No. 21 UConn looks to avoid letdown at Georgetown
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No. 21 Connecticut is looking at the final week of the regular season as a springboard into the Big East tournament and, it hopes, well beyond.
Georgetown is merely searching for something that has proven elusive since Dec. 15 -- a victory.
The Huskies (20-7, 11-5 Big East) must guard against a letdown when they visit the Hoyas (6-21, 0-16) in their home finale Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C. UConn is trying to improve its seeding in both the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
Georgetown, which has lost 17 consecutive games, is trying to avoid the ignominy of becoming the fourth team in Big East history to go through a conference season winless.
UConn has won four straight games, including a satisfying 71-69 victory over No. 8 Villanova on Tuesday in Hartford, Conn. UConn's spectators stormed the court after the win over the Wildcats, who had beaten the Huskies five straight times.
"I think this is going to do a lot for this team's confidence moving forward," Huskies coach Dan Hurley said. "We're looking to have a big next month or so."
He said it was "kind of weird to see UConn storming the court," but added, "The fans deserve it."
UConn was a slight favorite because it was at home.
Hurley wasn't a part of the court-storming because he had been ejected in the first half for his second technical foul, after waving his arms and imploring the home crowd to get even louder. Associate head coach Kimani Young took over his duties.
"I think everybody in our program knew what was at stake and we were ready for it," Young said of the hard-fought victory.
UConn shot 50 percent from the floor in a 96-73 win over the Hoyas in Storrs, Conn., on Jan. 25. Adama Sanogo led five players in double figures for the Huskies with 19 points. They also outrebounded the Hoyas, 40-28.
Georgetown led by one against DePaul with 1:14 to play on Thursday but didn't score after that, missing five 3-point attempts in the final minute of play to lose 68-65.
"We had opportunities," Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing said. "We got some great looks at the end of the game. Jalin Billingsley got a couple good looks."
Billingsley, a 6-8 freshman forward, scored a season-high 10 points and also had three blocked shots.
"This was his best game of the year," Ewing said of Billingsley. "He gave us energy. He gave us effort. He gave us size and athleticism. He had 10 points, three huge blocked shots. This is what I've been waiting for from him all year."
Seven-foot center Malcolm Wilson played 12 minutes and scored nine points, the most he has had since he posted 13 in a Dec. 15 victory against Howard. Ewing clearly is trying different lineup combinations and rotations to snap the losing streak.
The Hoyas had 17 turnovers against DePaul and must cut down that number to have any chance at pulling off the improbable upset. Georgetown had 11 such miscues in the earlier meeting with UConn.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 26, 2022