- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — With 11 minutes remaining, coach John Thompson III looked toward the Dunkin’ Donuts Center ceiling and saw the score tied. It was happening again: His Georgetown Hoyas were being outscrapped by an underdog.

So Thompson gathered his players, told them to calm down and made sure he had his four seniors on the floor.

Jonathan Wallace made three straight 3-pointers, Roy Hibbert blocked shots and Tyler Crawford and Patrick Ewing Jr. clamped down on defense, leading No. 12 Georgetown to a 68-58 victory over Providence in front of 11,689 unruly fans — a key victory against a desperate Big East opponent.

“I felt like we needed that group out there today,” Thompson said of his seniors, who combined for 42 points. “They are seniors, and they understand what time of year it is. They played with a sense of passion and a sense of urgency that was really fun to watch.”

Hibbert led Georgetown with 18 points, and Wallace added 14, making four of eight 3-pointers. Crawford and Ewing each had five points and contributed to Georgetown’s 23-6 edge in offensive rebounding, leading to a 27-1 advantage in second-chance points.

Hibbert had eight rebounds as part of Georgetown’s dominance in that category (43-26). The 7-foot-2 center also had six blocks and two steals as Georgetown’s defense held Friars leading scorer Jeff Xavier to three points on 1-for-4 shooting.

“Their size banged us around at important parts of the game,” Providence coach Tim Welsh said. “[We were] like the football team that is out on the field for long periods of time — it makes you tired.”

That dominance was what Thompson wanted to see from the beginning.

After a woeful loss at Syracuse on Saturday that dropped the Hoyas out of the top 10 for the first time in about a year, Georgetown (21-4, 11-3 Big East) needed a convincing win. Instead, the Hoyas played an up-and-down first half and trailed by one at halftime. They were down six before the seniors took over.

“I felt that we came out flat at the beginning of the second half, and we needed a boost of energy,” Thompson said. “We have been there before, and so there was no sense of panic. I just said, ‘Relax fellas. We have to get stops. We have to make shots. We have to start making make plays.’ The stars just aligned themselves in the second half.”

The victory ends a brutal four-game stretch for Georgetown, a run that included losses at Louisville and Syracuse and a narrow home win against Villanova.

“This is our senior season, and we want to end it on a good note,” said Ewing, who had a crowd-quieting slam in the second half. “We didn’t want to regret anything that we did, so we went out there and did what we had to do to win it.”

Georgetown remains tied for first in the Big East with Louisville (21-6, 11-3), which beat Syracuse last night.

“It’s going to be a scrap. It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to come down to the end,” Thompson said. “It was good to see us bounce back. That was a difficult loss [Saturday]. Just to scrap back and to fight back against a good team, it’s good.”

Hoyas report

Yesterday at Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.

SEEN AND HEARD

A ghoulish Friars mascot draped in a flowing white robe was flanked by two students in full-body, skintight spandex jumpsuits. Both wore cowboy hats and had front-row seats but didn’t get to see any of the game because of eye-covering outfits.

By the numbers

1997 Was the last time Georgetown won at Providence. The John Thompson Jr.-coached Hoyas, led by Victor Page and Ya-Ya Dia, beat the Friars 67-56 at Providence Civic Center.

1 Dunkin’ Donuts coffee concession stand at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

2004 Was the last time Providence made the NCAA tournament. The Friars probably will miss the tournament for the fourth consecutive season. The last time that happened was 1982.

Harlan Goode


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