MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The ninth-ranked Georgetown men’s basketball team has found the footing particularly treacherous against West Virginia in recent seasons, and on Saturday afternoon those travails continued in a 74-62 loss before 10,526 at WVU Coliseum that ended the Hoyas’ 11-game winning streak.
Coach John Thompson III pointed to unacceptable defense as the culprit in the Hoyas’ first Big East loss this season, but his charges weren’t much better on offense. Junior forward Hollis Thompson had a team-high 20 points but missed 5 of 10 foul shots. Senior guard Jason Clark had 10 points but shot 5 for 12 and senior center Henry Sims added 10 points before fouling out.
Georgetown shot 40 percent from the field and 14 percent from three-point range while shooting 14 for 20 from the foul line, including a handful of misses when it was attempting to claw back.
The closest the Hoyas (13-2, 3-1 Big East) got in the latter stages was 62-58 with 2 minutes 26 seconds to play, following a 9-0 surge that began with a pair of free throws from Sims and concluded with freshman forward Otto Porter’s putback.
The Mountaineers countered with a field goal and two free throws from senior guard Darryl Bryant and made eight consecutive fouls shots in the last 50 seconds to seal the win.
No doubt the Hoyas will be thrilled when West Virginia bolts for the Big 12. Georgetown lost its fifth in a row to the Mountaineers and for the fourth time in five games at WVU Coliseum, which on Saturday afternoon had pockets of empty seats around the entire upper bowl.
It was the first true road loss this season for the Hoyas, who in December ended Alabama’s 24-game home winning streak and last week blunted Louisville’s 20-game run at home. Georgetown’s other loss this season was to Kansas, 67-63, in the Maui Invitational.
“For large stretches this year, I think we’ve been a very good defensive team, and we were not a good defensive team today,” Thompson III said. “Our communication wasn’t where it needed to be, and I think that was the game. I think they executed, and our attention to detail mostly at the defensive end was not where it needed to be to win a game.”
West Virginia (12-4, 3-1), meantime, capitalized with a game-high 25 points from Bryant, who made 9 of 11 from the foul line, and got 22 points and a game-high 16 rebounds from Kevin Jones. The senior forward made 8 of 12 field goals, went 5 of 6 on free throws and added two blocks in 39 minutes.
Freshman guard Gary Browne chipped in with 12 points, making 3 of 4 shots and going 6 for 6 from the free throw line. The Mountaineers made 22 of 31 free throws overall, going to the line 11 more times than Georgetown and converting eight more shots.
“It’s a win against a heck of a team that is really well coached,” West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins said.
The Hoyas never led beyond 4-0 but seven times tied the game. In each instance when Georgetown was trying to push ahead, though, the Mountaineers either stiffened defensively or sank a timely basket.
West Virginia, which shot 50 percent, forged its most comfortable lead roughly five minutes after the Hoyas got to 44-41 with 9:53 left in the game. The Mountaineers thereafter scored 18 of the next 26 points, leaving Georgetown scrambling when it went down 62-49 with 4:36 to play.