Cincinnati beats No. 25 Georgetown 65-57
CINCINNATI (AP)—Turns out there are still new depths for No. 25 Georgetown to find.
Deonta Vaughn scored 20 points Wednesday night, and Cincinnati extended the Hoyas’ midseason misery by sending them to a 65-57 loss, their fourth in a row.
The Hoyas (12-7, 3-5) were coming off a deflating 65-60 loss at Seton Hall, which hadn’t won a game in the Big East until Sunday. Afterward, coach John Thompson III proclaimed that his team was in a “bad situation right now.”
It got a whole lot worse against Cincinnati (14-7, 4-4), which finally got a distinguishing win. The Bearcats were 0-2 against ranked teams this season.
It’s Georgetown’s longest losing streak since 2004-05, Thompson’s first season.
“We have to evaluate, re-evaluate everything,” Thompson said. “We have to do everything significantly better than we are right now. We’re missing shots.”
Chris Wright scored 15 points for Georgetown, which saw its usually dependable defense fold down the stretch. Cincinnati shot 45.8 percent from the field, only the 14th time in the last 90 games that an opponent shot so high.
And, there was one new worry for a team with already more than enough: DaJuan Summers twisted his left ankle, leaving the Hoyas uncertain how much he can play the next few games. The junior forward is Georgetown’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, but sat out the second half and finished with seven.
“We will figure this out, regardless of how bad DaJaun’s injury is,” Thompson said. “We are in a bad place, but I told the guys, we will figure this out.”
The Bearcats are on an unexpected upswing. They’ve won four of their last five, overcoming a limited offense and poor ball handling. They had 10 turnovers in the first half on Wednesday.
“It means a lot to us,” Vaughn said. “We’re getting our feet on the ground. We’re letting everyone know we’re coming out to play hard.”
Neither team played very well in a sloppy first half, setting a back-and-forth pace that held until the closing minute. Cincinnati’s final lead was the biggest of the game.
“After the game, we are all disappointed about the loss, but we’ve got to keep fighting,” said Wright, who went 7-for-12 from the field. “That’s the only thing we can do. We can’t get mad or feel bad about ourselves now because we’ve got a lot of games left in the Big East. Today, again, unfortunately, our shots didn’t fall.”
Many of them did—Georgetown shot 40 percent—but the Hoyas missed several open shots in the closing minutes, helping Cincinnati pull away.
“We got the shots we wanted; just didn’t go in,” Thompson said. “A bad time for bad bounces.”
Omar Wattad and Nikita Mescheriakov hit 3-pointers to cut Cincinnati’s lead to 27-26 at halftime and gave the Hoyas a sense that they were finally shooting their way out of their slump. In the last two games, Georgetown went 5-for-38 from behind the arc.
Didn’t last long. The Hoyas finished 5-of-17 on 3-point attempts.
By that point, it was apparent that Cincinnati’s stagnant offense was going to need another big half from Vaughn to get another win. The junior guard had 20 points in the second half of a 71-60 win at St. John’s last week. He had eight points and four turnovers in the first half against Georgetown.
Vaughn hit a 3 from the left wing to open the second half, an indication he was willing.
Each basket brought another lead change or tie over a six-minute span in the second half. Both teams tried something different on defense to try to change the pace—Cincinnati went to a full-court press, Georgetown to a 2-3 zone defense.
Yancy Gates’ tip-in and Vaughn’s two free throws put Cincinnati ahead 54-49 with 6:02 left, the biggest lead by either team in the second half up to that point. That lead didn’t last long, either, taking it down to the final minute.
Gates made one of his two free throws for a 61-57 lead with 45 seconds to go. After Austin Freeman missed an open 3-pointer, Mike Williams and Vaughn finished it off with free throws.