Kansas fends off Georgetown after Hoyas' Garner protest
Hoyas players wear protest T-shirts during warmups as a statement, but the Jayhawks make a statement of their own in tough win.
THE GEORGETOWN Hoyas made a societal statement, but No. 10 Kansas made a basketball statement.
Brannen Greene went 5-for-5 from three-point range and scored a career-high 19 points last night as the visiting Jayhawks beat Georgetown, 75-70.
Hoyas players wore "I CAN'T BREATHE" T-shirts for the national anthem. They became the latest notable athletes to display words on warmups or other equipment in recent days, echoing the last words spoken by Eric Garner as police attempted to arrest him in New York in July. A grand jury decided last week not to indict the officers involved in his death.
Greene scored 16 in the second half, including two free throws that helped clinch the game in the final minute. Frank Mason added 14 points, and Perry Ellis had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks (7-1), who have won six straight.
Joshua Smith scored 20 points to lead the Hoyas (5-3), whose other losses came against No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 15 Butler.
Minutes before the opening tip, Georgetown's entire roster emerged for the final warmups wearing black, short-sleeve T-shirts with the words "I CAN'T BREATHE" in white. The players kept the T-shirts on during the anthem and pregame handshakes, then took them off for the announcement of the starting lineups.
Then came the game, which didn't flow as much as it lurched along, with 33 combined turnovers, yet only 39 combined points off those turnovers. There were 58 free throws taken. Key players for both teams - Greene and Georgetown's Mikael Hopkins - had four fouls by midway through the second half. The leading scorers for both teams entering the game had off nights, with Ellis going 4-for-15 from the field and Georgetown's D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera 3-for-15.
But it was suspenseful. The game was tied six times in the second half, and the outcome wasn't settled until the final few seconds - with the officials' indecision over an out-of-bounds call helping to make the difference.
Cliff Alexander hit two free throws with 1 minute left to make give the Jayhawks a 70-67 lead. Georgetown's Smith then committed the 33rd turnover of the game as the Hoyas tried to feed the ball inside, and Mason made one of two free throws with 27 seconds to play for a four-point lead.
After Georgetown's Isaac Copeland missed a three-point attempt, the ball went out of bounds - and none of the three officials ruled whose possession it was. They still couldn't tell after looking at the replay, so they called it a jump ball, a crucial decision because it gave Kansas the ball on the alternating possession rule.
Greene then made two free throws with 15.3 seconds remaining to make it a six-point lead, effectively sealing the outcome.
Kansas junior forward Jamari Traylor was suspended for the game after he was arrested over the weekend for interfering with a police officer near the Jayhawks' campus. He is due in court Dec. 23.
In other games
* At Kentucky, the No. 1 Wildcats gave up the first 11 points and trailed at halftime, but finally turned aside pesky Columbia, 56-46. Aaron Harrison scored 14 points for Kentucky (10-0).
* At Milwaukee, Frank Kaminsky scored 18 points and No. 5 Wisconsin (9-1) beat the Panthers, 93-54.
* At Ohio State, Kam Williams scored a career-high 23 points to lead the No. 12 Buckeyes (7-1) to a 97-43 victory over High Point.
* At Brigham Young, Delon Wright had 18 points and No. 13 Utah (7-1) prevailed, 65-61.
* At Maryland, Richaud Pack scored 17 points and the No. 19 Terrapins (9-1) coasted past North Carolina Central, 67-56.
* At Denver, Seth Tuttle scored 12 points and No. 23 Northern Iowa (9-0) beat the Panthers, 65-55.
* At San Diego State, the No. 18 Aztecs (7-2) held off Long Beach State, 60-59.
* At St. John's, D'Angelo Harrison had 26 points and the No. 24 Red Storm (7-1) downed Fairleigh Dickinson, 74-52.