Georgetown threw every defense imaginable at Providence guard Marshon Brooks, but he couldn’t be stopped. Fortunately for Georgetown, basketball is a team sport and the Hoyas were able to overcome Brooks’ 43 points to survive an 83-81 nail-biter at the Verizon Center.
“He’s a special player who had a special day,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “It’s as simple as that. We put a lot of different people on him and I think the most effective may have been Chris just because he’s able to get up under him, but even then he scores in every way possible.”
Wright, a senior point guard, agreed with his coach. He had the primary duty of guarding Brooks, but had no better luck than his teammates.
“He’s very tough to guard,” Wright said. “He uses his length to his advantage. I tried to cut him off and make it tough for him, but at the end of the day he’s 6’5 or 6’6 with a 7’0 wingspan so it’s hard to contest every shot.
“He was hitting everything,” Wright added.
To compound the issue, Georgetown’s fast start was diluted by poor second half three-point shooting. After shooting 8-15 from behind the arc in the first half, Georgetown missed all 11 of its three-point attempts in the second half, allowing Providence back into the game.
“We had a key stretch there, where we were making decisions to take quick shots,” Thompson said. “That’s not to say we don’t want to take quick shots, but sometimes when a team is making a run you want to make them work at the defensive end.”
The Hoyas opened an eight-point lead early in the first half and were able to keep Providence at a reasonable distance for much of the first half.
The Friars were only able to cut the lead to 29-25 with 6:18 remaining in the half. That four-point margin was as close as they would get as the Hoyas took a 12-point lead into the break.
The beginning of the second half was more of the same as Georgetown twice took an 18-point lead early in the half, until Providence made its run.
For close to ten minutes in the second half, Providence outscored the Hoyas 25-9 to cut Georgetown’s lead to two.
The Hoyas were methodically able to get a little separation, taking a 75-67 lead with 3:28 remaining, but Providence clawed their way back in with the help of a four-point play by Brooks.
The two teams traded baskets down the stretch with Providence having a chance to tie or win the game on the last possession, but Wright stripped a triple-teamed Brooks on the last play to preserve the win.
Key Players: Georgetown received stellar play from its four upperclassmen starters, Wright, junior guard Jason Clark, senior guard Austin Freeman, and senior forward Julian Vaughn. The four combined for 71 points, 21 rebounds and 13 assists. For Providence, Brooks’ 43 points were the most for a single player in a Big East game this season.
Key Stretch: From 17: 35 to 7:56 in the second half, Providence outscored Georgetown by 16 to turn a blowout into a nail-biter.
Next Up: Georgetown will travel to upstate New York to play it’s archrival, Syracuse, on Feb. 9. Providence has an eight-day layoff before it plays at Connecticut.