Call on Golden Eagles' Buzz Williams shifts momentum to Hoyas
Marquette coach Buzz Williams has a way of making himself part of the on-court action. He also made the game-changing play in the second half of Georgetown's 63-55 victory, which allowed the Hoyas to move into a tie with his team for second place in the Big East.
The 18th-ranked Golden Eagles (17-6, 8-3 Big East) had pulled within 37-34 when Davante Gardner lost the ball out of bounds under the Marquette basket with 12:13 left in the second half. Williams, who had brazenly ignored the sideline all evening to incur "Off the court!" chants from the Verizon Center crowd of 11,821, appeared to have a legitimate complaint that a Georgetown player had a hand on the ball.
Instead he got a technical foul, and the 15th-ranked Hoyas (18-4, 8-3) used the ensuing two free throws from Otto Porter Jr. (21 points, seven rebounds) to kick off an 8-1 run. The Golden Eagles never got closer than the game's final margin.
"I was just hollering at somebody that would respond," said Williams, who boasted that it was only his fifth technical foul in five seasons with Marquette. "We can make a big deal out of it if you want. I got a technical. I'm sorry. I may get a technical again next year. That's my average."
The win was the sixth straight for Georgetown, which avenged a 49-48 defeat at Marquette on Jan. 5. The Hoyas overcame 38.5 percent shooting with 24 points off 19 turnovers and sent the Golden Eagles to their third conference loss against a team that is or has been ranked this season.
Georgetown also got at least two rebounds from all seven players who saw action, including a career-high nine by Mikael Hopkins, who also had six points and three blocks.
"God bless him," Hoyas coach John Thompson said. "He's got to do it again on Friday when we play next. He did a good job in that regard, but he's supposed to do a good job in that regard."
Chris Otule (11 points) made early work of the Georgetown front line, hitting his first four shots, including a two-handed slam for an 11-6 lead. But he only scored three points the rest of the way and finished with one rebound.
After Otule's quick start, Markel Starks (16 points) brought the Hoyas' offense to life with consecutive 3-pointers to put his team back in front and then picked off consecutive passes in the Golden Eagles' backcourt. He fumbled away the first fast break but recognized D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera running with him the next time down the court.
"It's time to win, so you gotta make plays," Starks said.
The Hoyas finished the half with a 9-2 run, while the Golden Eagles went into the break with more turnovers (12) than rebounds (11) or field goals (nine).
Thompson said he didn't sense the moment when Williams -- who had walked into the midcourt circle to call a first-half timeout -- shifted the momentum, but Starks said, "Absolutely."
After Porter put the game away with an old-fashioned 3-point play late, Starks let the rhythm take hold with some impromptu celebratory moves.
"It's one of those spur of the moment-type things," Starks said. "I'm not going to say I play off emotion, but sometimes it's like dancing, you know. You just get into it."