Georgetown was steady for both the opening 15 minutes and the closing 15 minutes of the Big East Tournament quarterfinals' opening game. It was more than enough to sandwich a shakier middle section.
"In the first half we were letting them get open shots that they're going to make," said Hoya head coach John Thompson III. "In the second half we were much more attentive and then our guys did a very decent job of guarding their penetration."
Thompson's squad outscored Cincinnati 24-8 to start the contest and closed on a 31-10 run after the Bearcats had taken their first lead since the extremely early-going.
Postgame audio from Coach John Thompson III, Otto Porter, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Markel Starks plus the rest of this recap can be found after the jump.
Postgame audio - Coach John Thompson III, Otto Porter, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera & Markel Starks:
15 minutes in Cincinnati had both more fouls (10) and turnovers (9) than points (8). At one point the Bearcats were making 11% of their attempts from the floor. Georgetown's defense did a very nice job of never losing its shape and Cincy was unable (or unwilling?) to go inside, casually launching a series of three point attempts.
When Cashmere Wright's deep triple over the zone went in with 4:37 left, it began a 13-5 run that closed the half, which included three additional makes from outside in a row.
The second stanza saw the Bearcats run off nine of the next 11 to go in front on a Wright bucket with 16:42 remaining. A right baseline jump hook from Nate Lubick - his first points of the contest - evened the score and poised Georgetown would not trail again, scoring on five straight possessions to open a seven point advantage.
During this stretch freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had a marvelous 47 seconds wherein he hit a three in the flow of the Hoyas' motion offense, rotated over defensively to cut off Cheikh Mbodj for a charge on the low block and pulled up for a midrange jumper. Smith-Rivera had 13 points off the bench.
Cincinnati's aggressive defense was to some extent their undoing. It was never able to rattle the Hoyas, who committed just nine turnovers. The Bearcats went over the first foul limit with 10:59 left in the first half and with 7:10 left after intermission.
Otto Porter made eight consecutive free throws in the final 3:29, finishing 11-11 from the line for a game-high 18 points plus six rebounds.
The Bearcats also couldn't get off enough field goal attempts to trump top-seeded Georgetown. In 40 minutes Cincy attempted 38 shots. Thus Georgetown advances to the Big East semis for the 21st time, where they will play the winner of the ongoing Syracuse/Pitt tilt.