PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -Providence coach Keno Davis shudders at the suggestion that Georgetown, with its No. 7 ranking, is the worst team the Friars will play over the next two weeks.
``If it turns out it was the easy game, I'll eat my words,' Davis said Tuesday night after the Hoyas beat Providence 79-70 in the first of four straight games the Friars will play against team ranked in the top seven. ``But there's no reason that team can't go deep in the NCAA tournament. I hope they do.'
Chris Wright scored 21 points, Julian Vaughn scored a career-high 19 and Greg Monroe had 12 points and a career-high 12 assists for Georgetown. Wright scored 16 points in the second half as the Hoyas (18-5, 8-5 Big East) erased an eight-point deficit.
Jamine Peterson scored 23 points and Bilal Dixon had a career-high 16 rebounds for Providence (12-12, 4-8).
The Friars led 47-40 with 15 minutes left before Georgetown scored 14 of the next 15 points, getting a three-point play from Wright to tie it and then taking the lead with 12 minutes left.
``Road wins in this league are difficult to come by,' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. ``This was a game where things were not going well for us in a lot of different ways. We were extremely frustrated for large parts of that game. That's because of Providence, that's because of what they were doing, that's because of their offensive execution and their defensive tenacity.'
Providence outrebounded Georgetown 42-31, but the Friars shot just 34 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free throw line. Players got tangled up under the basket with 16:43 left in the game, with Monroe and Dixon jawing before the referees sent the teams to their benches to cool off.
``They really hit the boards,' Wright said. ``It got very physical down there. Any way we could we tried to box them out and try to keep them off the boards.'
Georgetown, which according to the RPI has the most difficult strength of schedule in the nation, was coming off a 103-90 win over then-No. 2 Villanova on Saturday.
But they will get no sympathy from the Friars.
Providence is in the middle of a 6-of-8 stretch of games against ranked teams, with the next three against No. 4 Villanova, No. 5 West Virginia and No. 2 Syracuse. The Friars have already beaten No. 19 Connecticut in Providence and lost at Syracuse.
Davis said he had never heard of a team playing four top-seven teams in a row.
``I think what that shows is the Big East, we're not in a down year from last year,' he said. ``I thought our team gave as good as an effort as we possibly could, and for them to come away with a win shows why they are the seventh team in the country.'
Providence led by as many as eight points in the second half before Georgetown came back, tying it on Wright's steal and fast-break layup with 12 minutes left and taking a 49-48 lead when he hit the foul shot to convert the three-point play.
Peterson missed two free throws - Providence missed 12 foul shots in all - then Wright made a free throw. After Peterson missed a 3-pointer, Wright made two more free throws to give Georgetown a 54-48 lead with 9:40 left. Sharaud Curry hit a 3-pointer and PC later cut the deficit to 56-54, but never got any closer.
Providence had a last chance at a comeback in the last 2 minutes when Marshon Brooks made a layup to make it 69-64, then the full-court pressure forced a baseball pass that just missed the outstretched fingers of a Friar defender. Monroe caught it instead and moved in for a layup and foul, converting the three-point play to give Georgetown a 71-64 lead with 70 seconds left.
The Associated Press News Service
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