PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- After opening the Petersen Events Center with 43 wins in its first 44 games, Pittsburgh failed to protect the ball in dropping its second straight.
Ashanti Cook scored a career-high 23 points and Brandon Bowman added 18 as Georgetown handed No. 12 Pittsburgh consecutive losses for the first time in nearly three years with a 67-64 victory in the Big East Conference opener for both schools.
Fresh off a stunning 69-66 upset by Bucknell on Sunday, Pittsburgh had two key turnovers in the final eight seconds of this one, as they absorbed their second straight defeat since consecutive setbacks to Notre Dame and Miami on January 12 & 15, 2002. The defeat was also Pittsburgh's second to a conference opponent in its last 23 home games.
After Bowman broke a 62-62 tie on a layup with 8.4 seconds left, the Hoyas (9-3, 1-0 Big East) went to a full-court press, forcing Chevy Troutman to throw a pass out of bounds. Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser fouled Darrel Owens with four seconds remaining, but Owens missed the front end. Antonio Graves grabbed the rebound, but his pass at halfcourt was deflected away as time ran out.
"There was some miscommunication and some bad passes at the end that hurt us," Pittsburgh forward Chris Taft said. "But that wasn't the reason why we lost. The reason why we lost was because there were a lot of breakdowns on defense.
Georgetown, which snapped a five-game losing streak to Pittsburgh, made its first six 3-pointers, including one by Bowman to take the 28-9 lead with 9:33 remaining. Overall, the Hoyas shot 75 percent (9-of-12) from the arc in the opening 20 minutes, taking a 39-34 halftime advantage.
"They hit so many tough shots, but there was no reason why we were down 28-9 in the first half at home," Taft said.
The Panthers were able to claw back behind defense in the second, holding Georgetown without a field goal for the first 5:40. A three-point play by Taft gave Pittsburgh a 42-39 lead with 15:25 left, its first lead since early in the contest.
"The flow of the game changed a little bit," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "It felt like we didn't score for a long time, almost like there was a lid on the basket. I don't think there was a sense of panic because we were getting good looks and good shots but for some reason the ball stopped going in for a short period of time."
After Antonio Graves hit a 3-pointer for a 59-53 lead with 5:20 remaining, the Hoyas went on an 11-5 run behind five points by Owens, knotting the score at 64-64 with 1:41 left.
"In the second half, I thought we had a better chance of pulling away with the lead that we had," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "But we made some bad decisions in transition a couple of times and in some post feeds as well. And turnovers. But it's not one thing. You don't win a game because of one thing and you don't loss a game because of one thing. There were a couple things that we really have to get better at." Cook, who finished 7-of-12 from the field, made all four of his attempts from the arc. Owens and Jonathan Wallace added three 3-pointers shots apiece for Georgetown, which went 11-of-21 on long-range shots.
"It was just one of those nights where the ball was going in," Cook said. "That was because it was a team effort. They got me the ball and I made the shots."
Taft scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and Krauser chipped in with 15, seven assists and seven rebounds for Pittsburgh (10-3, 0-1), which had 13 turnovers as it fell to 43-3 all-time at the PEC.
"This is a big-time test for us to see how good and how much together we are as a team," Taft said. "We have to find a way to get through losing two straight games we should have won. This is the Big East now. We have to find a way to put this behind us and deal with the next game."