"This is probably the best job we've done for the longest period in guarding,'' Huggins said. "And they're hard to guard, obviously. But we still have some lapses.''
By the time the Mountaineers had any serious lapses against the Hoyas on Saturday, though, it was already too late. West Virginia hadn't trailed since falling behind 4-0, but had struggled to remain tied or hold slim leads most of the rest of the way.
That finally changed when freshmen Gary Browne and Aaron Brown combined on a pair of free throws and Brown's 3-pointer stretched the margin to 49-41 with nine minutes to play. Bryant got involved with a 3-pointer, a drive and a pair of free throws, and it was 62-49 with less than 41/2 minutes to go.
That pretty much put the outcome to rest, although that was when the Mountaineers suffered the lapse that bothered Huggins, giving up a pair of inside baskets to cap a 9-0 Georgetown run that closed it to 62-58 with 2:28 to play. That was worrisome given that the Hoyas were coming off a Wednesday win over No. 20 Marquette in which they overcame a 17-point deficit.
But West Virginia broke a Georgetown press that had been a problem and Browne got a layup out of it. Then when the Mountaineers almost stunningly made 10 free throws in a row - they are next-to-last in the Big East in free-throw shooting and were 12-of-21 to that point - the suspense was over.
"For large stretches this year I think we've been a very good defensive team. And we were not a good defensive team today,'' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "They executed and our attention to detail on the defensive end wasn't where it needed to be to win the game.''
In addition to the combined 47 points from Bryant and Jones, West Virginia also got 12 from Browne. The Mountaineers won the rebounding battle 37-31, and forced 10 Georgetown turnovers in the first half. The Hoyas settled down and turned it over just five times after that, while WVU had nine of its 17 turnovers in the second half.
For West Virginia, there's not much time until the next test against a ranked opponent. The Mountaineers on Monday play No. 8 and defending national champion Connecticut at the XL Center in Hartford.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.