KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Luckily for Georgetown, Jason Clark did not know he was only 1 for 6 from the 3-point line in regulation.
In his ignorance, the 6-foot-2 guard confidently canned three 3-points in overtime Tuesday night, lifting Georgetown (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) to a bruising 111-102 victory over Missouri (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) in a sold-out and very pro-Missouri Sprint Center.
"I was not aware of that," Clark said of his poor start. "But these guys beside me told me to keep shooting. They have confidence in me, so I kept shooting."
The Tigers erased an 18-point halftime deficit but faltered at the free throw line in the final seconds of regulation.After Michael Dixon hit only one of two foul shots with 14.1 seconds left to give Missouri a 94-91 lead, Chris Wright's 3-pointer tied the matchup of unbeatens at 94-all.The disappointed Dixon insisted on shouldering the responsibility.
"I'm a point guard," he said. "Point guards make free throws." Austin Freeman had 31 points for the Hoyas (7-0), who have won their first seven games for the second consecutive season. Missouri (5-1) trailed throughout the game until Marcus Denmon canned a 3-pointer for a 77-75 lead that had the capacity crowd roaring.Denmon had 27 points for Missouri, which missed three of four free throws in the final 19 seconds of regulation. The Hoyas, who hit 15 3-pointers, were also 18 of 18 from the line while piling up the most points Missouri has allowed since Kansas State routed the Tigers 111-56 on Jan. 3, 1998.
"It felt like eventually they would stop making shots because we were out there rotating and we were playing really hard," Denmon said. "Give credit to Georgetown because they made shots. It was early when we got down, and we stayed the course and worked hard and finally chipped the lead away and took the lead. I felt we had the game in control, but at the end you have to finish games with defense and free throws." Dixon, who missed the only shot he took in the first half, sparked the second-half surge and finished with 17 points. Ricardo Ratliffe had 22 points for the Tigers. Freeman, the Big East coaches' preseason choice for conference player of the year, has scored 62 points in his last two games for the Hoyas, who led 54-47 at halftime. After Vee Sanford's 3-pointer put Georgetown back on top 78-77, Dixon's driving layup gave the lead right back to the Tigers. Denmon scored and Ratliffe got inside for an easy basket.
Another Hoya turnover led to Kim English's driving layup for an 85-80 lead and Georgetown called time out with 4:21 to go.Freeman immediately erased the lead all by himself. His driving layup drew a foul from English for a three-point play, then he drove in for another layup that tied it with a little more than 3 minutes to go.
"I think we accomplished everything we wanted to tonight," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "This is a very good win against a good, well-coached team. You have to be prepared and attentive for 40 or 45 minutes because if you start to relax and make mistakes, they will take advantage at both ends of the court. A lot is made of Missouri's press, but their halfcourt defense is just as effective if not more effective. We got down late in the game, but our players showed great poise."
Freeman, as the Georgetown bench screamed "Shoot it! Shoot it!" let the shot clock wind down for a violation and Missouri went on top 89-87 on a reverse layup by Laurence Bowers. Dixon's two foul shots again brought a roar from the crowd, giving the Tigers a 93-89 lead with 26.1 seconds to go.While the Hoyas hit 7 of their first 8 shots and 20 of 28 in the first half, Denmon kept the Tigers in the game. He was 6 for 7 and missed only one of five from beyond the arc in the first half. Georgetown took a 23-13 lead with a 14-4 run, capped when Freeman hit a 3-pointer for his first points with 11:33 left in the first half. The Hoyas' lead reached 18 when Freeman's basket made it 34-17 at the end of a 9-0 spree. Denmon came back with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, then English hit a layup for the Tigers. At that point, Georgetown had missed only four of its first 19 shots and had 14 points off turnovers. Two free throws by Justin Safford sliced Georgetown's lead to 44-34, then the Hoyas worked the ball around to give Freeman an uncontested look from beyond the arc and he nailed it.The Tigers had five players in double figures, including English with 11 and Bowers with 10. Sims had 10 for the Hoyas.
"Georgetown struck the biggest blow early, down 18, but our guys just scratched and clawed and got the game to seven points at halftime," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "They shot the ball unbelievable. Anytime you go 18 for 18 from the free throw line and you've got to go to overtime to win, that tells you a little bit about our basketball team."