University of Louisville

Georgetown fends off rally to end U of L's unbeaten run

Georgetown's Otto Porter, right, tried to block Louisville's Peyton Siva. Siva finished with 15 points.
Georgetown's Otto Porter, right, tried to block Louisville's Peyton Siva. Siva finished with 15 points. AP

LOUISVILLE — Guess what happened to undefeated Louisville on its way to Lexington?

No. 12 Georgetown knocked off the fourth-ranked Cardinals 71-68 Wednesday in the KFC Yum Center.

U of L went down fighting, rallying from a 10-point deficit in the second half to tie the game with two minutes left. The Cards couldn't recapture the lead, though.

"It was a very good win against a very good team in a difficult place to play," winning coach John Thompson III said.

In losing the Big East opener for both teams, Louisville missed a chance to tie the school record for best start to a season — 13-0.

The Cardinals also had a 21-game home-floor winning streak snapped.

Now the Cards can look ahead to a New Year's Eve game — at Kentucky.

"Motivation," U of L forward Chane Behanan said of Wednesday's loss. "Just like any other team going undefeated, winning a lot of games back-to-back, they get too comfortable with themselves. They stop focusing fundamentally and just get out of their game plan. I think we needed this loss."

Georgetown (11-1) won its ninth game in a row since a 67-63 loss to Kansas in last month's Maui Classic.

"A disappointing loss," U of L Coach Rick Pitino said. "Our guys continued to fight, and fight hard. We did some good things with our pressure, but I thought we really rushed and jacked up shots when it was still a game."

Markel Starks led Georgetown with 20 points. Otto Porter had 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Hollis Thompson added 10 points.

Kyle Kuric made five three-pointers and led Louisville with 17 points. Peyton Siva added 15 points, six assists and five steals. Russ Smith totaled 14 points.

Gorgui Dieng, with five consecutive double-doubles, was limited to 26 minutes because of fouls. He notched seven points and eight rebounds before fouling out.

U of L led by as many as nine in the first half, and used a 7-0 run early in the second half to take a 44-39 lead.

Georgetown came back with a 7-0 run of its own, though, the start of a 20-5 flurry that gave the Hoyas a 59-49 lead with 6:14 left.

Key in that spurt was Starks, who hit all four of his three-pointers in the second half. He finished 7-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-4 from long range, and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.

"It was just shots were available and I took them," said Starks, a 6-2 sophomore. "When you're in the heat of the battle, you're just playing in the flow of the game. Shots are going to come."

The Hoyas extended the lead to 63-52 before Louisville turned up the defensive pressure to trigger an 11-0 run.

Russ Smith hit a trey, Siva both ends of a one-and-one and Behanan a dunk.

After Georgetown's third consecutive turnover, Siva bulled his way in close and flipped in a fadeaway.

Dieng tied it at 63, thanks to a goaltending call at 2:02.

Porter scored on a put-back with 1:41 left to put the Hoyas on top to stay.

While U of L would miss three-pointers on its next two trips down the floor, Georgetown added two free throws each by Henry Sims and Porter for a 69-63 lead.

Russ Smith's three with 21 seconds left halved the deficit.

Porter added two free throws with 19.7 left.

Russ Smith missed a three-pointer, and U of L didn't score until Rakeem Buckles' rebound bucket at the buzzer.

"It's never easy going off a loss," Siva said. "But I think this humbled a lot of us. ... We've got a lot to work on. Georgetown's a great team, a better team than us today, and we have a lot to work on going into Kentucky."