Rapid Reax: Cincinnati 72, Georgetown 70
March, 8, 2012
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Overview: Our first game of the day, between Syracuse and UConn, was going to be tough to beat
But this one did it.
Cincinnati, the No. 4 seed, ousted No. 5 seed Georgetown 72-70 in double overtime -- a game that was ugly for most of regulation, but then thrilling in the final minutes and the extra periods.
The Bearcats (23-9) advance to the Big East semifinals, while the Hoyas (24-7) go home with just one win in this tournament. Both teams' spots in the NCAA tournament are already secure.
Turning points: Too many to count. Georgetown led 30-24 at the half, and the second half went back and forth. Georgetown increased its lead to nine, 36-27; Cincinnati closed to 36-35. Georgetown went up 49-38; Cincinnati cut it to 52-51, and then went ahead 53-52 on a Yancy Gates tip-in with 37 seconds left. But with the score 54-52, Georgetown freshman Otto Porter connected on a short jumper with 3.6 seconds left to tie the game, and we ended up in overtime.
In the first overtime, Georgetown had the ball trailing 64-62 with 12.9 seconds left coming out of a timeout, but was struggling to find a good look. With the clock winding down, center Henry Sims drove down the lane from the top of the key and laid it in at the buzzer -- a beautiful move, especially for a big man -- to tie the score at 64.
In the second overtime, with the score knotted at 70, Cincinnati's Cashmere Wright drove the lane and banked it in to make it 72-70 with 7.6 seconds left. After a timeout, Georgetown went the length of the floor and tried to make magic one more time -- but Sims' jumper from the top of the key was off the mark.
Key player: Gates came alive for the Bearcats in the second half and the two overtimes, finishing with 23 points and eight rebounds. He scored 10 of Cincinnati's final 11 points in regulation.
For Georgetown, Sims has nothing to hang his head about. The senior, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, followed up that performance with 22 points and 15 rebounds on Thursday.
Key stat: Georgetown shot just 8-for-15 from the foul line -- a couple more made free throws could have made all the difference.
Amazingly, Cincinnati shot just 2-for-21 from 3-point range, yet pulled out a victory.
What's next: Syracuse and Cincinnati will tangle at 7 p.m. ET Friday. The teams played once during the regular season -- a 60-53 Syracuse win in Cincinnati. The Orange were without starting center Fab Melo.
Georgetown returns home and gets ready for Selection Sunday.