Washington, DC – Markel Starks scored the go-ahead basket in a defensive struggle, as No. 20 Georgetown took a 37-36 decision over the Tennessee Volunteers at the Verizon Center.
During Friday's SEC/Big East Challenge contest, the two teams combined to shoot just 31-for-90 from the field and neither posted a double-digit scorer. Starks' jumper with 4:08 left to play proved to be the difference, as neither team could manage a single point for the remainder of the game.
Greg Whittington, Otto Porter and Mikael Hopkins each chipped in eight points for the Hoyas (5-1), who shot just 36.4 percent from the field.
The Vols (4-2) got two open looks on their final possession, but Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae each misfired on 3-pointers to secure the win for Georgetown.
McBee hit two triples earlier and finished with eight points. Trae Golden also scored eight in the setback for the Volunteers, who had come in winners of two straight.
Unable to penetrate the Hoyas' zone defense, the Vols shot just 7-of-26 from the field in the opening half on mostly jump shots.
"I don't think we did a very good job of posting up like we wanted to," said Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin. "But ultimately we need to make shots from teams playing the zone, we have to a better job of flashing against that zone."
While the Hoyas jumped out to an eight-point lead early, they also had little success shooting, finishing just 6-of-22 for the half. They failed to convert easy opportunities inside the paint, missing four layups in the first 15 minutes.
"Going into halftime, I felt we were getting easy shots that we were missing," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "I mean we were getting shots at the rim and it wasn't going in. I don't know whether it was pretty or ugly or what, but I know I've never been part of a game like that."
After Jabril Trawick scored to put Georgetown up 12-4, the Hoyas were held without a field goal over the final 10 minutes, giving the Volunteers the opportunity to take the lead.
Tennessee finally found their groove late and scored the final seven points of the period, including a buzzer-beating jumper from Golden to give the Vols a 18-16 advantage going into halftime.
Georgetown ripped off an 11-3 run during the early stages of the second half, taking a 31-23 lead following a jumper from Starks.
However, Tennessee responded with a 9-0 spurt to grab the lead back, as McBee buried a three to put the Vols on top 32-31 with 8:19 to play.
The teams traded baskets for the next four minutes, with Starks draining a jumper to put the Hoyas back on top 37-36.
Missed opportunities and turnovers plagued each team from scoring again.
The Vols were unable to grab the lead after turning the ball over on three straight possessions. McBee air-balled a three-pointer before McRae's triple bricked off the back rim in the final seconds.
Georgetown's Nate Lubick left the game in the first half with an elbow injury ... The Hoyas will face Texas on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden for the Jimmy V Classic ... Friday's matchup was just the third time the two teams have squared off ... Since 2004-05, the Hoyas have a 102-26 record against teams outside of the Big East ... Georgetown improved to 19-1 at home dating back to the start of last season.