LOUISVILLE — Georgetown showed its ability to go on runs last week when it nearly erased a 23-point deficit against Syracuse.
The Hoyas put that same explosiveness on display Tuesday night in a Big East showdown in Freedom Hall, and they rallied for a 70-60 victory over Louisville.
The Cards jumped out to a 16-5 lead and held a 35-29 advantage at halftime, but Georgetown (19-7, 9-6 Big East) opened the second half with a 21-2 run and was never threatened down the stretch.
Austin Freeman scored 24 of his game-high 29 points for the Hoyas in the second half.
"We played a perfect first half; they played a perfect second half," U of L Coach Rick Pitino said. "We did everything we wanted to do in the first half, they did everything they wanted to do in the second half."
It was all Louisville early. Edgar Sosa took advantage of lax Georgetown defense for a couple of easy layups, including an uncontested one down the middle, as the Cards hit seven of their first ten shots.
Meanwhile, Georgetown couldn't buy one, missing nine of its first ten. But sophomore forward Greg Monroe started to establish himself in the paint, and the Hoyas whittled away at the early 11-point deficit to get within six at the half.
Monroe dominated his matchup with U of L sophomore forward Samardo Samuels. Monroe established position in the post all night, seemingly got a shot off whenever he wanted and had 16 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Samuels, who lit up an undersized Notre Dame front line for a career-high 36 points last week, looked tentative in the post against the bigger, more physical Hoyas. He was 5-for-12 from the floor, blew several easy chances around the basket and finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
"We missed two layups point blank," Pitino said. "They made the plays, and we didn't. They came in a little bit hungrier inside than we were. ... (Samuels) just ran into a guy who played better tonight. It was a heck of a performance."
"Normally those shots go down for me, and they just didn't tonight," Samuels said. "I was getting good looks."
It took less than two minutes for Freeman to erase the Cardinals' halftime lead. He scored on a rebound basket a pair of three-pointers to put the Hoyas ahead 37-35 at 18:15.
By then, U of L was in a full-fledged drought, missing eight of its first nine shots to start the period and turning over the ball on several other possessions.
That allowed the Hoyas to expand their lead. Freeman's three-pointer capped the 21-2 run and gave Georgetown a 50-37 lead, and he added another triple less than a minute later to extend the cushion to 15 points (53-38) at 9:57.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson III cited Samuels' ineffectiveness as a key to the turnaround.
"We were getting stops," Thompson said. "They missed some shots. Samardo missed some shots he's never going to miss again in his life. "
Sosa had 24 points and eight assists to pace U of L (18-10, 9-6), which probably needs another win or two to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. The Cards travel to UConn Sunday, go to Marquette next Tuesday and then face Syracuse in their final game in Freedom Hall on March 6.