WASHINGTON — An acrobatic tip-in from a player who has scored all of 49 points in three seasons at Georgetown has put No. 5 Louisville into must-win mode.
Aaron Bowen contorted his body enough to guide in the ball after a missed layup by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera with 3½ minutes to play Saturday, the unlikely winning basket in the Hoyas’ 53-51 victory which was the Cardinals’ third straight loss.
“I tell him all the time that he’s probably one of the most athletic people on this planet, and when the shot went up, he just came out of nowhere,” said guard Markel Starks, using the type of hyperbole not usually associated with tight-laced Georgetown. “And he just, I don’t know, he just ... it was unbelievable.”
Coach John Thompson III was rolling his eyes as he listened to that description, but there was plenty that happened Saturday that might have been deemed unbelievable only a couple of weeks ago. A Hoyas team that put up stinkers against South Florida, Marquette and Pittsburgh has now beaten ranked teams Notre Dame and Louisville in consecutive games.
And the Hoyas (14-4, 4-3 Big East) are doing it without Greg Whittington, their second-leading scorer on the season. Whittington is sidelined indefinitely due to academic reasons, the main reason that players like Bowen are getting some minutes.
“I’m thinking of suspending a player,” quipped Louisville coach Rick Pitino, when told that Georgetown is 4-1 without Whittington.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals (16-4, 4-3) have their longest losing streak since January 2010. No. 1 in the country a week ago, Louisville has fallen to Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown and has Pittsburgh at home on Monday.