CINCINNATI – Yancy Gates scored 10 of his 13 points from the free-throw line, where Cincinnati was nearly flawless, and the Bearcats completed a sweep of No. 17 Georgetown with a 69-47 victory on Saturday.
The Bearcats (24-7, 11-7 Big East) completed a breakthrough regular season that put them in position for their first NCAA tournament appearance since Bob Huggins was coach. They won five of their last six, including a pair over the fading Hoyas (21-9, 10-8).
Cincinnati made 20 consecutive free throws while pulling away, finishing 24 of 30 from the line.
Austin Freeman scored 21 for Georgetown, which goes into the Big East tournament with a three-game losing streak. Senior point guard Chris Wright missed his second game with a broken bone in his left (non-shooting) hand that required surgery. The Hoyas hope to get him back before the NCAA tournament.
Sean Kilpatrick hit a pair of 3s during a 16-3 run that blew the game open midway through the second half. Kilpatrick finished with 13 points. Dion Dixon had 14.
The Bearcats got a breakthrough win at Georgetown on Feb. 23, holding the Hoyas to four field goals in the second half of a 58-46 victory that snapped a streak of 20 straight road losses against ranked teams. It also became a starting point for their drive for an NCAA tournament berth.
Cincinnati's strong finish put it in line for its first NCAA appearance since 2005, Bob Huggins' last season as coach. The Bearcats hadn't even managed a winning conference record in their first five seasons as part of the Big East.
The Hoyas came out pushing the pace and got fast-break baskets during a 12-4 run. Cincinnati used its defensive pressure to get back into it. There were four lead changes and three ties in the first half, which ended with Cincinnati getting a technical foul and a bank shot to go in its favor.
Freeman missed eight of his first 10 shots. After he made a driving bank shot with 44 seconds to go, he got a technical for something he said. The Bearcats made both free throws, and Gates took an inbound pass and banked in a long 3 from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded for a 30-24 halftime lead.
Hoyas reserve center Henry Sims limped off the court with 5:50 left in the first half. A trainer checked his left knee, which already was covered in a brace. Two minutes later, forward Julian Vaughn picked up his third foul, leaving the Hoyas' front line temporarily short-handed. Sims returned for the second half.
A pair of free throws by Gates gave Cincinnati a 34-24 lead early in the second half, the biggest by either team up to that point.
Neither team could put together much of a run because of poor shooting. Both were shooting 33 percent from the field with 10:04 left and Cincinnati up 41-36. A pair of free throws by Gates and Kilpatrick's 3 started the clinching run.