Henry Sims added 20 points and 13 rebounds in the game, perhaps his best performance of the season (Georgetown’s emailed release on the game was entitled “Simsanity”). That came against Pittsburgh’s undersized frontcourt. Today’s matchup against Cincinnati’s talented forward, Yancy Gates, provides a different level of challenge.
After beating Pittsburgh, I was struck by how quiet Georgetown’s locker room (normally occupied by the Knicks and Rangers) was. No hooting. No celebration. It was businesslike. Methodical. We’ll see in a few minutes if that adds up to anything on the court.
Regardless, this postseason is off to a markedly different start than last season’s two-and-done disaster.
UPDATE 2 p.m.: The nail-biter between UConn and Syracuse is a few minutes from wrapping up. So, the Georgetown-Cincinnati tipoff will come around 2:30 p.m. or a bit later.