|Cincinnati's Yancy Gates slams the ball while Georgetown's Mikael Hopkins defends during the quarterfinal round of the Big East NCAA college basketball conference tournament in New York, Thursday, March 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)|
Big East: Cincy beats No. 13 Hoyas 72-70 in 2 OTs
NEW YORK—Georgetown big man Henry Sims had the ball at the top of the key with the 13th-ranked Hoyas trailing in the final seconds.
At the end of the first overtime, he put the ball on the floor for the tying layup. At the close of the second OT, he had to force up a 3-point attempt from beyond his range, and the potential winning shot missed in 72-70 loss to Cincinnati in the Big East tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
"I'd much rather have that shot at the end," Sims said.
The Hoyas (23-8) wasted an 11-point lead with less than 8 1/2 minutes left in regulation but twice hit last-second shots to force an extra period. Georgetown committed six turnovers over those 8 1/2 minutes; they had only eight the rest of the game.
"We had some very untimely turnovers at key junctures," coach John Thompson III said. "They got some second shots at key junctures."
In his back-and-forth big man duel with the Bearcats' Yancy Gates, Sims had 22 points and 15 rebounds for his second straight double-double at the tournament. The senior had just one double-double during the regular season and led Georgetown in scoring in only three games before doing it twice in two days at Madison Square Garden.
"He's made a natural progression each year, and you see this year the fruits of a lot of hard work that he put in starting this summer and rededicating himself to being a good basketball player," Thompson said.
Gates scored 23 points, including two baskets in the final 2 minutes of regulation to give Cincinnati its first lead since midway through the first half. His presence also drew the Georgetown defense on the Bearcats' final possession of the second OT, freeing Cashmere Wright to bank in a runner with 7.6 seconds to go for the winning points.
"It was all set by Yancy," he said. "They were respecting him so much -- like when he ducked in, seemed like the whole team just sucked into him, so the hole just opened up wide open, and I just took it upon myself to try to win the game for my team."
After a timeout with 1:56 left in regulation, the Bearcats got the ball inside to Gates, who scored over Sims to pull Cincinnati within a point. Then when Wright missed a drive with 38 seconds remaining, Gates put it back for a 53-52 lead.
Dion Dixon made the front end of a one-and-one with 25.9 seconds to go but missed the second. The fifth-seeded Hoyas chose not to call a timeout, and with the clock winding down, Sims found Otto Porter open for a short jumper with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
Dixon again made just one of two free throws with 19.7 seconds left in the first OT to put Cincinnati up 62-60.
After a timeout, the Hoyas couldn't get their offense going as the clock dwindled. The 6-10, 245-pound Sims found himself with the ball at the top of the key, so the big guy put it on the floor. With long stride after long stride, he barreled toward the basket as the seconds ticked away, releasing a layup just before the buzzer to send the game to a second OT.
"We both were caught up on getting tough baskets down the stretch for our team," Gates said, "so it was just a good battle between two big men, two seniors, too, trying to stay in New York for a day longer."
The Bearcats (23-9) face second-ranked Syracuse in Friday's semifinals.
Cincinnati won despite missing 19 of 21 3-point attempts. Dixon, who scored 22 points in the Bearcats road win in the teams' first meeting, was 4 of 17 from the field, 0 of 6 from behind the arc and 5 of 9 from the foul line.
The teams tied with South Florida for fourth place during the regular season, with the Bearcats winning the tiebreaker to earn a double bye in the Big East tournament for the first time since joining the conference for the 2005-06 season.
Notes: This was the first multiple-overtime game at the Big East tournament since Syracuse beat UConn in six OTs in the 2009 quarterfinals. ... The game had seven ties and 18 lead changes.
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