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Gorman: Hoyas had Wright man at point

Kevin Gorman
| Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010

The pass came to Ashton Gibbs at the top of the key, Pitt trailing Georgetown by six points with just under two minutes remaining. The 3-point ace had a chance to turn a tense Petersen Events Center upside down, a chance to reverse his untimely shooting slump.

No such luck.

The shot skipped off the rim.

This night belonged to a point guard, but it wasn't Gibbs.

Georgetown's Chris Wright made 11 of 17 shots, including all three 3-pointers, for a game-high 27 points to lead the No. 12 Hoyas to a 74-66 victory over the No. 9 Panthers Wednesday night - snapping Pitt's 31-game winning streak at the Pete in the process.

"I wanted to attack the basket," Wright said, "and create some havoc for them."

Gibbs countered by going 3 of 16 from the field, including 2 of 8 from 3-point range, to tie his season-low with eight points. The smooth-shooting Gibbs picked a poor time for his worst-shooting performance of the season.

"Ashton had some open 3s that he normally knocks down, and he didn't make (them)," Pitt senior Jermaine Dixon said. "He's our scorer. We're going to try to find ways to get him open and he's going to knock them down for us."

That Wright made them and Gibbs didn't was a big difference.

Theirs was a game within the game.

It goes back to their high school days, when Pitt and Georgetown were both recruiting Gibbs and Wright. When Wright picked the hometown Hoyas, the Panthers signed Gibbs. Not a bad consolation prize, considering he was the Big East's seventh-leading scorer at 17.5 points a game.

Gibbs has proved to be the heart and soul of these Panthers (15-3, 5-1), whose record is reflective of his play. This was his first single-digit scoring game since going 2-of-13 for eight points against Texas on Nov. 24.

When Gibbs made back-to-back 3-pointers in the first half to draw it to 27-23, the Hoyas adjusted and started sending double teams his way. That wouldn't have been so bad if one of the defenders wasn't 6-foot-11 Greg Monroe, who forced Gibbs to either hesitate or alter his shot.

"They've been doing that for awhile. It's no secret," Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "He missed some open shots, but he played pretty well."

Wright, meantime, seized control of the game midway through the second half. His reverse layup cut Pitt's lead to 53-51. He drove the lane, spun and scored to give the Hoyas a 54-53 edge. And he nailed a 3-pointer off an inbounds play for a 59-56 lead with six minutes remaining. Another dagger came less than a minute later, when Wright used his quickness to drive past Gibbs and center Gary McGhee for a layup and a five-point cushion.

"When somebody can shoot the 3 as well as he can and drive to the basket and finish over 6-10 guys," Jermaine Dixon said, "it's definitely hard to guard somebody like that."

Wright sealed it when he scored off an inbounds pass coming out of a Georgetown timeout, just as the shot clock expired. The play gave the Hoyas a commanding 68-60 lead with 1:13 remaining. Wright proved to be the antidote to Pitt's aggressive defense, a point guard who could bury the outside shot to draw the Panthers to the perimeter and then blow past them.

"I think we gave him some open looks, and he got a lot of layups," Jamie Dixon said. "He drove us more than we should have allowed. He got into the paint and hurt us more than we've had a guy hurt us in penetration."

Wright did what Gibbs couldn't, winning the game within the game.

And, in the process, he turned out the lights on the party at the Pete.

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