NEW YORK–It didn’t go to six overtimes like we’ve seen before at Madison Square Garden, but Cincinnati’s double-overtime win over No. 13 Georgetown on Thursday afternoon reaffirmed one thing: March is in full swing.
After a layup by Georgetown’s Henry Sims tied the game with 28 seconds remaining in the second overtime, Cashmere Wright drove the lane with six seconds left and kissed a floater off the glass, giving the Bearcats a 72-70 win.
Yancy Gates led the way for Cincinnati with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting and added eight rebounds.
“You know, one thing–it’s like a proud parent,” said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin of his senior. “You’ve got a guy like him doing that, then it gives you some options. Our offense changed once he started finishing.”
This game will be remembered as a battle between Gates and Sims, who finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds of his own. A main point, though, was Cincinnati’s ability to force Georgetown turnovers. The Hoyas had 14 on the afternoon.
A big poke-away by Gates at the end of regulation preserved a chance for the Bearcats to win in overtime.
“That was one of the first things [Cronin] mentioned coming down the stretch, how we were able to [force turnovers] in their gym, to be at a neutral site, we could do it again,” said Gates. “I think that kind of gave us the confidence and the energy to go out there and make it happen.”
The Bearcats overcame an 11-point deficit in regulation and went on a 16-3 run down the stretch to force overtime.
“You tak about effort and attitude and togetherness and playing hard and defending and rebounding and hanging in there,” said Cronin. “There’s never a better example of that than today with the situation.”
The game doesn’t have dramatic implications as far as the NCAA tournament goes, but Cincinnati now advances to get a shot at No. 2 Syracuse in the Big East tournament semifinals, after the Orange beat Connecticut earlier on Thursday afternoon.