CINCINNATI -- The Georgetown Hoyas squandered a 12-point second-half lead in fewer than nine minutes on Friday night. When Cincinnati's Jaquon Parker hit a 3-pointer with 6:53 left, the Hoyas trailed by one point before 12,842 fans at raucous Fifth Third Arena. But from that point on, the Hoyas held the Bearcats to just one field goal, and hung on to their share of first place in the Big East Conference.
Markel Starks scored 17 points and Otto Porter Jr. added 16 points as No. 15 Georgetown defeated Cincinnati 62-55, extending its winning streak to seven games.
"That was a tough stretch where they were picking our zone apart," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III of the Bearcats' 21-7 run in the second half. "Once we got back to man-to-man we settled down a little bit. I thought we did a good job of forcing them to take difficult shots."
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14 points for Georgetown (19-4, 9-3 Big East), which ended a four-game losing skid to Cincinnati.
"This is a big win," Starks said. "We haven't won here in some years. It's a tough place to play. We are thankful that we came in here and got the win."
Parker scored 15 points for the Bearcats, including 11 straight during a 13-4 run, which gave Cincinnati a 51-50 lead. A 3-pointer by Starks moments later gave the Hoyas a lead they would not relinquish.
It was yet another second-half shooting slump for Cincinnati, which made just one field goal in the final 6:53 and shot 30.8 percent on Friday. The Bearcats did not record a field goal in the final 9:21 of a loss to Pittsburgh on Feb. 9.
Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright each scored 12 points for Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6 Big East), which went 17-for-30 from the free throw line and 4-for-24 from 3-point range on Friday.
"We panicked," said Bearcats coach Mick Cronin. "Georgetown made fewer mistakes than we did tonight. Effort can only get you so far. We let our offensive struggles affect our defense. I'm really disappointed about that. Hard to overcome that against a really good team."
The Hoyas entered Friday's game tied with No. 6 Syracuse and No. 18 Marquette for first place in the Big East.
Early in the second half, a backdoor layup by Starks put the Hoyas ahead 35-26, matching Georgetown's largest lead of the night. Cronin called timeout, and his team responded with a 5-0 run.
But Georgetown, which has won nine of its past 10 games, answered with an 8-0 run. Nate Lubick's hook shot put the Hoyas ahead 43-31 with 15:04 left.
The Bearcats rallied back behind Parker, whose 3-pointer cut the Hoyas' lead to two.
"I just made a conscious effort to be more aggressive," Parker said. "I was trying to look for my shot a little bit more."
Hopkins, Porter and Lubick each had four fouls with just under six minutes left. Hopkins fouled out with 4:17 remaining and Georgetown leading, 54-51.
Friday's game featured two of the Big East's top three defensive teams, both limiting opponents to fewer than 60 points per game. And, that defensive prowess was evident in the first half.
The Bearcats, who had already set a school record for blocked shots this season, had three blocks in the first 2:36 of the game.
Georgetown began the game 0-for-6 from the field before Hopkins scored the Hoyas' first basket with 15:52 left in the first half.
Midway through the first half, the Hoyas and Bearcats were a combined 9-for-29 shooting and 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
A 3-pointer by Smith-Rivera put Georgetown ahead 23-17 with 5:37 left in the first half. It was the first made 3-pointer by either team.
Cincinnati went 1-for-11 from 3-point range and 8-for-17 from the free-throw line in the first half, and trailed 31-25 at halftime.
"You've got to learn from your mistakes and win your next game, that's all you can do," Cronin said.
NOTES: Bearcat guard Wright recorded career steal No. 190 on Friday, moving him into sole possession of first place on the school's all-time list. Wright surpassed David "Puffy" Kennedy who had 189 steals from 1977-81. ... Porter is averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in his past nine games after averaging 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in his first 12 contests. ... For the second time in the past five years, the Hoyas have no seniors on their roster. Nearly 70 percent of Georgetown's minutes are played by freshmen and sophomores.