MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler glided down the baseline, rose high above the rim and let the ball roll off his fingertips at the final buzzer. Patrick Ewing Jr. swatted it away to keep No. 9 Georgetown in first place in the tight Big East race.
Georgetown's Jessie Sapp hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left, and Ewing's block sealed the Hoyas' 58-57 victory over West Virginia on Saturday night.Georgetown (16-2, 6-1) overcame a 10-point deficit early in the second half and held the Mountaineers without a field goal over an eight-minute span to win its third straight since a 69-60 loss at Pittsburgh (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Jan. 14."Ugly or not, it's a win. Road wins have been few and far between as you look across the conference," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "So to come down here and in this environment and play against a terrific team that doesn't lose too many times here is a big win."West Virginia (15-5, 4-3) missed out on a chance to join the Hoyas in a share of first place. The Mountaineers lost for the first time at home this season, saw their four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 1-2 against ranked teams under first-year coach Bob Huggins.West Virginia struggled from the free-throw line for the second straight game, going 12-for-23 after making just 11 of 28 in a two-point win over Marshall on Wednesday night.Darris Nichols, who led West Virginia with 16 points, made a free throw with 31 seconds left to put West Virginia ahead 57-55, but he missed the second attempt."They were able to close the gap because we couldn't make free throws," Huggins said. "If we make the free throw at the end of the game, it's a three-point game and the strategy is a whole lot different."Georgetown tried to get Jonathan Wallace the ball for the go-ahead shot."The shot wasn't open for him," Thompson said. "In our offense, we just keep it moving. We have other options. Jessie was at the top [of the key], made a move and got the shot."After Sapp's basket, Butler then drove the left baseline and appeared to have plenty of room for a layup, but Ewing closed quickly from the middle of the lane and swatted away the attempt."We knew they would try to get somebody to drive to the basket," Ewing said. "Jeremiah [Rivers] got screened, so the first thing I was thinking was to find some way to help. Coach always says to have your teammates' back."Sapp finished with 15 points, and Roy Hibbert added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoyas.Alex Ruoff added 13 for West Virginia, and Butler scored 12.Georgetown had turnovers on three of its first four second-half possessions, and Ruoff capped a 13-2 run for West Virginia with a 3-pointer for a 37-27 lead with 16:50 remaining.After 7-footer Jamie Smalligan went to West Virginia's bench with his fourth foul midway through the second half, Georgetown scored five straight inside baskets, mostly off backdoor screens, to temporarily regain momentum. Austin Freeman scored six points during the 11-3 run that put the Hoyas ahead 45-44 with 7 minutes remaining.West Virginia's Joe Alexander didn't start for the second straight game due to a groin injury but came up strong near the end, scoring five points in a 3-minute span for a 52-47 lead with 3:36 left.Georgetown chipped away but didn't regain the lead until Sapp's final shot silenced the sellout crowd. And Ewing, whose father made shot blocking an art during his days with the Hoyas, likely made him proud with his fourth block of the season that sent home disappointed West Virginia fans seeking a goaltending call that never came."In that instance you leave it up to the refs to make the call and this time fortunately it came out our way," Ewing said.Huggins had a different opinion when asked whether Ewing committed goaltending."I'm not allowed to make a comment," Huggins said. "I think it's pretty obvious. Everybody can look at it and make their own decision."