GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For much of the evening it appeared the Georgetown Hoyas were cruising to victory, displaying typically intense defense and just enough scoring to maintain comfortable working margins. But halfway through the second half, as if a lighted fuse had finally reached its mark, the Virginia Cavaliers came alive.
Led by senior Bryant Stith and freshman Cory Alexander, the Cavs seized control. Suddenly fighting for survival, the Hoyas rallied to tie the game with just under a second remaining in regulation on a driving baseline jumper by guard Joey Brown. But that proved Georgetown's last gasp, as the Cavs outscored them, 13-3, in overtime to post a 76-66 victory.
The win pushed Virginia's record to 3-1. Georgetown, 2-1, lost for the first time in three encounters in the annual ACC-Big East Challenge.
Untested in its first two games against Hawaii-Loa and Hawaii-Pacific, Georgetown scored on only two of 11 possessions in the extra period. Guard Charles Harrison missed four long-range jumpers and the Hoyas committed three turnovers trying to force the ball inside to Alonzo Mourning.
"We were trying to get Alonzo started off real well," said Georgetown coach John Thompson. "Maybe we can get back home now and say we made some mistakes and people will listen."
Mourning, limited by foul trouble, scored 16 points in 28 minutes. Brown, whose hectoring defense produced four steals in the first half, also finished with 16 and tied Mourning for game-high rebounds with eight.
Stith, a 6-5 forward, led all scorers with 24 points. "I think Stith is an excellent player and played very hard, and played a great game," Thompson said.
The Georgetown coach also denounced Fred Barakat, the ACC supervisor of officials, as "unethical" for conferring with official Ted Valentine during a first-half timeout. The brief sideline meeting brought Thompson storming off the bench, earning him a technical foul.
Virginia trailed for nearly 24 minutes after building modest early leads, as it struggled to mount a coherent offense. "We came back in the second half and kept plugging away and kept plugging away against another team that played with a lot of intensity and a lot of heart," said Jeff Jones, the Virginia coach.
The Cavs took their first lead of the second half with 10:35 to go on the second consecutive 3-pointer by Alexander. The 6-1 playmaker finished with 17 points.
Neither team led by more than a basket through the game's first 7 1/2 minutes. But the Hoyas gradually began to pull away as Virginia scored on only two of seven possessions after forging a tie at 15.
ACC-Big East Challenge
Connecticut 84, Wake Forest 75
N.C. State 78, Pittsburgh 77
Syracuse 89, Florida State 71
Georgia Tech 80, Villanova 59
Maryland 76, Providence 66
North Carolina 83, Seton Hall 54
Virginia 76, Georgetown 66 (OT)
Duke 91, St. John's 81