After so many close calls, Georgetown finally got that breakthrough win.
Tre Campbell scored a career-high 21 points — 17 in the first half — and Georgetown’s front line held its own as the Hoyas built a double-digit lead in the second half and held on for an 81-72 victory over No. 5 Xavier on Tuesday night.
Xavier’s loss continued a rough run for the top five in the first two days since the release of the new Top 25. Just hours earlier, No. 3 Kansas lost at Oklahoma State and a night earlier, No. 1 Oklahoma fell at Iowa State.
The Hoyas (12-7, 5-2 Big East) pulled ahead 39-33 at halftime behind Campbell’s big game and led by as many as 11 in the second half while sending the Musketeers (16-2, 4-2) to their first home-court loss of the season. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 20 points for Georgetown, 15 in the second half.
"It’s really big," the senior guard said. "It’s the first time we’ve won here and my last time playing here."
The Hoyas had wilted in the second half against top teams and wound up with close losses. This time, they kept their poise all the way.
"I told these guys before the game: `We’ve been close but here’s another opportunity,’" coach John Thompson III said. "To come in here and win against this team — they’re playing at such a high level now — feels good. We’re now over a hump and we’ll proceed from here."
Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 18 points.
Xavier had won all three games against Georgetown last season, including a matchup in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The Hoyas’ front line dug in and got a different result, outrebounding Xavier 39-35. Xavier and Purdue were the only teams that hadn’t been outrebounded in a game this season, according to STATS. Xavier led the Big East in offensive and defensive rebounding.
"Honestly it was Georgetown being locked in and ready to play," said Myles Davis, who had 15 points. "They knew that last year in the games we played them we out-rebounded them and were tougher."
The Musketeers shot a season-low 35.8 percent from the field.
Freshman Edmond Sumner was back as Xavier’s starting point guard and scored 10 points. He missed three games with a concussion and came off the bench to score 15 points during a 74-66 win at Marquette on Saturday.
Xavier had trouble stopping 7-foot center Bradley Hayes at the outset. He made his first three shots as the Hoyas kept it close. Hayes picked up his third foul with 7:42 left in the first half. He was their leading scorer with six points when he left because of the foul trouble.
Sumner hit his first two shots from beyond the arc and two free throws as Xavier pulled ahead 27-20. Georgetown went to a zone defense to slow the Musketeers, who are third in the Big East with 80.1 points per game.
Campbell picked it up after Hayes went out. He hit four 3-pointers in the final 6 minutes of the half, giving him a career-high 17 points, as the Hoyas pulled ahead 39-33. The sophomore guard hit five of six shots from beyond the arc.
"When I made my first shot, I knew it was going to be good," said Campbell, who finished 7 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. "My teammates kept finding me. I just felt fine tonight. I had a rhythm."
Campbell’s reverse layup gave the Hoyas their first double-digit lead at 46-36.
Bluiett struggled through an off-night, going only 6 of 16 from the field, but hit a baseline jumper and his first 3-pointer as Xavier cut the lead to 51-49. Smith-Rivera hit two 3s as Georgetown built the lead to 11 points.
Xavier never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
Georgetown: The Hoyas are 2-3 against ranked teams this season.
Xavier: Sumner played 25 minutes against Marquette. He played 33 minutes on Tuesday.