Calls bail out Hoyas again, Beat MU 70-68

The No. 10/11 Georgetown Hoyas escape with a 70-68 overtime victory over the No. 21 Marquette Golden Eagles in front of a sold out crowd at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

MILWAUKEE – Needing a win to keep pace in a tight race for the Big East regular season championship, the No. 10/11 Georgetown Hoyas (23-4, 14-3) slipped past No. 21 Marquette (21-7, 11-6) with a thrilling 70-68 victory in front of a raucous 19, 085 at the Bradley Center.

"It came down to the very end," said Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean. "I am just extremely disappointed for our players and for the fans."

Seniors Jonathan Wallace and Roy Hibbert scored 20 apiece to lead the Hoyas, with Wallace collecting 15 of his points after halftime and sinking three free-throws with 2.8 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period.

"He's as cold as ice when he's on the free throw line," said Hibbert. "He just knocked them down and walked off the court."

Wallace also banked home an impossible three-pointer with Dominic James' hand in his face and the shot clock expiring to re-tie the game at 66 in overtime.

"No question about it, Jonathan Wallace is an outstanding player," said Crean.

The game went into overtime after questionable calls on two straight possessions for Georgetown kept them in the game late. A blocking foul against Dwight Burke sent Patrick Ewing to the line with 11.1 seconds left. Ewing split his shots from the line to bring the Hoyas within one. After two free-throws by Wes Matthews brought Marquette's lead back to three, at 63-60, Dominic James was called for the foul against Wallace, drawing the ire of the crowd.

When asked his opinion of the call against James, Crean declined to comment.

Previously, Burke, who played commendable defense against Hibbert down the stretch, put Marquette up two by slamming home a James miss with 31 seconds to play.

Georgetown also escaped a close game against Villanova with the help of a whistle, as a foul 70 feet from the basket with 0.1 seconds left in that game allowed Wallace to hit the game winning free-throws for a 55-53 final score.

The Golden Eagles had a chance for a final shot both at the end of regulation and at the end of overtime, and failed to get a good look both times.

"Road wins in this league are tough," said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III. ‘We were fortunate. We got a few breaks and some guys made plays at the end."

Matthews led all scorers in Saturday's contest, tying a career high with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Matthews scored 15 of his points in the first half and hit back-to-back threes for Marquette during a late first-half run. The junior was also 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Jerel McNeal also filled up the box score for Marquette, recording 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and six steals. James rounded out Marquette's double-digit scoring with 15 points.

After Georgetown scored on the opening possession of the game, the Golden Eagles forced turnovers their next two times down, a trend that would continue throughout the game. Marquette recorded 15 steals and scored 26 points off 21 total Hoya turnovers. However, Marquette failed to convert on many of their opportunities in transition early, and they were held to only four transition points after halftime.

"They are an incredible defensive team," said Thompson. "They are aggressive and smart about how they do it, and they have great instincts."

The Golden Eagles led or tied the Hoyas for a stretch of 22:55 – from 15:33 in the first half until 3:32 left in regulation, and midway through the second half it seemed that Marquette might start to break away. Matthews saved a bad pass near the baseline and sent the ball all the way out to James, who then hit a three with 13:01 left in the period to give Marquette a nine-point lead at 46-37. Free throws by Burke on the next possession would extend the lead to 11 points – Marquette's largest of the game. But the ball ceased to bounce the Golden Eagles' way from then on.

Georgetown took their first lead of the second half off a Wallace lay-up with 3:32 to play in regulation, capping a 16-6 Hoya run.

"We were expecting them to make their run, and they did," said Matthews. "We were sturdy for a while, but we just didn't make enough plays."

Poor free-throw shooting killed Marquette. The team shot 61.1 percent (22-of-36) for the game, thanks mostly to a 3-of-10 performance from the line in the first half.

Lazar Hayward also suffered through a disappointing afternoon, finishing with no points on 0-of-8 shooting and committing three turnovers.

The Golden Eagles held Georgetown guards Jessie Sapp and DaJuan Summer, who together average 21.2 points per game, to a combined six points with eight turnovers between them, although Summers did record a game-high 14 rebounds.

"We felt that this was our win," said Matthews. "When you leave it all on the floor and you come up short, it's a hard thing to deal with."

The Golden Eagles play their final home game of the season against Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. CST.

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