for this game

Georgetown uses first-half surge to edge Villanova

Mar 8, 2007 - 11:25 PM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Roy Hibbert and Georgetown got off to a lightning-fast start in their quest for a Big East Conference crown.

Hibbert scored 14 points as the ninth-ranked Hoyas held on for a 62-57 triumph over Villanova in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament.

It was the 13th victory in the last 14 games for the Hoyas (24-6), who own the top seed for the first time since 1989, the last time they won the event.

Playing for the first time since Saturday, Georgetown looked anything but rusty, scoring the game's first 14 points and building a 26-2 lead by the midway point of the first half.

"We started off real good," said Hibbert, who shot 6-of-9 from the floor. "We ran our offense, and guys were cutting and getting to basket and making their shots. We came out strong and aggressive and our shots were falling. We just kept focus and stayed in the game until it was over."

The 7-2 Hibbert was instrumental in the Hoyas' first-half surge, scoring eight points on 4-of-4 shooting while blocking two shots to lead Georgetown to a 37-18 advantage at the break.

"We came out early and scored so easily," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Then we got too tentative and started looking at the clock to get the game over. Things were coming too easy, and we just had to focus when things got settled down."

Conversely, the ninth-seeded Wildcats (22-10) appeared tired after Wednesday's hard-fought win over DePaul in the opening round. Villanova did not score until the 12:40 mark of the first half and shot just 27 percent (6-of-22) over the opening 20 minutes.

"I think we ran into an outstanding team," Wildcats coach Jay Wright said. "When you get beat here, you get beat by a good team. We played them early, and you could see them getting better."

Jeff Green, the Big East Player of the Year, scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Jonathan Wallace and DaJuan Summers added 10 points apiece for Georgetown, which will play 16th-ranked Notre Dame in Friday's semifinals.

Curtis Sumpter scored 18 points to pace Villanova, which rallied to cut the deficit to 58-52 in the final minute and made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"I was trying to set a tone and be aggressive," said Sumpter, who shot just 6-of-16. "I didn't think we did anything wrong. We just missed a couple shots, and Georgetown took advantage."

The Wildcats opened the second half with an 11-2 surge to cut their deficit to 39-29 and ended the contest on a 14-7 run capped by Sumpter's 3-pointer as time expired.

Villanova's best chance to mount a comeback came with 41 seconds left when freshman guard Scottie Reynolds stole an inbounds pass and had an open look from the arc.

But the conference's Rookie of the Year missed the shot, stamping a futile outing for him and a forgettable offensive performance for the Wildcats.

"Anything can happen, and we just kept playing our game," Wright said. "There was a lot of possession and game left that we didn't lose our composure."

"There are going to be lots of games like this one tonight," Thompson added. "Every game and every minute is stressful. Guys made plays, which made the game better."

Reynolds scored 11 points on just 4-of-14 shooting and added four assists. Reggie Redding added 11 points while Will Sheridan chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds for Villanova, which finished just 5-of-19 from the arc.

Sumpter and Reynolds were particularly cold from long range, combining to go 3-of-15.

"You can't control them," Thompson said. "They're good and too talented; you just hope those guys don't go off. We did a good job of playing against them."

    --- --- -----
    VILLANOVA 18 39 57
    GEORGETOWN (9) 37 25 62 FINAL

    Mar 8 2:11 PM


    Mar 8 12:50 PM