Hoyas rally back to end two-game Big East losing streak

WASHINGTON -- Greg Monroe took a pass from Jason Clark, split two defenders on his way through the lane and rose for a dunk while getting fouled.

Monroe chest-bumped Henry Sims, pounded a fist on his heart and yelled, "Let's go!" -- then composed himself and completed his three-point play.

Monroe, Clark and Sims are all freshmen, and all were on the court throughout a 21-2 run in the second half that helped Georgetown (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) rally to beat Providence 82-75 Saturday, ending the Hoyas' two-game Big East losing streak.

"I hope we grew up," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.

His team was trailing, and its two most experienced players were on the sideline -- including leading scorer DaJuan Summers, saddled with four fouls. So Thompson turned to a lineup of three freshmen and two sophomores.

That group played like a bunch of veterans while holding Providence scoreless for more than 6 minutes in the second half, and Monroe led the way, nearly compiling a triple-double.

"Putting the ball in his hands makes life easier on everyone else, and I think our guys realize that," Thompson said. "He's not a selfish player. He does a good job of figuring out, 'OK, now it's my turn.'"

After a one-basket first half, Monroe finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and five steals. Austin Freeman scored 18 points, and another sophomore, Chris Wright, added 16, while Clark had 10.

Georgetown (11-3, 2-2) trailed by nine points in the first half, and allowed Providence (11-5, 3-1) to go ahead 44-40 on Brian McKenzie's 3-pointer with 16:15 left in the game.

Providence didn't score again until a little more than 10 minutes remained, and by then Georgetown had scored 15 consecutive points.

"I still don't know what happened. I'm shocked," said Marshon Brooks, who led the Friars with 18 points. "We hit a brick wall in the second half."

He helped make things interesting down the stretch after Georgetown had gone ahead 66-50.

Providence chipped away, pulling to 76-73, but Weyinmi Efejuku wasted a chance to make it a one-point game when he missed a layup after a steal with about a minute left. Monroe finished off a fastbreak the other way with a rim-shaking, two-handed slam, making it 78-73 with 56.3 seconds left.

Similarly, Monroe and the other first-year players were in the right places at the right times during the game's key stretch. Clark, who had made only four 3-pointers all season, connected from beyond the arc to put Georgetown ahead 45-44 -- the Hoyas' first lead since 8-6.

A few minutes later came Monroe's three-point play. Then Sims grabbed a defensive rebound and was rewarded with a layup off an assist by Monroe at the other end. And Monroe's two foul shots made it 55-44.

"They've got some great players on their team, and he's one of them, near the top of the list," Providence coach Keno Davis said about Monroe. "And just to have a player that size to be that skilled is nice for any coach. You can do a lot of things with him, against a zone or against a man."

Still, Georgetown was coming off losses to current No. 1 Pittsburgh and No. 13 Notre Dame -- and struggled early against unranked Providence, which had won four games in a row.

Helped by two droughts by the Hoyas of longer than 3½ minutes without a field goal, Providence took a 21-12 lead midway through the first half on Efejuku's dunk.

When Monroe came back in with about 3 minutes left in the first half after taking a breather, he had more personal fouls (two) than rebounds (one) -- and had yet to attempt a field goal or a free throw.

The Hoyas trailed by eight at that point, but Monroe helped trim that deficit to 36-33 at halftime. First, the 6-foot-11 freshman grabbed an offensive rebound and zipped a pass to Summers for a dunk, then Monroe finally scored his only points of the half off a putback with 1:04 to go.

"Once we started getting him the ball," Thompson said, "we started getting really easy shots."