Jan. 9, 2010

 

WASHINGTON (AP)  - Austin Freeman scored 28 of his career-high 33 points in the second half, helping No. 12 Georgetown erase a 15-point halftime deficit and come back to beat No. 13 Connecticut 72-69 Saturday.

The game featured wild momentum swings and the sort of strong defense and diving-to-the-floor hustle one has come to expect in Big East Conference play. UConn dominated the first half, scoring 16 consecutive points to lead by as many as 19.

It was Georgetown's turn after halftime, using a 10-0 run dominated by Freeman to get back into it. Freeman, a junior guard from Mitchellville, Md., had never scored more than 21 points in a college game.

Greg Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgetown (12-2, 3-1), while Chris Wright scored 14.

Stanley Robinson led UConn (11-4, 2-2) with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Georgetown was coming off a loss to Marquette, but now has won four games in a row against UConn.

These two teams are rich with tradition and high school All-Americans, and there were 25 scouts from 17 NBA teams at the game, according to Georgetown. All of those pairs of professional eyes surely took note of Freeman's performance.

After shooting 1 for 3 in the first half, he went 11 for 17 in the second.

He contributed on defense, too, of course. After his 3-pointer put Georgetown ahead 66-65 with 3:10 left, Freeman took a charge called on Jerome Dyson, who was held to 12 points. As two teammates helped him up off the court, fans began chanting, "Aus-tin! Free-man!" - for all the points Freeman was scoring, it was his grit at the other end that drew the most vocal praise.

The lead switched back and forth the rest of the way. After Alex Oriakhi's two free throws gave UConn a 69-68 edge with 1:11 remaining, Julian Vaughn tipped in Monroe's miss to put Georgetown in front 70-69 with about 45 seconds left.

Wright's steal led to Monroe's inside basket - fittingly, off a feed from Freeman - with less than 10 seconds to go.

Robinson delivered three resounding dunks early - off a follow, off his steal that led to a fastbreak the other way, and off an alley-oop from Kemba Walker. That last jam opened the 16-0 run by the Huskies that allowed the visitors to go from trailing by a point to leading 34-19 with less than 5 minutes left in the first half.

The Hoyas went scoreless for more than 5 1/2 minutes - and without a field goal for about 9 1/2 minutes, from Freeman's 3-pointer with a little more than 10 minutes left in the half to Wright's jumper in the closing minute.

Georgetown missed 11 consecutive shots during that drought, and at one point, its shooting accuracy for the game dipped to 24 percent: 6 for 25.

It all added up to help UConn lead 40-25 at halftime. No one - neither coach, certainly - would have expected the Hoyas to go quietly, and they did not.

At a timeout 3 1/2 minutes into the second half shortly after Freeman's 3-pointer pulled Georgetown within 45-34, Wright strutted to the huddle, waving his arms overhead, urging the home crowd to get louder. After making yet another 3, Freeman held up three fingers and wiggled them while backpedaling down court.

At a timeout, UConn coach Jim Calhoun glared at his players and folded his arms across his chest.

Freeman's free throws ended the 10-point streak and made it 45-41. Then he pulled the hosts within 50-48 with 11 minutes left on a steal and end-to-end drive. After Wright's 3-pointer tied it at 55, Freeman's driving layup with a little more than 8 minutes remaining put Georgetown ahead 57-55.

Up until then, Freeman had outscored the entire UConn roster 21-15 in the second half.