Hoyas extend streak in clutch

February 3, 2011

Chris Wright carried the Hoyas to victory, coming through big in crunch time. (Photo by Julianne Deno)

Georgetown has shown this season that they can win games in every fashion, but the last two games have shown that they know how to win in the most important way. Monday night Georgetown defeated Louisville 62-59, which followed a 69-66 win at Villanova on Saturday.

Chris Wright carried the Hoyas to victory, coming through big in crunch time. (Photo by Julianne Deno)

The Hoyas have been helped out by strong second-half performances in which they have first had to outplay their opponents and then outlast them. Each game has come down to the final possession, and different players have stepped up to take control of the team.

“We have an unselfish group and on different nights there’s going to be different mismatches,” head coach John Thompson III said. “Our team collectively does an outstanding job at getting the ball to the person who’s open when they need it.”

Against Villanova, senior guard Austin Freeman scored 30 points, including an important three-pointer and a key assist under pressure to freshman forward Nate Lubick to help put the game away. Against Louisville, Georgetown looked to another leader as Chris Wright scored 24 points, including two clutch free throws with fewer than five seconds left. Hollis Thompson, who came off the bench for the third straight game, came through in crunch time as well, nailing a three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining to give the Hoyas a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“I came in and I saw an open shot and took it, not thinking about time or score,” the sophomore forward said.

Although Georgetown again played well in the second half, shooting 76 percent from the field and 67 percent from beyond the arc, the first half was filled with sloppy basketball. Louisville turned the ball over 11 times while the Hoyas racked up eight turnovers. Georgetown went into the locker room leading by a score of just 22-18.

“There were two teams that were pretty defensive teams, and they are one of the best teams in the nation in causing turnovers,” Coach Thompson said.

Like the game against Villanova, the Hoyas’ opponent came back from a major deficit, but Georgetown was able to recover and close out the game. Thompson never expressed doubt when Louisville rallied from an 11-point deficit.

“The attitude was just said lets settle down and get stops, make shots and guard your guy,” he said.

As the point guard and floor general, Chris Wright has used his talents in different ways the last two games, despite their similar outcomes. Against Villanova, Wright was held scoreless, which was quite different from his scoring bursts against Louisville. It is apparent that he understands the importance of getting the ball in the hands of the player that is playing best that game, even it is himself.

“In the last game Austin was hitting shots all over the place so why force something, I have to be a playmaker,” he said. “But today I was open and I felt that I got a few transition buckets early and that if I kept attacking good things would happen.”

Although Georgetown has won five games in a row now, the last two have made them realize it isn’t easy and it certainly won’t get any easier as Big East play continues. But they can take solace in the fact that they have beaten some of the best teams by outplaying them when it really matters.

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