No. 11 G'town rallies to beat Louisville
Austin Freeman's second-half resurgence helped Georgetown find its
Freeman got 24 of his 29 points after halftime and the 11th-ranked Hoyas bounced back from consecutive losses with a 70-60 victory over Louisville on Tuesday night.
Georgetown (19-7, 9-6 Big East) trailed the entire first half but took control after that behind some sizzling shooting from Freeman and an extended scoring drought by the Cardinals (18-10, 9-6).
"If things didn't go well and fall in the first half, I just wanted to stay aggressive in the second half," Freeman said.
He did just that, scoring the first eight points of the second half -- including two 3-pointers, the second of which gave the Hoyas their first lead, 37-35.
The Cardinals tied the game at 37 on a driving layup by Edgar Sosa, who finished with 24 points and eight assists. However, that was the only field goal Louisville managed in more than 15 minutes -- a drought that spanned back to a 3 by Reginald Delk more than 5 minutes before halftime.
"We played a perfect first half and they played a perfect second half," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They prevailed because of their shot-making ability."
Freeman matched a career high with his fifth 3-pointer -- all in the second half -- with just over 3 minutes to go. He made it a 4-point play, adding a free throw after Delk fouled him. That gave the Hoyas their largest lead of the game, 64-49.
"He's an aggressive player that's not going to make bad decisions," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "We saw a few things against their zone when we could get some shots. It was good to come in, to be down at halftime in a tough environment and weather through it."
The Cardinals were able to cut the deficit to seven after consecutive 3s by Jerry Smith and Sosa, but Freeman tacked on two free throws to ice the win.
Afterward, Sosa was still surprised that the usually offensively powerful Cardinals went so long without scoring a basket.
"That's unfortunate," he said. "We're a pretty good offensive team. Sometimes we mess up defensively. We didn't take bad shots. They just didn't fall. Coming out in the second half, that was our problem."
Georgetown missed its first six shots of the game and was down 4-0 before Freeman gave the Hoyas their first points on a layup 3:30 in. Louisville answered seconds later on a dunk by Samardo Samuels, and Delk nailed a 3-pointer to widen the lead to 9-2.
The Cardinals would push the lead to 11 -- their largest of the half -- on Delk's second of three 3s, but Georgetown went on a 10-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Hollis Thompson.
Louisville wasn't able to sustain any long scoring runs early, despite Sosa's 13 first-half points and Delk's 11 -- including going 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
The Cardinals made plenty of mistakes to allow the Hoyas to stay close, even before Freeman's scoring barrage.
Delk made a sloppy foul on Vee Sanford when he was in the process of heaving a desperation 3-pointer, and consecutive Louisville possessions midway through the first half resulted in airballs from Preston Knowles and Smith.
While Freeman was the second-half star for the Hoyas, Greg Monroe, who had prime position in the paint all game, provided most of the scoring early -- getting 12 of his 16 points before halftime.
Pitino has told the Cardinals he believes they need 11 Big East victories to assure a spot in the NCAA tournament. To get there, Louisville needs to win two of the last three matchups against fellow bubble teams Connecticut and Marquette as well as the Freedom Hall finale against first-place Syracuse, which is trying to lock up an overall No. 1 seed.
"We have a tough road ahead of us to get 11," Pitino said. "We may need the (Big East) tournament, but we're right there. We're in a lot better shape than a lot of people, so we've just got to keep on working on it."
Georgetown lost to Syracuse 75-71 last Thursday and lost its previous game to Rutgers, one of the bottom-feeders of the Big East. Next up Saturday is Notre Dame.
"We don't take a look at the big picture," Thompson said. "We just want to win the next game."