PROVIDENCE, R.I., JAN. 13 -- Pressure was squarely on the shoulders of Providence senior guard Delray Brooks tonight. The Friars' second-leading scorer, Marty Conlon, quit the team earlier in the day, making Brooks the primary offensive threat.
Brooks responded with a game-high 28 points, including a game-clinching three-pointer with 1:17 left, giving the Friars a 78-74 upset win over 11th-ranked Georgetown before 12,696 at the Providence Civic Center.
"I just wanted to try to be more aggressive offensively tonight," Brooks said. "I didn't have a very good ball game against Connecticut, and it definitely upset me personally. I felt if our team is going to be successful, I had to play better than I did against Connecticut."
Perry McDonald scored 21 points for the Hoyas (11-2, 1-1 in the Big East), including a layin off Mark Tillmon's pass that put Georgetown up, 74-72, with 3:14 left. McDonald had tied the game seconds earlier when he picked up a loose ball under the hoop and scored.
And Georgetown, whose players departed immediately after changing in a locker room closed to the media, had a chance to increase its lead when guard Dwayne Bryant was fouled with 2:32 left after making a key steal. But Bryant missed the front end of the one-and-one.
In the second half, Georgetown missed 12 of 23 free throws (47.8 percent).
"We knew that Georgetown was a very poor-shooting foul team," said Providence's Darryl Wright. "So we knew if they went to the basket, and you were out of position, foul them hard and make them go to the line and earn the two, and box out on the foul line."
The Friars, who had played poorly down the stretch and squandered a nine-point second-half lead, had the ball in the hands of their point guard Carlton Screen. Screen tried a three-pointer that missed, and the Hoyas' McDonald got his hands on the rebound.
But Providence's Steve Wright (10 points) snatched the ball away from McDonald and tossed it back to Brooks, who buried the three-pointer from the right wing to give Providence a 75-74 lead.
Brooks hit just one of nine shots last Saturday, and missed all seven three-point attempts, when the Friars (8-4, 2-1 in the Big East) lost to Connecticut, 79-72. But tonight, he hit on eight of 15 shots, including seven of 11 three-pointers.
"Delray is a great player, and great players don't have any off days," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson.
After the basket, Georgetown came downcourt, but Sam Jefferson was called for a double-dribble with 55 seconds to play. Providence then tried to run out as much of the 45-second clock as possible before taking a shot. But Georgetown's pressure man-to-man defense (which helped to force 24 turnovers) got the ball back. Briefly.
Bryant took the ball cleanly from Screen and came up dribbling. Tillmon (18 points, 14 in the first half) already had broken for the Hoyas basket and was all alone for an easy layin. But Screen stole the ball back from behind Bryant before Bryant could get the pass off.
"I don't think we had any hands today, and those days come," said Thompson of his team's 21 turnovers. He said that when teams turn the ball over against the Hoyas he credits his defense, "so I have to say it's their defense if the same thing happens."
Forced to foul, Charles Smith (16 points) grabbed Screen, who hit two free throws with 11 seconds to play to put the Friars up by 77-74. Georgetown had a chance to tie, but Jaren Jackson's three-point attempt from the left corner fell into Brooks' hands. He hit one of two free throws for the final margin.
"I waited 15 years for this moment, and I knew it was going to come someday," said Providence Coach Gordon Chiesa, who has been under fire here for his team's play. Chiesa has had his players going through two-a-day practices for most of the season, and apparently had been very hard on Conlon.
Fans were hard on Chiesa tonight, giving him a round of boos when he was introduced before the game.
"I'm normally a man who tells the truth," Chiesa said, "but I'm going to take one step back because of a player-coach relationship. At 10 this morning, Marty Conlon came into my office and said, 'Coach, I'm not going to play tonight. I'm going to sort out what's important to me.' That's all I'm going to say."
Both teams played poorly in the opening minutes tonight. The first field goal (by McDonald) came at the 17:30 mark, and Providence didn't score until a jumper by Eric Murdock with 14:38 to play in the half.
Brooks hit four three-pointers, including a bomb from beyond the NBA three-point line, to put Providence up by 10. But Georgetown, down 27-17, put on a 16-0 run with eight points each from Smith and Tillmon to take a 33-27 lead.
Providence then put on a run of its own, coming back from a 38-30 deficit to close the lead to 43-42 at the half.GEORGETOWN Min FG FT R A PF T McDonald 34 7-13 7-11 12 2 2 21 Tucker 7 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0 Allen 8 0-2 1-2
Halftime: Georgetown, 43-42.
Three-point goals: Georgetown 3-10 (Tillmon 3-8, Smith 0-1, Jackson 0-1); Providence 9-14 (Burton 0-1, D. W
A -- 12,696.