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Georgetown smothers Notre Dame in South Bend

The SportsXchange

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Few teams ever find the key to beating Notre Dame on the Irish's home court. Georgetown figured defense might be the ticket Monday.

The Hoyas limited -- and often shut down -- the Big East's No. 3 offense on the way to a 63-47 victory over the No. 24 Irish at Purcell Pavilion.

"Our defensive effort was really good today," Geogetown coach John Thompson III said. "We were on the same page and we made things difficult for them. And that's just hard work. There's no magic formula."

Notre Dame lost for only the third time in its last 50 home games, and 47 points is the fewest points in a game for Notre Dame since a 57-32 home loss to UCLA on Jan. 29, 1972.

Otto Porter Jr. scored 19 points, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14 points and Moses Ayegba had 10 rebounds in Georgetown's second win in South Bend in seven meetings since 2003.

The Irish (15-4, 3-3) fell behind by as many as 13 points early, then trailed by 13 at halftime and saw the Hoyas (13-4, 3-3) beat back several second-half challenges in a Big East clash in front of a raucous crowd of 9,149.

"It was a thorough beating," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "It was like men vs. boys. They really defended us."

Pat Connaughton scored 12 points for Notre Dame, Jerian Grant had 11 points while Jack Cooley collected 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Irish had nearly erased the 13-point halftime deficit with 12:23 left in the second half when Connaughton's layup trimmed the Hoya lead to 40-37.

Smith-Rivera then missed a 3-point shot but Georgetown regained possession on Ayegba's timely offensive rebound. Smith-Rivera then made up for his previous miss with a successful long-distance shot for a 43-37 lead.

"That was really the turning point of the game," Cooley said. "If we would have gotten that rebound, who knows what would have happened."

Smith-Rivera scored eight points over a two-minute span and Porter added two jumpers as Georgetown extended its lead to 52-37 with 6:20 to play.

By the 4:51 mark, the Hoyas were working on an 18-0 run that opened a 58-37 lead, and many in the quieted crowd started to depart into a snowy South Bend night.

"It was an eerie feeling to be out of it the last 10 minutes in our home building," Brey said. "It was creepy. It was not pleasant."

The Irish were plagued by poor shooting all night, ending 17-of-49 (37.9 percent) from the field, and were outrebounded 35-24. The Hoyas, meanwhile, were 24-of-45 (53.3 percent).

The Irish set a sluggish early tone, missing their first four shots and going 2-of-8 (25 percent) through the game's first 8:22.

Georgetown, meanwhile, built a 17-8 lead behind 10 quick points from Porter. He was perfect across the board, going 3-of-3 from the field -- including two 3-pointers -- and was 2-of-2 on free throws.

"The key was to come out from the tip, get that quick start and jump right on," Porter said. "And that's kind of what our game plan was and we just went from there."

Porter had five points in an 11-0 run as the Hoyas opened a 21-8 lead with 10:21 left in the opening half.

But Georgetown hit a cold spell with three straight misses and a turnover while the Irish temporarily shook off their offensive doldrums. Connaughton launched a 13-4 Notre Dame run with a 3-pointer with 10 minutes left. Less than five minutes later, the Georgetown lead was down to four at 25-21.

The surge stopped right there. Georgetown closed the half with nine unanswered points -- including a Porter buzzer-beater -- for a 34-21 halftime edge.

NOTES: Thompson continues to succeed without a senior in sight. He has 10 freshmen and sophomores on the 15-man roster, including sophomore Porter. He landed on the Big East honor roll this week after averaging 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and a 59.3 percent shooting from the field last week ... Notre Dame junior guard Eric Atkins also earned Big East weekly honors as he averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals as the Irish split a pair of conference contests ... The Irish rank third in Big East scoring with a 74.6 points-per-game average and seventh in scoring defense (61.7 points). Georgetown was 14th in scoring (64.1 points) but second in scoring defense (56.3) ... Both teams resume play with noon Saturday dates. Georgetown hosts Louisville while Notre Dame is at South Florida.
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