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Georgetown 78, UCLA 70

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The Georgetown Hoyas started the game strong and the second half even stronger, then withstood some surges by the UCLA Bruins to spoil the college debut of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad.

Georgetown guard Markel Starks scored a career-high 23 points, leading several key surges as the Hoyas knocked off No. 13 UCLA 78-70 on Monday in the semifinal round of the Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center.

Georgetown will play No. 1 Indiana in the championship game Tuesday night while UCLA will play Georgia in the consolation game.

The pre-game buzz focused on Muhammad, the freshman widely regarded as the nation's top recruit who was reinstated by the NCAA on Friday after being declared ineligible for a rules violation.

Muhammad was impressive, coming off the bench to score 15 points, second on the Bruins to fellow freshman Jordan Adams, who scored 22.

But the Hoyas, led by Starks, Otto Porter (18 points) and Greg Whittington (13), overshadowed Muhammad and the Bruins.

After UCLA (3-1) responded to previous surges from Georgetown, the Hoyas put the Bruins away for good with just over six minutes left.

Starks scored five points in yet another dominant Hoyas' run, as they went on a 12-4 spurt to take a 66-54 lead with 6:22 remaining.

UCLA, which lost forward David Wear to an injury halfway through the second half, did not get closer than seven after that.

The Hoyas (3-0) started even stronger in the second half than they had in an impressive first half, coming out of the break with a 12-0 run to take a 43-29 lead with 17:44 left.

Whittington's two 3-pointers keyed the charge, while Starks scored on a layup, then fed Mikael Hopkins for a dunk as Georgetown threatened to run away with the game.

But, as they had in the first half, the Bruins responded, going on a 15-5 run to close within 48-44 when Adams hit a jumper with 13:10 remaining to score his seventh point during the spurt.

Muhammad did not start, but hit the first shot of his collegiate career shortly after he entered with 14:12 left in the first half. He would hit several key shots while trying to keep the Bruins in the game, and went hard to the basket with 1:02 left in the game, then hit one of two free throws to bring UCLA with 75-68. But the Bruins would get no closer.

Muhammad was declared eligible by the NCAA on Friday, after an appeal by UCLA. The freshman was suspended for the first three games of the season and was ordered to "repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits," the NCAA said in a statement announcing Muhammad's reinstatement.

Muhammad had been found in violation by the NCAA for receiving travel expenses and lodging during unofficial recruiting trips, the organization announced after its investigation.

Georgetown led at the half, 31-29. The Hoyas had opened up a 10-2 lead to start the game as Starks hit a 3-pointer on the way to a 13-point first half. But Travis Wear and David Wear, who combined to score 15 points in the first half, helped the Bruins get back in the game.

NOTES: David Wear exited the game with 12:13 left, when he went down hard on the floor after getting shoved by Whittington while going for a rebound. Wear went to the locker room a minute later. ... Adams entered the game having scored at least 20 points in the Bruins' first three games, the first freshman at UCLA to do so. He made it four straight Monday night. ... Georgetown out-shot UCLA 48 percent to 39.4 in the first half, but the Bruins hung close with help from a 20-14 rebounding advantage.

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