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Wallace's last-second free throws lift Georgetown

Feb 12, 2008 - 6:52 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- In a tough Big East battle between Georgetown and Villanova, the slightest hit proved to be the biggest.

Jonathan Wallace took advantage of a controversial foul call, converting two free throws with one-tenth of a second remaining as the eighth-ranked Hoyas pulled out a 55-53 victory over the Wildcats on Monday.

Wallace finished with 15 points and Roy Hibbert added 13 as Georgetown (20-3, 10-2 Big East) snapped Villanova's perfect 6-0 record at the Verizon Center.

"My thought is 'phew.' Wins are hard to come by in this league," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "To walk away with a win is good. Now, we have to go on."

"We're seniors, and it was a great feeling to finally beat them," Hibbert said.

Despite some major shooting issues and a 12-point deficit in the second half, the Wildcats managed to tie the score at 53-53 on a layup by Scottie Reynolds with 1:06 remaining.

Villanova then had an outstanding defensive sequence, forcing Georgetown into a tough 3-point attempt by freshman Austin Freeman.

Looking to pull ahead for the first time since the opening moments of the second half, Reynolds attempted to get to the rim once again.

However, the sophomore guard was cut off at the baseline by Jeremiah Rivers and was forced to toss a pass to the lane that was knocked down. Following a scramble for the ball, Wallace came up with it in the closing seconds.

"When you put the ball in a player's hands, you have to trust him," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "And I trust Scottie to make those decisions at the end of the game."

"The last possession, everyone knew who was going to get the ball and who was going to take the last shot," Rivers said. "We didn't want to foul him. I just tried to stay in front of him. Once he went to the baseline, he ran out of places to go."

Looking to move upcourt for a last-second heave, Wallace took a slight bump from freshman forward Corey Stokes on the left sideline that was whistled for a foul right before the buzzer much to the protest of Wright.

"At first, I thought I stepped out of bounds," Wallace said. "I did feel like I got nudged."

"I was just playing defense, and the ref called a foul," Stokes said. "It's tough. The ref made a call, and we have to deal with it."

An 80 percent free-throw shooter, Wallace sank both attempts and Villanova had no time to get off a desperation heave.

"I just stayed calm and made the two free throws," Wallace said.

DaJuan Summers scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for Georgetown, which won for the seventh time in eight games.

It probably should have been a much easier win for the Hoyas, who grabbed a 46-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Wallace with 8:42 remaining. The basket capped a 16-3 run.

During part of that span, the Wildcats missed 19 straight attempts from the field. The slump did not end until a layup by Dwayne Anderson cut the deficit to 46-37 with 7:57 left.

Overall, Villanova went 4-of-31 (13 percent) from the field in the second half.

Yet, the Wildcats were able to get back into the game in part due to constant trips to the foul line, converting 16-of-18 over the final 20 minutes. They finished 81.5 percent (22-of-27) for the game.

Reynolds made 7-of-8 free throws in the second half en route to 24 points for the Wildcats (14-9, 4-7), which shot 25 percent (14-of-57) from the field, including 0-of-13 on 3-pointers in the second half.