- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Instant analysis from Georgetown's 74-59 win over Belmont.
Overview: Georgetown, a 3-seed, avoided a third consecutive opening-round loss to a lower seed with a win over Belmont, a 14-seed. How did the Hoyas do it?
They used their length to stifle a Belmont team that loves 3-pointers and they parlayed that size advantage into easy buckets on the other end of the floor.
By the end of the first half, Georgetown had a 36-27 lead. They’d outscored the Bruins 16-6 in the paint. Belmont still managed a 6-for-15 (40 percent) clip from the 3-point line, but every shot was a difficult one. Many were off-balance. The Hoyas just didn’t let the Bruins, a team that’s in the top 10 in 3-pointers made per game, get comfortable.
They were even tougher in the second half. Belmont missed five of its first six 3-pointers after the break. Behind a 61 percent shooting clip, the Hoyas led 40-27, 48-36 and 55-40 at different times in the second half.
Turning point: It was a six-point game after a 9-2 Belmont rally that concluded with a Blake Jenkins tip-in with 14:46 to play. Uh oh, right? Wrong. Georgetown opened the game back up via a Belmont goaltending call, a Bruins turnover on their next possession, a Henry Sims turnaround hook and a Greg Whittington dunk. And just like that the Hoyas had a double-digit lead again.
Key player: Jason Clark could not be stopped. He scored 21 points and went 9-for-12 from the field.
Key stat: Belmont, one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country this season, recorded a 4-for-12 mark from the 3-point line in the second half.
Miscellaneous: Belmont had the right idea. The Bruins mixed things up in the first half and tried to find their shooters. But Georgetown was simply too long and athletic. … Was that really a goaltending call in the second half? From here, it looked questionable. … This was a trendy upset pick not because of the matchup but because of Georgetown’s early exits in recent years. On paper, however, it was a horrible matchup. Belmont needs 3s. Georgetown uses its length to protect the arc better than any team in America. Game. Set. Match.
What’s next: Now, it’s Georgetown versus North Carolina State on Sunday. The Wolfpack have a 4-2 record overall against the Hoyas.