Overview: It's official -- Pittsburgh will miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
Pitt's nightmarish 2011-12 season is finally over, after the No. 13-seeded Panthers lost to No. 5 seed Georgetown in the second round of the Big East tournament Wednesday afternoon. A season which began with promise -- Pitt was picked to finish fourth in the conference -- went off the rails with a nonconference loss to Wagner on Dec. 23, followed by seven straight losses to begin Big East play.
Georgetown went in the opposite direction. Picked to finish 10th, the Hoyas instead finished tied for fourth, and continue to look like a team capable of going deep in this tournament, and the Big Dance as well.
Turning point: Pittsburgh actually led this game for most of the first half, but a 12-0 run by Georgetown over the final 4:07 gave the Hoyas a 31-23 lead at intermission. After a quick 6-0 flurry by the Panthers to start the second half, the Hoyas reasserted control, for good. Back-to-back treys by Greg Whittington and Otto Porter turned a 31-29 game into a 37-29 game, gave the Hoyas some breathing room, and they poured it on from there.
Key player: Porter, who did not make the All-Big East Rookie Team despite averaging 9.0 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds for Georgetown, was excellent -- particularly in the second half. Porter finished with 20 points and six rebounds, with 14 of his points coming after intermission. Center Henry Sims was outstanding as well, with 20 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Also, kudos to Ashton Gibbs, who scored 14 points in his final game at Pittsburgh. Gibbs' senior year certainly didn't go the way he envisioned, but the Scotch Plains, N.J., native had an excellent collegiate career.
Miscellaneous: Georgetown trotted out a starting lineup of players 6-foot-10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8 and 6-2, with Porter joining the starting lineup -- that's some serious size. ... The Hoyas outscored the Panthers 22 to 11 at the foul line, which obviously made a big difference.
What's next: Georgetown will face No. 4 seed Cincinnati in the Big East quarterfinals, Thursday at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh heads home with a final record of 17-16, 5-13 in the Big East.