Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Sneaks Out of West Virginia With Comeback Win

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – In two and a half years, the Mountaineers have only lost three of the 42 games they’ve played in the WVU Coliseum. ake that four. After persevering through scoring droughts and braving a raucous arena, junior guard Jessie Sapp and senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. provided some last-minute heroics to propel Georgetown past West Virginia 58-57. Down by two points with the clock ticking below 10 seconds, senior guard Jonathan Wallace found Sapp a step beyond the arc. Sapp’s three-pointer, his third big three in two weeks, gave Georgetown its first lead since the 6:42 mark and left only 6.2 seconds on the clock for West Virginia. It looked like sophomore forward Da’Sean Butler had a chance to sink the game winner for the Mountaineers on a nearly-uncontested floater as time was expiring, but Ewing got to the baseline and knocked down his shot. “The effort that Patrick made was tremendous,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said after the game. “To put himself in a position to get that block was unbelievable.” Ewing came about as close to hitting the ball at the top of its trajectory as possible; to some, the block looked like goaltending. When asked whether his block was legal, Ewing replied: “The referee didn’t call goaltending, so it’s not goaltending.” West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins, clearly frustrated by the loss, seemed to have a different take. “I’m not allowed to make a comment,” Huggins said, but added, “Everybody makes their own decisions. It was pretty obvious if you look at it.” Goaltending cannot be reviewed in college basketball, and it would be unusual for the referees to call it on a shot that would change the outcome of the game. The controversial block, which the Hoyas hardly got to celebrate before being corralled off the court, was a fitting end to a close game that was full of emotion. The Mountaineer fans, who kept the arena in a raucous state, reacted with anger whenever Georgetown made a physical play. When Sapp collided hard with sophomore forward Wellington Smith while contesting a layup in the first half, Sapp was showered with derogatory chants. West Virginia also lost a chance to gain the lead at the end of the first half when the referees decided upon review that senior center Jamie Smalligan’s last-second three-pointer – which the Coliseum’s P.A. announcer declared good – did not beat the buzzer. The call allowed Georgetown to go into halftime with a one-point lead, 25-24. “Ugly or not, it’s a win, particularly this year,” Thompson said. “Road wins have been few and far between as you look across this conference, so to come down here, and in this environment, and play against a terrific team, a well-coached team, that doesn’t lose too many times here, is a big win.” For Huggins, the real issue was that the Mountaineers let the Hoyas get so close after opening up a 10-point lead three and a half minutes into the second half. “They were able to close the gap because we didn’t make free throws,” Huggins said, pointing out that the Mountaineers only made 12-of-23 free-throw attempts. “If those go down for us, now all of a sudden we’re up 13, 14. . And if we make free throws at the end, then it’s a three-point game instead of a two-point game.” With 31 seconds remaining and the Mountaineers up by one, West Virginia senior guard Darris Nichols split a pair of free throws. Huggins lamented that the missed shot allowed Sapp’s three-pointer to be the game-winning, rather than the game-tying, basket. “If we make free throws at the end, then it’s a three-point game, and the strategy is a whole lot different,” he said. Georgetown (16-2, 6-1) remains in control of the top spot in the Big East standings with the victory. West Virginia is 15-5 overall, but its 4-3 record in the league has the team in sixth place. Sapp led the Hoyas with 15 points, while senior guard Darris Nichols had 16 for the Mountaineers. Free Throws: – Sophomore forward DaJuan Summers limped off the court with about two and a half minutes left in the game. In the postgame press conference, Thompson said that he thought the injury was to Summers’ ankle. He could not say how serious the injury was, but he admitted that it “looked pretty bad.” The Washington Post reported that the injury was a high ankle sprain and that Thompson said that the ankle is not broken. – “When they ran the play, I actually didn’t call a screen out for Jeremiah [Rivers] and he got hammered on the screen, so the first thing I was thinking of was, I’ve got to find someway to have my teammate’s back,” Ewing said of the final play of the game. “I don’t really remember what happened until I got the block and the game was over. . You just kind of react and I guess in that instance, you leave it up to the refs to make the call. This time fortunately it came out our way.”

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