After trailing by as many as 19 points against visiting Connecticut yesterday, 12th-ranked Georgetown reversed its fortunes in the second half, when Austin Freeman scored 28 of his career-high 33 points to lead the Hoyas to a 72-69 win over the No. 13 Huskies in a Big East matchup in Washington.
Buoyed by scoring 16 consecutive points, UConn led, 40-21, with a little more than a minute left in the first half, and the margin was 40-25 at halftime. But Freeman scored 8 points during a 10-0 run by the Hoyas that turned things around.
“It’s the most heartbreaking loss this year. It’s not even close,’’ said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, whose team lost by 2 points at Cincinnati and by 3 against Kentucky.
He said his team wasted a “brilliant first half’’ with an “awful five minutes’’ early in the second - “when we took our 20 minutes of work, threw it away, and said, ‘OK, now let’s play an even game.’ ’’
Monroe added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Georgetown (12-2, 3-1), while Chris Wright scored 14. The Hoyas’ noted defense was tight down the stretch, holding the Huskies (11-4, 2-2) without a field goal over the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Stanley Robinson led UConn with 16 points and eight rebounds, but he only scored 4 in the second half and missed a tying 3-point attempt before the buzzer.
Freeman, a junior guard, had never scored more than 21 points in a college game. But he went 11 for 17 on a mix of drives and 3-pointers in the second half after shooting 1 for 3 in the first.
He contributed in other ways, too, collecting seven rebounds and three steals and assisting on Monroe’s layup with less than 10 seconds left.
“Part of the thing is you hear sometimes about Georgetown, ‘They run a five-man system. Nobody is a star.’ Austin Freeman was a star today, I’ll tell you that,’’ Calhoun said.
Wisconsin 73, Purdue 66 - The No. 17 Badgers beat a top-10 team for the second time this season, sending the fourth-ranked Boilermakers to their first defeat as Jordan Taylor pumped in 23 points in Madison, Wis.
Purdue’s 14-0 start was tied for the best in school history, but it failed to win its fifth straight in the series, falling to 2-1 in the Big Ten. Wisconsin (13-3, 3-1) took control in the opening minutes of the second half, with consecutive 3-pointers by Jason Bohannon (20 points) making it a 42-31 game with 15:31 left.
Georgia Tech 71, Duke 67 - Gani Lawal scored 21 points and the No. 20 Yellow Jackets (12-3, 1-1 ACC) made several key hustle plays down the stretch to turn back the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (13-2, 1-1) in Atlanta.
During a pivotal sequence, Lawal scored twice off offensive rebounds and made a pair of free throws. Georgia Tech went ahead for good, 62-60, with 1:52 left when Zachery Peacock grabbed an airball under the basket and scored.
Notre Dame 70, W. Virginia 68 - Luke Harangody led the Fighting Irish (14-3, 3-1 Big East) with 24 points, and Notre Dame held on at home after blowing most of a 20-point halftime lead against the No. 8 Mountaineers.
West Virginia (12-2, 3-1) rallied by hitting 9 of 19 3-pointers in the second half, but Da’Sean Butler’s winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer rolled around the rim and fell out.
Texas 103, Colorado 86 - The second-ranked Longhorns moved to 15-0 for the first time since the 1932-33 season. Freshman Avery Bradley had 29 points to help Texas finish off the visiting Buffaloes (9-6) in the teams’ Big 12 opener.
Kentucky 76, Georgia 68 - Off to their best start since the mid-1960s, the third-ranked Wildcats (16-0) took care of the visiting Bulldogs (8-6) to win the teams’ SEC opener. Patrick Patterson and John Wall scored 17 points each and DeMarcus Cousins had 16.
Villanova 78, Marquette 76 - For the second straight weekend, the Wildcats did just enough to hold off the Golden Eagles. This time, Corey Stokes (16 points) and No. 6 Villanova (14-1, 3-0 Big East) surged to a 22-point lead at home before Marquette (10-6, 1-3) rallied, ultimately suffering its second consecutive 2-point loss in the series.
Michigan St. 71, Iowa 53 - Draymond Green had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Kalin Lucas also scored 14 points as the 10th-ranked Spartans (13-3, 3-0 Big Ten) cruised in Iowa City.
Missouri 74, Kansas St. 68 - In a Big 12 opener in Columbia, Mo., the Tigers (13-3) survived a 10-minute stretch in the second half without a field goal and knocked off the No. 11 Wildcats (13-2). Missouri’s Marcus Denmon scored 9 of his 14 points over the final six minutes.
Mississippi St. 80, Mississippi 75 - Dee Bost scored 17 of his 25 points after the break, fueling an upset win by the Bulldogs (13-3, 1-0 SEC) in Oxford, Miss. The No. 14 Rebels (12-3, 0-1) shot 40 percent from the field.
UNLV 74, New Mexico 62 - The Runnin’ Rebels (13-3, 1-1 Mountain West) invaded Albuquerque and topped the No. 15 Lobos (14-3, 0-2) behind Kendall Wallace’s career-high 21 points.
Gonzaga 81, Portland 78 - Matt Bouldin had 20 points and nine assists to help the No. 19 Bulldogs (12-3) outlast the host Pilots (9-6) as the teams opened their West Coast Conference slate.
Oklahoma St. 81, Texas Tech 52 - The No. 22 Red Raiders (12-3, 0-1 Big 12) were no match for the Cowboys (13-2, 1-0) in Stillwater, Okla., as James Anderson scored 28 points.
BYU 83, UTEP 77 - Tyler Haws’s 20 points picked up the No. 25 Cougars (16-1) in El Paso.