Georgetown too much for Cards

Louisville (18-10, 9-6) played a terrific first half, building a six point lead at half time. But No. 11 Georgetown overpowered the Cardinals in the second half on their way to a 70-60 victory Tuesday night in Freedom Hall.

It was a tale of two halves Tuesday night for the University of Louisville.

The first half was nearly flawless. The second half was forgettable.

The result was a 70-60 victory for 11th-ranked Georgetown over the Cardinals in front of 19,917 fans, and an ESPN2 television audience, in the second-to-last game at Freedom Hall.

"We played a perfect first half and they played a perfect second half and they prevailed because of their shot-making ability," UofL coach Rick Pitino said. "You have to give a lot of credit to them. We did everything we wanted to do in the first half and they did everything they wanted in the second half and that was the difference in the game."

Georgetown junior guard Austin Freeman, who almost single-handedly outscored the Cards in the second half, was especially. The 6-foot-3 Freeman scored 24 points after intermission (to UofL's 25), including 15 in a second-half starting 21-2 run by the Hoyas.

"After the first half we got a little relaxed going into the second half, and (then) they made some tough shots and got back into the game," said sophomore center Samardo Samuels, who scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 36 minutes.

While Freeman did most of his damage from the outside, hitting 5 of 6 three-pointers, Greg Monroe did his on the inside. The 6-11 sophomore center outplayed Samuels, scoring 16 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out five assists for Georgetown (19-7, 9-6).

Senior guard Edgar Sosa scored a team-high 24 points, and dished out eight assists, for the Cards (18-10, 9-6).

Louisville raced out to a 9-2 lead behind Sosa and Reginald Delk. Delk's second three-pointer of the game gave the Cards their largest lead, 16-5, 6 minutes and 22 seconds into the action.

The Hoyas, however, responded with a 10-2 run to get back into it.

Still UofL had a 35-29 lead at halftime thanks to 13 points and six assists from Sosa and 11 points from Delk. The Cards shot 48 percent (12 for 25) in the first half and had only four turnovers, but they managed only two offensive rebounds.

The second half was all Georgetown, especially Freeman. The team's leading scorer, who entered averaging 17 points per game, erased the Hoyas' halftime deficit all by himself - with a pair of threes sandwiched around a rebound basket - in the first 1:40 of the second half.

"I think it was the second play of the second half, when he scored off an offensive rebound, which kind of got him going, which was an understatement," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.

Sosa's drive and layup ended Freeman's solo spurt at the 17:38 mark, however the Hoyas reeled off 13 more points in a row, capped off by (surprise!) a Freeman three-pointer.

He hit another - his fourth of the half - moments later following a Sosa free throw to give Georgetown a 53-38 lead.

UofL had just one field goal in the first 10:19 of the second half.

"We probably played as bad as we have all year in the second half," senior guard Jerry Smith said.

"We were just getting stops," Thompson said. "They missed some shots, I think Samardo missed some shots he's probably not going to miss again in his life."

The Cards went nearly eight minutes in between Sosa's layup and Samuels' half-hook with 9:40 to play. Sosa and reserve Rakeem Buckles followed that with field goals to cut Georgetown's lead to single digits (53-44), but Jason Clark hit a three to squelch the Cards' surge.

Smith's three-point play trimmed the Hoyas lead to 60-49, but Freeman's four-point play with 3:50 remaining - which sent some fans scurrying for the exits - pushed Georgetown's lead back to 15 (64-49).

Smith and Sosa hit back-to-back threes to pull UofL within 64-57 with 1:57 to play, but that as close as the Cards would get.

Georgetown, which entered the game third nationally in field goal percentage (.500), shot 59.1 percent (13 of 22) in the second half and 46.9 percent for the game.

Meanwhile UofL shot 40 percent (10 for 25) in the second half and 44 percent for the game, and once again finds itself squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

The Cards next play at Connecticut at 2 p.m. Sunday followed by a trip next week to Marquette. Then UofL returns home, to close out Freedom Hall, where it will face Syracuse at 2 p.m. March 6.

"We came in here having to win two out of four, now we have to win two out of three," Sosa said. "The road gets difficult from here, but it's not impossible."

"We have a tough road ahead of us to get 11, we might need the tournament," Pitino said.

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