For the first time in three weeks Georgetown has matched its weekend success with a weekday win. Four Hoyas scored in double figures as No. 7 Georgetown (18-5, 8-4 Big East) rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat Providence (12-12, 4-8) at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Junior guard Chris Wright led the Hoyas with 21 points and sophomore center Greg Monroe added 12 points and a career-high 12 assists in the 79-70 win.
The Hoyas jumped out to an early 18-11 lead after a layup by junior guard Austin Freeman off of an assist from sophomore guard Jason Clark. Freeman, who had 13 first-half points, finished the day with 17 points, while Clark, who had 24 points in a win over Villanova on Saturday, was quiet with six points.
The Friars responded with a 22-11 run to end the first half. Providence was led by Jamine Peterson’s 23 points. Sharad Curry added 12 points, going a woeful 1-of-7 from three-point range. Marshon Brooks had 18 points for the Friars.
Providence opened the second half on a 8-2 run to give itself a 41-33 lead with 18:46 to play. The Hoyas responded as Monroe, who picked up two early fouls, found junior forward Julian Vaughn for two quick points. Vaughn had a career-high 19 in the game.
The Hoyas chipped away at the lead for the next six minutes with a combination of Monroe’s passing, made free throws and bunch of Providence misses from the free throw line. The Friars finished the day 21-of-33 from the line while the Hoyas went 16-of-21 from the charity stripe.
Trailing 48-46, Wright picked Vincent Council’s pocket and took the ball down the right side of the court before finishing a tough layup as he got fouled. He made the free throw to give the Hoyas the lead for good at 49-48.
The Hoyas shot 51.7 percent from the floor while the Friars shot 34.4 percent. The Hoyas, who had 11 turnovers, assisted 20 of their 30 field goals.
The Friars dominated the glass, outrebounding the Hoyas 42-31 including 22 offensive rebounds, which led to 20 second-chance points.
“They really hit the boards,” Wright told reporters after the game. “It got very physical down there. Any way we could we tried to box them out and try to keep them off the boards.”
Monroe started fast, assisting on the Hoyas’ first three field goals, but was in foul trouble early on, picking up two eight minutes into the first half. He came off the bench late in the half and got five points.
In the second half, the center’s real contribution was his passing. Monroe found his teammates under the basket and on backdoor cuts, creating easy chances as the Hoyas methodically retook control of the game.
In particular, Monroe’s frontcourt mate Vaughn and point guard Wright benefitted from the big man’s passing.
Vaughn, who not only got a career high but also scored in double figures for two straight games for just the second time in league play, was almost unstoppable. With Monroe distributing from the wing, Vaughn set up shop in the paint, posting up any defender Providence sent at him.
Monroe also found Wright, who found openings off of sharp cuts. Wright busted out of a mini scoring slump, reaching double figures for the first time in three games. He had been held to 7.3 points per game in his last three Big East contests.
The Hoyas shot 60.7 percent in the second half, with all of their points coming inside the three-point line or at the free-throw stripe. Georgetown outscored Providence 46-28 in the paint.
Monroe, who did not pick up another foul after his second, was three rebounds away from a triple double. He had nine assists to one turnover in the second half.
Just to show that he could still score, the center drove to the basket with a little over a minute to play. Monroe took a long pass on the wing behind Providence’s press defense, made an aggressive move to the basket, and, with Vaughn to his left, kept the ball for an and-one layup.
The move gave the Hoyas an eight-point lead, and they made 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Next up for Georgetown is a Valentines date with Rutgers. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J.
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