Saturday, January 9, 2010
Freeman's 33 leads Georgetown in thrilling comeback
By Eamonn Brennan
Georgetown needed a big win.
So did Connecticut.
Insert the old chestnut about the immovable force and the unstoppable object here; the two played a classic at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and after UConn used transition play to open a 15-point halftime lead, Austin Freeman and the Hoyas played a second half worthy of ESPN Classic. (Synergy!)
The Hoyas trailed 40-25 at halftime and fell behind by as much as 19. But the second half saw a different Hoyas team take the floor, one unafraid to shoot the occasional quick shot -- Georgetown is notoriously slow, not that that's a bad thing -- and guard Austin Freeman had much to do with it.
Freeman went 12-for-20 in the game, including 5-of-9 from the three-point line, and put on a display in the second half. (He also had seven rebounds and three steals, just for good measure.) Georgetown star Greg Monroe likewise came alive in the second half, attacking the rim and demanding the ball in a way he didn't in the first.
The final minutes were back and forth, and UConn had a chance to tie the game at 72 at the end of the game with a Stanley Robinson heave. Georgetown almost turned the ball over on the previous possession before (somewhat luckily, probably) Freeman recovered the ball and found Monroe for an easy transition layup. It was a thrilling finish in front of a raucous crowd, and it might well change the trajectory of both teams as the Big East heats up.
For Georgetown, the win prevents a two-game losing streak after the Hoyas' loss to Marquette this week. For UConn, it's another disappointing loss that pushes the Huskies to 11-4 in a year where most UConn fans would have hoped for more. But for now, it's just a really, really good basketball game, the best of what should be a long, fantastic day of college basketball.