Jan. 6, 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) – Block. Steal. Fast break. Alley-oop. Dunk.
The sequence that gave Georgetown a 20-point lead in the first half against No. 17 Notre Dame was such a thrill that even mid-mannered Jeff Green puffed his chest and did a bit of a strut when it was done.
The Hoyas won their sixth straight by smothering the Fighting Irish from the opening whistle Saturday for a 66-48 victory.
Georgetown (11-3, 1-0 Big East) took an 18-2 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back, Roy Hibbert scored 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting, and the Hoyas held Notre Dame (13-2, 1-1) to 31 percent shooting.
The loss ended Notre Dame’s 12-game winning streak, its longest since 1973-74. The Irish had been averaging 88 points, but they were held below 50 in a Big East game for the first time since joining the conference in 1995.
“Everything came together – on offense and defense,” Hibbert said. “It was our best game so far.”
For the first 15 minutes, the Hoyas played like a team that deserved to be ranked in the Top 10 – which they were, before losing at home to Old Dominion and Oregon in November. The transition game was working, the 3-pointers were falling, coach John Thompson III’s Princeton offense was producing its usual share of backdoor layups, and the defense seemed to have a hand in the way of every pass or shot attempt.
The performance was epitomized by the sequence that began when Green leaped to block a 3-point attempt by Russell Carter. Carter got the ball back, but had it stolen by Jessie Sapp near the basket. Sapp then raced down court and fed Green for a fast-break, alley-oop dunk to make it 29-9.
Notre Dame called time out while Green was celebrating.
“I try to be a laid-back kind of guy,” said Green, breaking into a smile. “But after that kind of play, you’ve got to let out some emotions.”
Carter scored 12 points to lead the Irish, but he was only 5-for-15 from the field. Colin Falls shot 1-for-7 – all 3-point attempts. Notre Dame, shooting 41 percent from 3-point range entering the game, was 4-of-22 behind the arc.
“They did a great job taking away Falls and Carter, and that’s something that both of them have to understand,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “They’re not sneaking up on anybody.”
Notre Dame, playing its first road game of the season after 11 at home and three on neutral courts, shot 1-for-10 with six turnovers over the first 8 1/2 minutes, but the Irish tried to make a game of it by cutting a 20-point lead to 11 at halftime.
The Hoyas, however, erased any doubts of a comeback by going 5-for-6 from the field to open the second half, including two 3-pointers from Jonathan Wallace.
Then the game turned into the Hibbert show; the 7-foot-2 center had fans on their feet after scoring 10 points on inside moves in a 14-0 run that pushed the lead to 29.
“I’m glad we play them once,” Brey said. “Their size really bothers you.”
Georgetown shot better from the field (57 percent) and from 3-point range (50 percent) than it did from the free throw line (46 percent).
Freshman Tory Jackson, making his third start, shot 2-for-8 and scored five points.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who this week became the first female speaker of the House of Representatives, was treated to a standing ovation and received a “We Are Georgetown” T-shirt from the school’s mascot during a second-half timeout. Pelosi received an honorary degree from the school in 2002.