BOSTON, JAN. 19 -- Alonzo Mourning made a better-than-expected return tonight, and virtually all was well for Georgetown as a result.
The 19th-ranked Hoyas still didn't seize the opportunity to put away Boston College when they might have, instead suffering through some anxious late-game moments. But they emerged with their first Big East road victory of the season, 56-49, before 8,634 at Conte Forum.
Mourning provided 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 25 apparently pain-free minutes, showing few ill effects from the strained arch in his left foot that had caused him to miss all but one game in the past six weeks.
He was particularly active during a surge early in the second half that helped Georgetown (11-4, 3-2 in the Big East) build a nine-point lead. But the Hoyas squandered the advantage and needed some late-game exploits by Dikembe Mutombo and Charles Harrison to hang on.
Boston College (9-8, 1-5), which lost to Georgetown for an eighth straight time, tied the game twice in the final moments. But Mourning fed Mutombo for a dunk that became a three-point play to break a 49-all deadlock with 1:11 remaining, and Harrison capped his 16-point second half with four free throws in the final 18.6 seconds.
Harrison's 16 points led Georgetown. Mutombo had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks, and freshman forward Robert Churchwell added 10 points. Freshman Bill Curley had a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds for the Eagles, who made but 19 of 59 shots.
Georgetown was just slightly better, shooting 20 for 56. "It felt good to have Alonzo back in there," said Hoyas Coach John Thompson, who indicated that he played Mourning more than he had anticipated. "I think we were a little out of sync with him.
"I think he did extremely well. . . . It showed me what an extraordinary athlete he is, to get out there and go up and down the court the way he did after being out for as long as he was."
Mourning was playing for the first time since Dec. 15; he initially hurt the arch 10 days earlier making a last-second block against Duke, and he had missed nine of Georgetown's next 10 games. The 6-foot-10 junior said afterward that he took his sidelining restlessly -- and that was clear with the exuberance that he displayed tonight even during pregame warm-ups.
"I wasn't out there trying to be Superman," he said. "I just wanted to try to contribute. The other guys have been playing pretty well without me, and I was just trying to get back into the flow and contribute a little bit. . . . It feels good to be back. It was okay for the first time out."
Mourning's impact was felt immediately. He scored Georgetown's first points on a powerful inside move, and he had two rebounds and two blocks before being removed for a breather after three minutes.
"They're simply a different team with him," Eagles Coach Jim O'Brien said. "It was quite an unwelcome surprise for him to pick this night to feel well again."
Boston College got off to the most miserable of starts, failing to score during the game's initial 4:45 and missing 11 of its first 12 shots. After nine minutes, Georgetown led 11-4.
Yet the Hoyas, as they've done in four of their five conference games, let their early cushion go to waste and trailed by halftime. Curley led the way, collecting eight points and eight rebounds by the intermission.
Trailing 24-22 at halftime, Georgetown quickly took command with a 15-4 burst to grab a 37-28 lead. Mourning began the run with a jump hook in the lane, and Mutombo followed with a three-point play off a dunk. Harrison took it from there, scoring eight of the Hoyas' next 10 points.