Georgetown blew open a tight game with an early second-half spurt and went on to down Loyola-Marymount, 69-63, in an opening-round game of the first Nike Cage Classic tonight.
The Hoyas will play Houston, an 83-80 overtime winner over host New Mexico, in Sunday's 9 p.m. championship game.
Hoya forward Craig Shelton's streak of consecutive field goals ended at 21 early in the first half.
The 6-7 Shelton missed his second shot of the game, from the left corner, and went on to shoot three for 11 for the night.
The victory gave Georgetown Coach John Thompson the most wins in Hoya history with 134.
John Duren, Ed Spriggs and Eric Smith combined for five field goals to lead the Hoyas on a 10-2 spurt at the beginning of the second half as the 16th-ranked Hoyas pullas away from the Lions, who trailed, 36-32, at the half.
The Lions, who lost their fifth game in six tries this season, shot 28 for 70 from the floor.
But guard Clyde Johnson hit his last five field goal attempts, some from the 30-foot range, to keep Loyola-Marymount close at the end.
Johnson led his team with 16 points. Georgetown's Duren led all scorers with 17 points. Eric Floyd and Eric Smith had 13 apiece for Georgetown.
"It wasn't one of our better games," Thompson said.
Thompson said that playing in Albuquerque's mile-high altitude had not affected his team.
"We made it a law not to talk about the altitude," he said. "I heard a couple kids say something about it when we first got here, and I told them to shut up."
Spriggs, Floyd and Duren held off a Lion charge with clutch free-throw shooting in the game's final five minutes.
The three scored the Hoyas' last nine points from the line as the Lions fouled in an attempt to get back into the game.
The Lions sent Georgetown (4-1) to the free throw line 20 times in the second half. Georgetown didn't get a try in the first half.
The Hoyas took an early 16-8 lead before Loyola-Marymount came back to take its only leads of the game, at 19-18 and 23-22.
The teams matched field goals late in the first half until Smith and Terry Fenton canned two consecutive shots to give Georgetown a four-point lead with about two minutes left in the half.
Shelton scored on his 21st consecutive field-goal attempt, stretching over the last four games, on a driving layup two minutes into the game. But he hit nothing on his next shot, a jumper from the left corner. He got his own rebound and missed again. The NCAA record for consecutive field goal attempts is 25.
He wound up with a season-low seven points.
Host New Mexico played Southwest Conference power Houston in the tournament's other first-round game later tonight. The Lobos, decimated by a probe into the academic eligibility of some of their players, have just four players remaining from the 11 who started the season.
Georgetown will play the winner Sunday at 9 p.m. with the consolation game to begin at 7.