In the Big East's most significant game of the year, Georgetown outslugged Pittsburgh 61-53 in what is probably the program's biggest regular season win since the Allen Iverson era. The victory wasn't the prettiest, with an abundance of turnovers and bodies banging in the air and on the ground, but impressive nonetheless.
Everyone knows about the contributions of the team's big two, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert and to a lesser degree, on-the-money point guard Jonathan Wallace. But I came away very impressed with the way Patrick Ewing Jr. affected the game. He's not a scorer, but he showed today that he can impose his will on the game on the defensive end and in the energy and emotion he brings. There was a sequence during the game when a Pitt player got by the 7'2" Hibbert and understandably, looked to ease up as he went in for the layup. But out of nowhere came Ewing, blocking the shot from the back and taking away what should have been an uncontested 2 points for Pitt. If you can make the rim that difficult to penetrate, you will usually win, and that's what happened here.
Today's win also affirmed for me that the Hoyas are never out of a game, even when they fall behind. Defense doesn't usually take an off day, so their defensive presence is going to be a constant, keeping games close. And their offensive philosophy dictates that they milk the shot clock for everything it's worth, which cuts down on possessions and making it unlikely for games to get away from them. Today, when they fell behind by 8 in the 2nd half, they were able to stem the Pitt momentum and got back to basics offensively, pounding the ball into Hibbert for a 3 point play immediately following a timeout. And watching the Pitt players chest-bumping on their home court when Georgetown called the momentum-breaking timeout had to stir the team's sense of pride. They responded to the adversity, just as they have throughout their now 11 game winning streak, when they came back from deficits against St. John's, Villanova, and Cincinnati.
Now the Hoyas have the leg up on the Big East regular season title and are showing the country that their preseason top 10 ranking wasn't in fact too high, as many had protested. Georgetown and Pitt are the clear class of the conference this year, and I'm hoping for a third round in this heavyweight fight.