New York—The Cincinnati Bearcats edged the 14th ranked Georgetown Hoyas in a suspenseful double overtime contest in the second game of Thursday’s matinee at Madison Square Garden.
The two teams proved evenly matched during the first 12 minutes as neither team could produce more than a three point advantage. The Hoyas surged ahead, 28-21, after an 11-4 scoring run after the game’s second tie (17) at 7:43.
Georgetown dominated the action until the waning seconds of regulation. A Cincinnati 12-2 run culminated by a tip-in by the game’s high scorer, Yancy Gates, with 37 seconds remaining gave the Bearcats their first lead since 10:11 of the first half. A jump shot by Otto Porter of Georgetown with three seconds on the clock tied the game at 54 to bring on the overtime.
As in regulation, the outcome of both overtime periods was decided in the final seconds. There was a tie and four lead changes during the first five minutes of overtime. Trailing 62-60, Georgetown’s Henry Sims scored a buzzer beating lay-up to tie the contest.
As in the previous five minutes, the lead changed hands four times and the score was tied three times in the second overtime. After each team’s high point man traded baskets, the score was knotted at 70.
After the contest concluded, Gates spoke about how he and Sims contested against each other, “we were both caught up on getting tough baskets down the stretch for our team, so it was just a good battle between two big men, two seniors too, trying to stay in New York for a day longer.”
Gates led the bearcats with 23 points and eight boards while Sims paced the Hoyas with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
The winning basket was netted by Cashmere Wright of the Bearcats with six seconds left. The junior explained the play, “It was all set up by Yancy. They Hoyas] were respecting him so much, like when he ducked in, it seemed like the whole team just sucked into him, so the hole opened up wide open, and I just took it upon myself to try to win the game for my team.”
The dejected losing coach, John Thompson, III, succinctly explained why he thought his team was defeated, “we had some very untimely turnovers at key junctures. They [Bearcats] got some second shots at key junctures, and I think that’s why we ended up coming in here [interview room] second and they came in first.’
The Bearcats will face the Syracuse Orange in the first semi-final on Friday night.