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February 18, 2008

Hibbert helps lead Georgetown past Providence

Box score

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Georgetown was trailing Providence by six points in the second half and the Hoyas were facing a third loss in four games. Coach John Thompson III turned to his seniors and they turned things around in a hurry.

"I felt we came out flat in the second half and that we needed a boost of energy and that came from Patrick and Tyler," Thompson said after the 12th-ranked Hoyas rallied for a 65-58 victory over Providence on Monday. "There was no sense of panic since we've been there before. We started getting stops and started making plays."

Patrick Ewing Jr. and Tyler Crawford joined fellow seniors Roy Hibbert, who had 18 points inside, and Jonathan Wallace, who added 14 from the outside, on the court as Georgetown went on a 17-2 run to take control.

The Hoyas (21-4, 11-3 Big East) struggled against Providence's 2-3 zone for the opening half and first 5 minutes of the second half.

Then came the 3-point barrage led by Wallace as Georgetown hit five from behind the arc in a 17-2 run that gave the Hoyas a 52-43 lead.

Wallace, who missed three of his first four 3-point attempts, hit three 3s in the run, including two from almost the exact same spot on the court just to the left of the head of the key. The net barely moved on both baskets.

"We are aware of the situation and knew what we had to do," Wallace said. "Those two 3s I hit came off screens set by teammates who knew where they had to be for the play to get me open. That was a collective effort for what we needed to do."

Weyinmi Efejuku had 25 points for the Friars (13-13, 4-10), who have lost four straight - the last three to ranked teams - and eight of nine. Providence came into the game tied for 13th in the Big East and only the top 12 teams advance to next month's conference tournament.

"We battled and played very, very good defense but they make you work so hard," Providence coach Tim Welsh said. "They had 65 shots to our 47 and you just can't give them that many more opportunities. When we got the lead we were rebounding. You can't run if you're not rebounding the ball."

Providence came in allowing opponents to shoot 45 percent from the field, the 15th-worst figure in the 16-team conference. But the zone did its job for most of the game except for the run when Crawford and Jeremiah Rivers hit the two 3s in addition to Wallace's three long jumpers.

The Friars led 41-35 before the big run started but they went almost 8 minutes with one field goal. Brian McKenzie's 3-pointer ended Georgetown's run and made it 52-46 with 8:04 left.

Providence was within 54-49 on a 3 by Efejuku but the Hoyas scored six straight points, the last two on a fastbreak dunk after a steal by Ewing with 4:50 to go.

"We stress offensive rebounding a lot in practice," Ewing said of the Hoyas' 23 offensive rebounds. "The shots weren't falling but when we get second shots like that it doesn't matter."

Hibbert had eight rebounds for the Hoyas, who finished with a 43-26 advantage on the boards.

Wallace finished 4-for-8 from 3-point range and the Hoyas were 8-for-21 after starting 3-for-14.

"We were pretty to watch for stretches in the second half," Thompson said. "We played with a purpose and a sense of urgency and that came from the seniors. We scrapped back and fought to get in it."

McKenzie had 16 points for Providence, which was 8-for-17 on 3s led by Efejuku's 5-for-6, the only miss coming in the final seconds.

Providence finished 21-for-47 from the field (44.7 percent), well above the national-best 35.7 percent Georgetown allowed opponents to shoot entering the game.

For more coverage of Georgetown, visit HoyaReport.com.



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