Cincinnati, OH – Markel Starks scored 17 points and hit some key free throws down the stretch to boost No. 15 Georgetown to its seventh straight win, 62-55 over Cincinnati.
Otto Porter Jr. added 16 points and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14 for the Hoyas (19-4, 9-3 Big East), who won despite wasting a 12-point lead in the second half. They are in sole possession of first place in the conference, a half-game ahead of Syracuse and Marquette.
JaQuon Parker had 15 points, while Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright each scored 12 for the Bearcats (19-7, 7-6), who lost for the third time in four contests.
"Basketball is a game of who makes fewer mistakes. Georgetown made fewer mistakes than us tonight," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.
Starks, who gave the Hoyas the lead for good by draining a 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes left, went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe over the last 47.7 seconds of the game.
Parker drove the left baseline and hit a leaning bank shot to give the Bearcats a 51-50 edge with 6:53 remaining. It was Cincinnati's first lead since 7-6.
Starks went 1-for-2 at the foul line a half-minute later and after Titus Rubles missed a pair of free throws, Starks gave the visitors the lead for good by burying a 3-point shot.
Cincinnati had a few opportunities to tie or go ahead, but faltered thanks in part to poor shooting. The hosts went 9-of-28 from the field over the final 20 minutes and finished 4-of-24 from 3-point range.
Jermaine Sanders and Parker both missed 3-point opportunities with under two minutes left.
Porter made two free throws with 1:16 left for a 57-53 margin. Starks made another from the charity stripe a short time later before the Bearcats sealed their own fate due to a devastating turnover. Sanders missed a 3-point try. Cheikh Mbodj got the offensive rebound, but threw the ball right into the hands of Starks with 37 seconds left.
Starks converted 4-of-4 from the foul line over the final 31.2 seconds.
"I shoot a lot of free throws every day. It just hurts when I miss one or two because in my head I think, I shoot so many of them," Starks said. "At the same time, you have to keep your composure because the crowd gets going and your nerves start to go. You just have to keep your composure and stay calm. You practice this shot every day. You just have to stay with it. I am glad I hit them."
The Hoyas led by as many as nine in the opening half before taking a 31-25 edge to the intermission. The margin stretched to 43-31 following Nate Lubick's jumper with 15:17 remaining. Then came Cincinnati's big run.
"That was a tough stretch where they were picking apart our zone," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Like I said before, we were in zone because of the foul situation and were just trying to hold on. Once we went back to man- to-man we settled down a little bit. Also, during that stretch we made some very poor decisions at the offensive end and we were able to eventually settle down with that too."
Wright (192) became Cincinnati's all-time steals leader, passing the mark of 189 from David "Puffy" Kennedy from 1977-81 ... Georgetown had lost the previous four meetings ... Cincinnati shot 31.5 percent.