WASHINGTON – Austin Freeman and Jason Clark scored 21 points apiece, and No. 9 Georgetown survived a second-half scare Saturday before pulling away for an 86-75 win over DePaul in the Hoyas' first New Year's Day game in 68 years.
Chris Wright added 17 points — all in the second half — as Georgetown (12-2, 1-1 Big East) rebounded from a loss to Notre Dame in its conference opener. The Hoyas never trailed, but they had an 11-point led cut to one with 14 minutes remaining before a pair of 8-0 runs put the game out of reach.
Freshman Cleveland Melvin scored a season-high 29 points for the Blue Demons (6-8, 0-2), who have lost 25 straight road games, 15 straight games against Big East opponents and 10 in a row against Georgetown.
Georgetown was playing on Jan. 1 for the first time since 1943, and DePaul for the first time since at least 1945. The 1 p.m. holiday start — with no band, no cheerleaders and only a handful of students in the usually noisy student section — did nothing to alter the expected final outcome. The big surprise was that the deeper, more talented Hoyas actually let the Blue Demons stay in the game as long as they did.
The shooting-challenged Blue Demons made only two baskets outside the paint in the first half and hit their first 3-pointer with 7 minutes left in the game. Coach Oliver Purnell's team stayed in the game with hustle plays — 12 steals and a 39-36 rebounding edge, only the third time this season DePaul has outrebounded an opponent.
Georgetown shot 52 percent, but Wright struggled for the second straight game. He went 1 for 9 against Notre Dame and was 5 for 12 against DePaul, with all of his baskets coming after halftime.
(This version CORRECTS No. 9 Georgetown 86, DePaul 75. Corrects DePaul's rebounding total.)