Rout of Irish in last home game boosts Hoyas to third in Big East
Georgetown made sure it will have a say in the Big East standings before the conference converges on Madison Square Garden. In snapping a three-game losing streak against Notre Dame, the Hoyas overtook and walloped the Fighting Irish with a resounding 59-41 win in their regular-season home finale.
Georgetown (22-6, 12-5 Big East) moved past Notre Dame (20-10, 12-5) for third place in the conference with one game remaining, putting itself in good position to claim a double-bye into the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
Seniors Jason Clark (13 points, six rebounds) and Henry Sims (12 points, six rebounds, five assists) both delivered performances befitting their last game at Verizon Center. Freshman Greg Whittington (15 points) was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, and classmate Otto Porter added six points, 10 boards and three assists.
The Irish missed 14 of 17 attempts from 3-point range and finished with their lowest regular-season point total since 1983.
"This is definitely how we can play defense," Clark said. "This is what we've been striving for."
Notre Dame sophomore and DeMatha alum Jerian Grant (eight points, four assists), who had 20 points against Maryland in the same building in December, missed 10 of 12 shots from the field.
"The karma wasn't good tonight, and a lot of that was Georgetown's doing," said Irish coach Mike Brey, whose team lost its second in a row after a nine-game winning streak.
Markel Starks, whom Hoyas coach John Thompson III didn't play for undisclosed reasons two days earlier against Villanova, was left out of the starting lineup for the second straight game but was first off the bench in the first half. The sophomore guard immediately helped Georgetown break free from a sloppy stretch by both teams.
After Clark poked the ball away from Scott Martin (nine points), who had made his first three shots, Starks finished on the fast break with a determined drive and finger roll, breaking an 11-11 tie. After Whittington added a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 16-11, Starks drew the defense and fed a cutting Sims for a signature Hoyas-style layup.
Sims then became a facilitator, dishing down below to Clark and up high to Whittington, who converted the second of back-to-back backdoor cuts with a slam for a 24-18 lead.
At the other end of the floor, Georgetown clamped down on Notre Dame big man Jack Cooley (two points, zero rebounds), who was 0-for-3 in the first half and 1-for-5 for the game. Grant missed his first five shots.
Clark spun in the lane and hit a floater just before the shot clock expired to push the Hoyas' advantage into double digits for the first time, a 28-18 lead they carried into the break after they pressured Pat Connaughton (six points, 11 rebounds) into an airball on the final possession.
Clark continued to assert himself on offense in the second half, sending Connaughton stumbling backward with a crossover dribble and finishing high off the glass, then converting Nate Lubick's rifled inbound pass underneath. Whittington's second 3-pointer completed a 9-0 run for a 48-29 lead with 8:41 to play.