- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2010

NEW YORK | Georgetown guard Chris Wright had a Big East tournament to remember, even if the memories might not always be so kind.

The junior scored 27 points in the No. 22 Hoyas’ quarterfinal victory over Syracuse, riddled overmatched Marquette in the semifinals, then had 20 points and seven assists in a 60-58 loss to seventh-ranked West Virginia in Saturday night’s championship game.

Overshadowed all season by Greg Monroe and Austin Freeman, it was Wright who was in the spotlight in the final minutes. He scored on a spinning layup following a pair of free throws by Da’Sean Butler with 17.4 seconds remaining, then had the ball in his hands again after Butler managed to force in a go-ahead field goal with 4.2 seconds left.

Wright took the inbound pass, raced up court and tossed a desperation layup toward the backboard as he crashed to floor at the feet of the Georgetown cheerleaders. The shot never had a chance, and Wright lay there as the Mountaineers raced onto the court to celebrate.

“I was just thinking to get to the basket, try to finish, get a layup,” Wright said later in a disconsolate Georgetown locker room. “I had time on the clock, I wasn’t thinking about a pull-up or anything — just get to the basket.”

Wright struggled with his shot early against the Mountaineers, but he finally found his stroke in the second half and then provided several key assists as Georgetown rallied from a 50-41 deficit with 7:28 to play.

His feed to Freeman with 6 minutes to go set up a 3-pointer that trimmed the lead to 50-47, and another assist to Freeman with 53 seconds left set up another 3 that tied it 56-all.

It was on West Virginia’s ensuing possession that Wright made perhaps his biggest mistake of a mostly error-free tournament. After a missed shot by Butler, the Mountaineers’ Joe Mazzulla corralled the ball and brought it to the top of the key. Wright fouled him 30 feet from the basket with 27.6 seconds remaining, unaware that the game was still tied.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III screamed at Wright, “What are you doing!” Wright pointed up to the game clock, still apparently confused, before Freeman came up to him and said, “It’s a tie game!”

“I just made a mistake,” Wright said.

It wasn’t the defining moment of the game, though, and it shouldn’t be the defining moment of his week at Madison Square Garden.

Wright averaged 19.3 points while joining Monroe on the all-tournament team, and passed out 19 assists over the course of four games.

“I’m not thinking about all that,” Wright said. “We just lost to a tough West Virginia team. I’m just upset that we lost.”

Wright has become increasingly important for the Hoyas (23-10), providing a nice backcourt complement to Freeman and someone who can help take the scoring pressure off Monroe, who was double- and triple-teamed inside by West Virginia (27-6) most of the game.

Monroe finished with only 11 points in his quietest game of the tournament.

“They were denying real hard,” Monroe said. “They were making it very difficult for me to get the ball in the post, they were sending extra help topside, so they were making it very hard for me to score and get the ball.”

Monroe was joined by Freeman and Wright on the dais following the game, all three of them struggling to find words. After a tremendous run through the Big East ringer, which took them from the NCAA tournament bubble to the precipice of a championship, they are left to pick up the pieces before learning Sunday who they will play next week.

From the dejected look on their faces, that won’t be an easy task.

“This group, we know we can play with anyone. We didn’t learn that coming out of this tournament, we knew that,” Thompson said. “Get over this quickly and move on. It’s March, and we are extremely disappointed, but this too shall pass, and we need to move on.”

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