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Georgetown rallies for double-OT win over UConn

The SportsXchange

STORRS, Conn. -- Georgetown and Connecticut, two of the charter members of the Big East, have played all kinds of games over the years. You can make the argument that none of them was any wilder or more exciting than the one they played Wednesday night.

"This was a terrific basketball game. Both teams had the opportunity to pack it in and neither did," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said after his seventh-ranked Hoyas blew a five-point lead in the final 10 seconds of regulation but then rallied from seven down in the second overtime and pulled out a 79-78 victory at Gampel Pavilion on the UConn campus.

"We were fortunate enough that the clock ran out and we were on top, but they showed a terrific will to win, as did we," said Thompson, whose team won its 10th straight and 12th in the last 13.

"I thought I'd seen it all, but I guess I haven't," said first-year UConn coach Kevin Ollie, who replaced the retired Jim Calhoun this season. "Just a great effort from both teams. We had it. They had it. It happens. In life it happens."

These programs share the record with seven Big East tournament titles. But Connecticut, ineligible for any postseason play due to an infractions battle with the NCAA, won't be in New York for this year's Madison Square Garden fun.

So, in a way, this game was the Huskies' season, and they almost pulled off the huge win, against a program that will be leaving the conference with other basketball-only Catholic schools in time for the 2014-15 season.

Calvin Porter Jr. hit a driving layup with 9.5 seconds left (off a Shabazz Napier turnover) for the winning points.

"I just sprinted the lane," Porter said, "and D'Vauntes (Smith-Rivera) was able to hit me and I saw Markel (Starks) sprinting to the rim, so I was able to use him to get to the rim."

UConn, out of timeouts, didn't get a good look as Ryan Boatright heaved up an air ball from the right corner that didn't hit the rim.

UConn (19-8, 9-6 Big East) led 78-71 with 2:03 left but didn't score again.

Georgetown (22-4, 12-3), which cracked the top 10 for the first time this season by winning at No. 8 Syracuse over the weekend, moved into first place in the conference.

Porter hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left and Smith-Rivera hit one with 50.3 seconds remaining to cut it to one.

The Huskies, down by 12 with 4 1/2 minutes left in regulation, scored five points in the last 10 seconds -- all by Omar Calhoun, who nailed a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to force the overtime.

Both teams led in the first OT, but neither could score over the final 2:29. DeAndre Daniels, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds for UConn's first double-double of the season, started the second OT with a 3-pointer, and the Huskies led until Porter's basket.

Porter, who had 33 of his team's 57 points in the win at Syracuse, scored one point and took one shot in the first half Wednesday, but he finished with 22 points. Starks had 19 and Smith-Rivera 14.

Napier scored all 16 of his points after halftime and played most of the second half on an injured ankle that forced a shoe change. Boatright had 11 points and eight assists.

All of the excitement came after a dreadful first half that saw UConn lead 22-19. It took Georgetown the first 20 minutes to score 19 points, but the Hoyas needed just 11:06 of the second half to score 34 as they made it rain 3-pointers.

Georgetown, 1-for-5 on threes in the first half, hit eight of its first nine in the second. UConn, which also couldn't shoot in the first half, stayed alive with bombs of its own, but it looked like the Huskies were dead. They weren't.

NOTES: UConn freshman Philip Nolan scored four points in the first half, his first Big East points and his basket was his first since Dec. 17. ... This was the third of four UConn conference games at its campus facility. The Huskies are 148-23 at Gampel, 76-19 in the Big East. They are 3-1 against the Hoyas, who played at Gampel for the first time since 2005. ... Georgetown hosts Rutgers on Saturday, while UConn opens a two-game road trip at Cincinnati. ... Georgetown came in No. 2 in the league and No. 7 in the country in points allowed per game (55.7). ... Georgetown's Nate Lubick came in shooting 59.1 percent from the floor, tops in the Big East and seventh in the country, and was 4-for-6. ... UConn has already clinched its 26th straight winning season. Calhoun's first team at the school went 9-19 in 1986-87 and things quickly turned around, with national titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011. Calhoun sits at the baseline for home games; and no, he doesn't yell at the officials. He stood and applauded the late regulation comeback by the Huskies.
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