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Georgetown's defense cools off Seton Hall

Feb 2, 2008 - 10:27 PM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- The Big East Conference's best defensive team cooled off the league's top offensive squad.

Jessie Sapp scored 17 points and Roy Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr. added 16 apiece as No. 6 Georgetown snapped Seton Hall's five-game winning streak with a 73-61 victory on Saturday.

The Hoyas, who allow only 56.7 points per game, committed a season-high 21 turnovers but held Seton Hall to 20 points below its season average of 81.8.

"Obviously, 21 turnovers with 10 assists is not indicative of our own team," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "It never has been and never will be, but that's a credit to them (Seton Hall)."

The pesky Pirates (15-7, 5-4 Big East) stayed in the game in the first half by forcing 13 turnovers - many of them on steals - but they could not solve the Hoyas' halfcourt defense.

While Seton Hall caused some early problems with its press, the Pirates shot only 25 percent (6-of-24) from the field in the opening half and 36 percent overall (19-of-53).

For Hibbert, the key was holding Seton Hall to one shot. While Seton Hall forced 15 steals, Georgetown had a huge edge on the boards, outrebounding the Pirates, 49-21.

"Coach just talked about one shot and to make sure we put a body on them and not to give them second shots," Hibbert said. "I think we've been making an effort to box people out, pursue the ball and run down long rebounds."

Georgetown's DeJuan Summers hit a 3-pointer with 4:57 remaining in the first half to snap a 21-21 tie and give the Hoyas (18-2, 8-1) the lead for good.

Georgetown settled for a 33-26 halftime lead before stretching its advantage to 42-30 on Sapp's 3-pointer with 15 minutes remaining.

"Georgetown has an elite team, they really do," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "They are avery impressive team. They don't have many weaknesses."

Seton Hall battled back with an 8-0 run, closing to 42-38 on Jeremy Hazzell's 3-pointer with 11:33 remaining.

But the Hoyas wore down the Pirates in the final minutes by pounding the ball inside and pulled away for a comfortable victory. Georgetown led by as many as 18 in the final two minutes.

"From what I've seen so far in the Big East, they are the best team in the league, without question," Gonzalez said of the Hoyas.

Brian Laing scored 24 points for Seton Hall, which made just 4-of-21 3-pointers and struggled to score against the Hoyas' tenacious half-court defense.

After Hibbert scored six points in the first five minutes, Seton Hall did a good job of keeping the ball out of the 7-foot center's hands for the remainder of the first half.

In the second half, however, the combination of Ewing and Hibbert helped the Hoyas take control. Ewing scored 11 points in the second half and Hibbard eight.

"Pat just played aggressively from the start," Hibbert said. "We got out there and got rebounds. We pushed the ball up and he's very good in transition."

Ewing's dunk and layup extended Georgetown's lead to 61-48 with 3:03 remaining.

"We tried to use our quickness to speed them up in the zone," Gonzalez said. "We thought that bothered them and that kept us in the game for 30-35 minutes. The problem is, they don't have many weaknesses."

    --- --- -----
    SETON HALL 26 35 61
    GEORGETOWN (6) 33 40 73 FINAL

    Feb 2 2:10 PM


    Feb 2 12:53 PM