for this game

Georgetown routs Belmont, cruises into second round

Mar 16, 2007 - 12:57 AM WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Four days of rest clearly did not slow down red-hot Georgetown. If anything, it allowed Jessie Sapp and the Hoyas to refuel.

Sapp scored a career-high 20 points as the second-seeded Hoyas cruised to an 80-55 triumph over 15th-seeded Belmont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament East Region.

It was the 16th victory in the last 17 games for Georgetown (27-6), which will face No. 7 seed and former Big East Conference rival Boston College in Saturday's second round. The Eagles defeated No. 10 seed Texas Tech on Thursday afternoon.

The reigning Big East regular-season and tournament champion, Georgetown had not taken the court since Saturday's 65-42 rout of Pittsburgh in the conference championship game.

But after getting off to a slow start Thursday, the Hoyas reeled off a 26-7 run to take a 30-18 lead with 5:10 left in the first half.

"I don't feel like we rushed a lot in the beginning," Sapp said. "We just missed a lot of open shots early. We found our touch and as the course of the game went on our shots started falling for us."

Sapp netted 11 points during the run and capped the outburst with a 3-pointer.

"(Sapp) kept us in it in the first half," Georgetown leading scorer Jeff Green said. "We just had to relax and down and hit our shots. We started running our offense better in the second half."

"We are in many ways a versatile team," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "We can adjust and tweak to where we think the hot hand and/or the mismatch is. And we were just fortunate, particularly early, when we are settling into the game and getting going, (Sapp) made some shots until we were able to get into our groove."

The Big East Player of the Year, Green scored eight of his 15 points during the surge.

Finishing 48 percent (13-of-27) from the floor in the first half, the Hoyas held a 38-25 lead at the half.

Georgetown continued to roll thereafter, extending the cushion to 49-29 on a 3-pointer by Sapp less than seven minutes into the second half. Center Roy Hibbert added a layup almost 40 seconds later to cap a 13-4 burst out of intermission.

The sophomore Sapp finished 4-of-6 from the arc en route to shooting 8-of-10 overall. He also grabbed six rebounds and three steals.

"(Sapp) gets all the credit," Belmont coach Rick Byrd said. "He sure didn't look like a 28-percent 3-point shooter to me, the whole time. I always thought they were going in."

Hibbert finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and three blocks while reserve Jeremiah Rivers dished out seven assists for Georgetown, which shot 55 percent (29-of-53) from the floor.

Andrew Preston scored 14 points to pace Belmont (23-10), which shot just 6-of-26 (23 percent) from the arc.

"As it happens so often in athletic contests, when you play somebody that is outstanding, it makes it hard for you to do the things that you normally do," Byrd said. "We were 6-of-26 from three and they had a lot to do with that. Even when they weren't there, we got a little anxious there."

This was the second straight appearance in the NCAAs for the Bruins, who absorbed a 78-44 loss to second-seeded UCLA in the school's first tournament game last season.

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    BELMONT 25 30 55

    Mar 15 4:50 PM

    NCAA BB (15) BELMONT 25

    Mar 15 3:38 PM