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March 9, 2006

Georgetown holds off Marquette

NEW YORK - After struggling offensively for 30 minutes, Brandon Bowman came through for Georgetown in the end.

Bowman went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to help No. 23 Georgetown hold off Marquette 62-59 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.

''People have a tendency to look at points, but Brandon did all the things we needed to win,'' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.

Bowman scored 12 of his 14 points in the final 10 minutes and had seven rebounds for the Hoyas (21-8).

Steve Novak hit his sixth 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds left to bring Marquette within 60-59. But Bowman restored the three-point lead with two free throws with 5.1 seconds left. Jerel McNeal missed a 30-footer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

''He got a good look at the basket,'' Novak said. ''Unfortunately, it just didn't go in.''

Georgetown will face Syracuse on Friday night in the semifinals. Syracuse shocked top-ranked Connecticut 86-84 in overtime earlier Thursday. It will be the 12th time the schools have met in the tournament, with Georgetown leading 6-5. Five of the meetings came in championship games, with Georgetown winning four.

''It's Georgetown-Syracuse at the Garden, that says it all,'' Thompson said.

Georgetown led Marquette 49-48 with 5 minutes left before using a 9-2 run to take a 58-50 advantage with 37.7 seconds remaining. Bowman had six during that stretch.

Marquette (20-10) then scored the next six points, capped by Dominic Jones' layup with 12.9 seconds left to close to 58-56.

''It's very hard to come back on this team,'' Marquette coach Tom Crean said.

Jones, who was the conference's freshman of the year, was 2-of-15 from the field.

''Shots weren't falling for me but I just tried to maintain my aggressiveness,'' Jones said.

Bowman then ended the run with two free throws with 11.5 seconds left before Novak's last 3-pointer.

It was the second straight day that Bowman came up big for the Hoyas. He hit the key basket on a driving left-handed layup in the Hoyas' 67-63 opening round win over Notre Dame.

Jeff Green had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists to lead Georgetown. Ashanti Cook added 16 points.

Novak finished with 18 points and Wesley Matthews scored 14 points for Marquette, which had a first-round bye.

For the second straight game, Georgetown got off to a slow start. The Hoyas, who missed their first 12 shots on Wednesday, found themselves down 20-9 with 9:03 left in the first half. Georgetown closed the half on a 13-2 run to go into the break tied at 22.

''Any win in March is good, we hung in there,'' Thompson said.

Georgetown, which led the conference in field goal percentage at 47.6, struggled again from the field. A day after shooting 41.4 percent (24-for-58) against the Irish, the Hoyas shot 41.2 against Marquette. Georgetown made two of 10 3-pointers.

Marquette, which beat then-No. 17 Georgetown 57-51 on Feb. 16 in the only game between the teams this season, shot 39.6 percent from the field (21-for-53). The Golden Eagles were 9-for-31 (29 percent) in the first half.

''There are going to be times when your shots aren't falling,'' Crean said.

Marquette was one of three former Conference USA teams playing in the Big East tournament in their first season in the league, along with Louisville and Cincinnati. DePaul and South Florida didn't qualify.

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