Published March 12, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — Greg Monroe had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 22 Georgetown finally got the better of Marquette in a 80-57 victory Friday night that sent the Hoyas to the Big East tournament title game for the third time in four years.
Chris Wright followed his 27-point performance against top-seeded Syracuse in the quarterfinals with 15 points for Georgetown (23-9), which put the game away with a 14-1 run with under 10 minutes to go. The Hoyas will play Notre Dame or West Virginia on Saturday night, looking to extend their record to eight tournament championships.
Jason Clark also had 15 points for Georgetown, while Austin Freeman had 12 points and eight rebounds in his fourth game since being diagnosed with diabetes last week.
Jimmy Butler scored 17 points to lead Marquette (22-11), which had won three straight against Georgetown, including their only meeting during the regular season. The Golden Eagles had not lost a game by more than nine points all season.
They still have won only one league tournament title, when they were a member of Conference USA in 1997. They also lost to Pittsburgh in the 2008 Big East semifinals.
It looked for a while as though they might finally reach Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, closing to 56-51 on Maurice Acker's basket with 10:48 to go, but the Hoyas always seemed to have an answer. Wright made two free throws to begin their big run, Monroe added a basket and 3-pointer moments later, and the lead swelled to 70-53.
The run was reminiscent of a 22-4 spurt in the second half that carried Georgetown past third-ranked Syracuse. By the time Dwight Buycks made a free throw with about 4 minutes left, the Georgetown student section seated near the bench was chanting "Let's go Hoyas!"
Acker wound up with 16 points for Marquette, and Lazar Hayward had 15.
Both teams had played two games to reach the semifinals, and early on it look as though the Hoyas were the only ones with any legs left. They made their first six field goals and had built a 15-4 lead by the first media timeout.
Acker started shooting Marquette back into it, though, and Hayward hit a 3-pointer later in the half to cap a 15-5 run that tied the game at 29-all.
The Golden Eagles just couldn't keep it up against the bigger Hoyas in the second half. Monroe took a seat with about 12 minutes to go and returned refreshed, and the 6-foot-6 Hayward struggled to contain the 6-11 Georgetown star. Hayward eventually fouled out with 3:47 remaining and the outcome no longer in doubt.
Marquette shot 42.9 percent from the field in the first half but cooled off after the break. While the Hoyas were going on their big run, the Golden Eagles went more than 7 minutes without a field goal, shooting only 30.8 percent in the second half.