No. 9 Georgetown 84, No. 20 Notre Dame 82
NEW YORK (AP)—John Thompson led Georgetown to six Big East tournament titles, and its last appearance in the championship game. Now, his son has a chance to experience a conference final.
Jeff Green had a career-high 30 points, including the winning basket with 13 seconds left, and 12 rebounds to lead the ninth-ranked Hoyas to an 84-82 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame in the semifinals Friday night.
DaJuan Summers added 18 points and Patrick Ewing Jr. tied his career high of 15 to help top-seeded Georgetown (25-6) advance to the final for the first time since 1996 with its 14th win in 15 games.
“It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to play for the tournament championship,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. “That’s something that’s special. Something that so few people get the opportunity to do is walk out on that floor tomorrow night and get a chance to play for the tournament championship.”
Georgetown will face third-seeded Pittsburgh, which rallied to beat Louisville 65-59 in the other semifinal.
“That’s what everyone in the league wants to be playing,” Thompson said. “And we’re one of the two teams that will be.”
Green muscled his way through the lane for the go-ahead layup, before missing the ensuing free throw.
“Pat just threw it down and I went into my move and they fouled me and I got the lucky roll,” Green said. “I jut put it up there and tried to get it on the rim and it went in. It was a lucky shot.”
The Irish had a chance to win, but Russell Carter’s 3-point shot with 6 seconds left bounced high off the rim. The Hoyas’ Jon Wallace chased down the loose ball and heaved it high in the air toward midcourt.
Summers hugged Green near midcourt after the final buzzer and Thompson got a high-five and pat on the back from his father, who led the Hoyas to their six Big East titles from 1982-89.
“The performance Jeff Green put on today was special, and just our team in general hanging in there,” Thompson said. “We could have caved on several occasions from the beginning of the game midway through the second half, and we fought, we hung in together.
“And then at the end of the day, great players make great plays and Jeff did that.”
Carter had 21 points, including five 3s, and freshman guard Tory Jackson added 20 for fourth-seeded Notre Dame (24-7), which ended a six-game winning streak. Georgetown, which beat the Irish for the fourth straight time, also eliminated Notre Dame last year with a 67-63 win in the quarterfinals.
Jackson scored the first seven points during a 9-0 run that gave the Irish their last lead, 78-76, with 2:54 to go. The freshman had a three-point play, a layup after he spun around a defender in the paint, and the tying basket with 3:24 left.
“We were riding him there and he’s a fearless young man,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “Our guys understood to open the floor up and let him go. He made some great plays.”
Jackson, who took over at point guard after Kyle McAlarney was suspended from school for his arrest in late December on a marijuana possession charge, finished one point short of his season high after combining for 14 in the last two games.
Wallace and Roy Hibbert hit consecutive jumpers to give the Hoyas the lead back with 1:59 left. Summers made two free throws to stretch the advantage to 82-79. Luke Harangody made 1 of 2 from the line and Jackson had a driving layup to tie the score for the final time with 40.5 seconds left.
“We’re very disappointed now because we had a chance, and I thought we gave ourselves every chance to win,” Brey said.
Ewing, playing in the arena where his father had a stellar career for the New York Knicks after four years at Georgetown under the elder Thompson, had his best game since transferring from Indiana after the 2004-05 season.
“He was effective out there I thought at both ends of the floor,” Thompson III said. “We were playing well when he was in there, so we kept him in there.”
Ewing shot 7-for-11, including a pair of two-handed power dunks that energized the Madison Square Garden crowd, which included his father sitting in the front row.
“It was a good feeling,” said Ewing, who matched a season high with 28 minutes. “It’s a better feeling now that we won, but it was just like another game. He’s been to a lot of games this year, so it really wasn’t much different than any other game.”
Green had seven of the Hoyas’ nine consecutive points that gave them a 76-69 lead with 5 minutes to go.
One day after opening with a 26-2 run against Villanova, the Hoyas started slowly against the Irish. Carter, who had four 3s in the half, hit two in a 20-second span to give the Irish their biggest lead at 35-21 with about 7:37 to go.
Summers’ 3 with 2:07 left started the Hoyas on a 10-2 run to close the half and pull to 46-44 at the break.
Ewing scored six points in the first 1:48 of the second half to give Georgetown its first lead, 50-49, with a two-handed slam as he came across the front of the basket.