Hoyas Defeat Pitt 74-66
The score was tied late, and the Pitt students were stomping their floor-level sets so passionately it caused the grandstands to ripple like a wave. Pitt’s home-court advantage is one of the best in college basketball, and Georgetown knew this would be difficult.
Turns out it wasn’t quite as hard as the Hoyas expected.
Chris Wright scored 27 points, No. 12 Georgetown held No. 9 Pittsburgh scoreless for four minutes in a late run, and the Hoyas ended the Panthers’ eight-game winning streak with a 74-66 victory Wednesday night.
Austin Freeman and Greg Monroe added 13 points each. Monroe also fed Julius Vaughn inside for a key basket that made it 66-58 with 3:50 remaining after Vaughn put in a free throw to complete the three-point play. Vaughn scored 11 points.
”We believe we’re a second-half team. We were aggressive and took what the defense gave us,” Wright said.
Gilbert Brown scored a career-high 20 points for Pitt, but the Hoyas (14-3, 5-2 in Big East) halted Pitt’s 31-game home winning streak a season after the Panthers stopped Georgetown’s 29-game run at home by winning 70-54.
”There are so many good players, good teams (in the Big East), you have to work and work and hope the stars are aligned properly, and they were tonight,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.
Pitt (15-3, 5-1) missed a chance to go 6-0 in the Big East for the first time and lost for only the third time in 13 home games against ranked opponents since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002.
Pittsburgh led 56-54 on Jermaine Dixon ‘s 3-pointer with 7:48 remaining, but the Panthers didn’t score again until Brown made two free throws with 3:48 remaining that cut the Hoyas’ lead to 63-58.
Wright hit a 3-pointer that put the Hoyas ahead for good at 59-56 before Wright and Freeman dunked on successive possessions to finish a decisive 9-0 run.
”We have different guys on different nights, and it was his (Wright’s) night and his teammates kept finding him,” Thompson said.
Wright is averaging 18.7 points in his last seven games.
The Hoyas shut down Pitt’s leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs , by limiting him to eight points – 9.5 below his average – on 3 of 16 shooting, 2 of 8 from 3-point range. Gibbs also was the primary defender on Wright, who repeatedly hurt the Panthers inside and out.
”I noticed they were closing on me a little bit (on outside shots),” Wright said. ”So I wanted to attack the basket and create some havoc for them.”
Pitt hadn’t lost at home since a 75-73 defeat to Louisville on Feb. 23, 2008. The Cardinals led Pitt by five points in the final minute Saturday, but the Panthers came back to win 82-77 in overtime in a game in which Brown didn’t score.
”We win games with defense, but we lost this game with defense,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. ”I’m very disappointed. We haven’t defended the way we can (the last two games), and it caught up to us.”
Georgetown and Louisville are the only visiting teams to win twice at the Petersen Events Center, where Pitt is 125-11. The Hoyas also won there 67-64 on Jan. 5, 2005.
Wright scored 12 points in the first half as Georgetown, coming off an 82-77 loss to No. 4 Villanova, made its first five 3-point attempts while taking leads of 19-11 and 25-17. The Hoyas finished 7 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Wright’s early scoring was a good omen for the Hoyas, who dropped their previous three to Pitt. Georgetown is 13-0 when Wright scores in double figures but has lost all three games – to Villanova, Marquette and Old Dominion – in which he didn’t.
”We had a lot of open shots, and Ashton had some open 3s he normally makes,” Jermaine Dixon said.
Gibbs and Wanamaker (4 of 12) were a combined 7 of 28 as Pitt shot 45.6 percent.