No. 10 Georgetown shuts down Providence, 63-53
By HOWARD ULMAN
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Gerard Coleman had just four fewer field goals in the first half than his Providence teammates. And he didn't even play.
The Friars' third leading scorer missed Saturday night's 63-53 loss to No. 10 Georgetown with the flu and that hurt their running game. They made just four of 28 shots by intermission, missing 20 straight shots in one 14-minute stretch.
"Not having Gerard is big," coach Ed Cooley said. ""I thought we were a little slow in the transition game."
Somehow, though, Providence trailed by just 31-20 at halftime.
"We should have been down by 90," Cooley said. "It's a credit to what we did defensively."
Vincent Council scored 13 points, the only Friar in double figures. Bryce Cotton symbolized their shooting woes, making just 3 of 17 shots - 3 of 13 on 3-pointers - and finishing with nine points. In his last three games he is 5-for-34 from the field.
Coleman is averaging 13.7 points per game. But without him to worry about, the Hoyas could focus more on his teammates.
"I'm sure they've made some adjustments to probably stay attached to Cotton a little more," Cooley said. "I thought Cotton was tired. He looked a half a step slow."
For the game, Providence made 14 of 54 shots (25.9 percent), the fourth time in five games an opponent has made fewer than 35 percent of its shots against Georgetown.
But coach John Thompson III wasn't satisfied.
"I have come to expect a lot from this group," he said. "In spite of the 26 percent, we can be better."
Georgetown (20-5, 10-4 Big East) was actually better in its first game against Providence (13-15, 2-13). On Dec. 31, the Friars hit only 13 field goals and shot 25.5 percent in a 49-40 loss.
"That is the best defensive team I've seen in a long, long time," Cooley said.
The Friars cut their 11-point halftime deficit that to 36-32 before the Hoyas went on a 13-3 run to open a 49-35 lead with 9:43 remaining. Thompson had seven points in the surge that started with 3-pointers by him and Clark.
"I don't think those 3s made them give up or anything," Georgetown's Nate Lubick said. "They went on a late run."
Georgetown won for the fourth time in five games and broke a tie for fourth place in the Big East with South Florida, which plays at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
The Hoyas held their biggest lead at 57-42 on two free throws by Jabril Trawick with 2:56 to play. Then the Friars chipped away, closing the margin to 58-50 on a 3-pointer by LaDontae Henton with 1:27 to go. But a dunk by Henry Sims and a free throw by Markel Starks built the lead back up to 61-50 with 47 seconds left.
"Our guys did step up and hit big shots when we needed it," Thompson said.
Trawick is one of four Georgetown freshmen who came off the bench to combine for 12 points and five rebounds.
"They don't even seem like freshmen anymore," Clark said. "They accept their roles."
And that's "refreshing" to Thompson.
"They aren't thinking about minutes, points, shots. They're just thinking about how they can help," he said. "That has been a big boost to this team."
Providence did have one edge - at the free throw line. It went 21 for 31 while Georgetown was 14 of 23.
"We've got to make more," Thompson said. "If we make our foul shots throughout the course of the game, not just at the end, then you're not as antsy coming down the stretch."
Updated February 18, 2012