Fast Break: Hoyas take down Tigers in battle of ranked teams

December 2, 2010

It’s never been a secret that the strength of this season’s Hoya squad lies with the backcourt, but after Tuesday night’s thrilling overtime victory against No. 8 Missouri, Georgetown’s guards may just be the best in the country.

The No. 14 Hoyas (7-0) defeated the Tigers (5-1) 111-102 in front of a hostile crowd in Kansas City as the guard trio of Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, and Jason Clark divvied up the three periods of the game to dominate.

The first half belonged to Freeman, who didn’t miss a beat following his record-tying performance against UNC-Asheville. The senior made a run at the school record of seven three-pointers in a game yet again, draining five before halftime, en route to a 31-point performance. The Hoyas rode Freeman’s hot hand to an early 18-point lead. Near the end of the half, Freeman was credited with a three that left his hand after the shot clock had expired. The call was not reviewable and would prove later on to have a great impact on the game.

Despite Freeman’s sharpshooting, the Hoyas’ lead had been whittled down to seven points at halftime. Answering Freeman was junior guard Marcus Denmon, who went five for seven from beyond the arc and finished with 27 points to lead the Tigers.

The Tigers run the self-proclaimed “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball,” and that frenetic pace eventually caught up with the Hoyas. Georgetown clung to its lead for much of the second half, but slowly watched the margin dwindle in the face of Missouri’s relentless full-court pressure. Missouri scored 29 points off 18 Georgetown turnovers, and 16 fast break points to the Hoyas’ six.

Momentum favored the Tigers for most of the second half, and the Hoyas relinquished the lead for the first time with just over eight minutes to play and they wouldn’t get it back for the rest of regulation.

Fortunately for Georgetown, Missouri could not nail its free throws to close out the game, and the Hoyas got the ball when they were down three with 14 seconds remaining. A wild Hollis Thompson three missed, but an even wilder rebound ended up with Clark, who found a wide open Wright for the tying 3-pointer with less than a second remaining. Wright recorded his second double-double of the season, with 21 points and 10 assists.

Overtime was Clark’s time to shine. He scored nine of his career-high 26 points in the extra period all from behind the arc, including early back-to-back threes that put the Hoyas in control for good.

If the backcourt continues to play the way they did against Missouri, the rest of the country should take notice. With three strong options to carry them, no obstacle is too large for the Hoyas to overcome.

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