One night after Bruce Springsteen rocked the Verizon Center, Providence's Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil showed Georgetown who's boss.
Hoping for a second win over a highly ranked team in as many weeks, the Hoyas were in chase mode on the court and the scoreboard throughout the first meeting of the year with the No 10 Friars. Georgetown battled, but could never pull ahead in the game of runs. Providence's dynamic duo wouldn't let them.
Dunn, a National Player of the Year candidate, and Bentil, the Big East's leading scorer, each had 26 points as Georgetown fell 73-69 Saturday night.
L.J. Peak scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 18 points for the Hoyas (13-9, 6-3).
The momentum from Tuesday's thrilling 74-73 comeback win over Creighton didn't carry over, though Peak and Smith-Rivera nearly led a second straight comeback. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Friars (18-4, 6-3) didn't crack late, meaning the Hoyas couldn't erase the deficit or their previous ills, not to mention firm up their second place status in the conference.
"They have two players that are elite," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They played like it."
Both teams committed 17 turnovers, but individual possessions were more precious for the Hoyas. Despite a size advantage, Georgetown was outrebounded 38-31 in its third straight loss to Providence.
Dunn started slow in each half, but surged with his stellar two-way play. He had four steals and made 8 of 10 free throws. The Big East leader in assists only had two, but one came on Kyron Cartwright's 3-pointer, capping an 8-2 spurt for a 65-56 lead with 2:12 remaining.
Georgetown twice pulled within three points in the last 30 seconds and Smith-Rivera's 3-pointer made the score 71-69 with four seconds left. The Hoyas fouled the Friars three times late, hoping for misses. Each time they fouled Bentil and each time he hit a pair of free throws including two with two seconds left.
The sophomore forward sank 9 of 10 at the line and hit 8 of 12 shots from the field, including his first six. Providence finished 24 of 33 on free throws. Georgetown made 10 of 13.
Bradley Hayes finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoyas.
Providence entered 3-3 in its last six games, including a 75-86 home loss Tuesday against No. 7 Xavier, but now sits 6-0 in true road games on the season.
* Bentil scored Providence's first nine points as Georgetown trailed early before tying the game at 17-17 with a 10-1 run. That's when Dunn began taking over, starting with a spectacular layup while splitting two defenders. Providence closed the first half with a 19-9 run for a 38-28 halftime and led 42-30 after Georgetown opened the second half by committing four of its xx turnovers in the opening five possessions.
* The Hoyas fell to 1-6 when trailing at halftime. Georgetown trailed 30-28 at home against DePaul on Jan. 9 before winning 74-63.
* Thompson said this week that avoiding stagnation is key to attacking Providence's zone defense. The ball must move, but soft, lazy passes would get picked by Dunn who entered the game second nationally with 3.2 steals. Georgetown frequently hindered it chances with miscues.
"How many steals did Dunn have? It felt like 12," Thompson said.
* As he does often, Thompson tweaked his starting lineup for the second half. Peak started for Tre Campbell, presumably to help defend Dunn, but he scored eight of Georgetown's first nine points after halftime.
* Georgetown won two straight Big East games including a victory at No. 5 Xavier last week.
* Dunn, who entered with 994 points, became the 48th 1,000-point scorer in Providence history. Another member of that list sat baseline. Former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. had 1,520 points with the Friars.
*Three of the next four games are on the road, starting with Butler (14-7, 3-6) on Tuesday. Other than a home matchup against St. John's, Georgetown's final nine games are against teams projected in the NCAA Tournament or on the bubble. Butler, ranked most of the season, owns the worst overall record among those teams other than the Red Storm.