UofL senior center David Padgett scored a season-high 18 points and dished out a team-high four assists to lead the Cardinals to a 59-51 win in front of 20,083 mostly white-clad fans - the fourth-largest crowd in history - at Freedom Hall.
"This is the best win I've experienced as a player," Padgett said. Padgett hit 5 of 8 shots from the field and 8 of 10 free throws in only 28 minutes of action and outplayed his counterpart, preseason All-American 7 -2 Georgetown center Roy Hibbert.
"David Padgett now, the last week, is 100 percent which means right now we've got one of the premiere big men in the country," UofL coach Rick Pitino said. "Padgett was great. He's a smart and terrific basketball player. I just love coaching him. It's one of the more enjoyable experiences in my coaching career, coaching him."
Saturday night at Freedom Hall.
Running its offense primarily through Padgett, UofL rallied from a 10- point second-half deficit to knock off the Big East-leading Hoyas (19-3, 9-2). When not running the pick-and-roll to near perfection with UofL guards, Padgett was passing to open teammates for jump shots.
"They're huge inside, but we really tried to play the same game we always do, inside-out," Padgett said.
"He can really pass the ball around the perimeter, he was tough to guard," said Hibbert, who had 14 points and four rebounds in 30 minutes.
Padgett also played a key role in helping hold the Hoyas to 34.8 percent shooting (8 of 23) in the second half and helping the Cards (18-6, 8-3) control the glass, 20-9, after intermission.
"In the second half we played defense like we're capable of playing," Padgett said.
Early on it was a game of runs.
After falling behind 4-2 UofL reeled off seven straight points. Padgett accounted for all seven with a three-point play, an assist to Clark for a dunk and two free throws as the Cards ran the pick and roll through their center.
The game continued its slow pace. UofL couldn't muster much offense and trailed 22-14 with 4:57 left in the first half. The Cards closed to within three, on Smith's three-pointer with 52 seconds remaining in the first 20 minutes. But Freeman scored five straight, including a buzzer-beating layup. He led Georgetown with 10 first-half points and finished with 14, to tie Hibbert for team-high honors.
The Hoyas shot 51.9 percent (14 of 27) in the opening stanza and turned 10 UofL turnovers into 11 points. Georgetown also outscored UofL 7-0 in second-chance points as the Hoyas outrebouded the Cards 15-9, including 4 -0 on the offensive end.
At halftime Pitino changed from the white suit he wore to start the game - to go along with the White Out crowd - to a more traditional black suit.
"I lied to (ESPN announcer) Erin Andrews, I said I spilled something on it," Pitino said. "But that wasn't the reason. The real reason was it was really hot. I haven't worn a linen suit since my first Communion and I forget how hot they were."
"Then it was all business," sophomore guard Edgar Sosa said.
Hibbert scored 32 seconds into the second half, then it was the Cards' turn to get down to business. Louisville limited the Hoyas to just five field goals over the next 18:16.
"In the second half we just went after their weaknesses and exploited them," sophomore guard Edgar Sosa said. "We tried to get after them a lot with the press."
Padgett began, and ended, and 11-0 Louisville run that saw the Cards go from two points down (37-35) to seven points ahead (44-37) midway through the second half.
The Hoyas closed to within 44-41 with 7:36 remaining on Hibbert's half- hook, but it was all Cards from there.
"It was a different game second half, they did a better job executing in the second half and we did an extremely poor job of executing in the second half," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They executed extremely well. It is a simple game we play and they executed and we didn't. It isn't anymore complex than that."
The Cards next travel to DePaul on Tuesday.