No. 20 Providence ends skid with 75-72 win over Georgetown
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Not much has come easy at home for Providence in the Big East this season.
It took one of the Friars’ best offensive efforts to break out of their biggest slump to date.
Rodney Bullock had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 20 Providence held off a furious rally to beat Georgetown 75-72 on Saturday.
Kris Dunn added 20 points, and Ben Bentil finished with 16 points and nine rebounds to help the Friars (19-7, 7-6) end a three-game losing streak. They improved to 3-4 at home in conference play.
“This just shows the resilience of our team and how we come back after a loss,” Bullock said. “Hitting shots like I did, it gives me even more confidence to be a great player.”
Georgetown (14-12, 7-6) had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but L.J. Peak’s 3-point attempt was blocked by Bullock.
“Our goal is to try and be a tournament team and this us helps us get closer to that,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “I think the magic number for Big East is nine or 10 wins. That’s how competitive our league is.”
The Hoyas cut what had been a 26-point first-half deficit all the way down to a point with just over a minute to play.
The Friars responded by putting the ball in the hands of Dunn and Bentil, and they accounted for 12 of Providence’s final 14 points to help stave off Georgetown’s comeback efforts.
Marcus Derrickson led the Hoyas with 18 points and nine rebounds.
“It was Jekyll & Hyde. We can’t play a half of basketball like we did in the first half and expect to win the game,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “The hole was too deep.”
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, the Hoyas’ leading scorer, knocked down a 3-pointer — his only basket of the game — to pull Georgetown within 70-67 with 2:42 left.
It was 71-67 when Dunn blocked a shot by Smith-Rivera. But Bentil came up empty on a 3-point attempt on Providence’s ensuing possession.
Georgetown got it back and cut it to a point on a 3 by Trey Mourning with 1:08 left.
Bullock was fouled underneath and connected on two free throws to push the lead back up to three.
Out of a timeout, Georgetown ran the shot clock down and Isaac Copeland was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Junior Lomomba with 10 seconds left.
Copeland made only two of the three free throws, forcing the Hoyas to foul Bentil. Bentil made both free-throws, setting up Georgetown’s final shot.
Georgetown: Had five players in double figures. ... Shot 25 percent in the first half (9 for 28).
Providence: Its 49 points in the first half was a season-high. The previous first-half high was 47 points against Hartford on Dec. 2. ... Had only two first-half turnovers. ...The announced attendance was 12,582. It is the third straight game of at least 12,000.
BIG HALF: The Friars needed every bit of their big lead down the stretch. They had it thanks to an offense that was in sync early, sparked by an 11-0 run midway through the first half. Georgetown fell apart on both ends of the court during the stretch, going without a field goal for nearly 7 minutes, and turning it over five times as it fell into a 20-point deficit.
HALL OF FAMER: Friars all-time leading scorer Ryan Gomes was recognized at halftime alongside 13 other Providence athletes being inducted as part of the 2016 Hall of Fame Class. Gomes, played in 116 games from 2001 to 2005, scoring 2,138 points.
TALENT SEARCH: All three of the Big East’s leading scorers were on the court Saturday. Bentil entered the game averaging 20.6 points, Dunn 17.0 and Smith-Rivera 16.7.
Georgetown hosts Seton Hall on Wednesday.
Providence travels to No. 5 Xavier on Wednesday.
AP college basketball website: collegebasketball.ap.org
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