WASHINGTON (AP) — Chris Wright had 21 points and No. 16 Georgetown relied on defense instead of 3-pointers to pass its latest nonconference test, pulling away in the second half Saturday for a 68-51 win over Utah State. The victory improved the Hoyas to 8-0 for the second consecutive season, but this one didn’t have the template of the other seven. The team that made its name beyond the arc in November shot only 2 for 9 from 3-point range against the Aggies, but Georgetown made up for it by forcing 15 turnovers – including 12 over a 13-minute span starting late in the first half. Wright was the only player for either team to reach double figures and left to a standing ovation. The Hoyas opened the second half with a 17-2 run and shot 62 percent for the half and 52 percent game. Pooh Williams scored nine points to lead the Aggies (5-2), the preseason selection to win the Western Athletic Conference. Utah State is one of five Georgetown nonconference opponents picked to win its conference – or a division within its conference – this season. The others are Old Dominion, Coastal Carolina, Wofford and Temple – and that doesn’t include victories over N.C. State from the Atlantic Coast Conference or Wednesday’s overtime win over No. 9 Missouri from the Big 12. The Hoyas’ first eight opponents went a combined 174-98 last season, and the Big East schedule has yet to come. The Aggies kept it close for a while. After a tight, defensive struggle for the first 11 minutes, the Hoyas made the first move with a 12-0 run, starting when Jason Clark was bailed out tossing up a lean-in 3-pointer as the shot clock was about to the expire. Officials whistled E.J. Farris for a hard-luck foul, and Clark made all three free throws to tie the game at 13. Georgetown forced turnovers on three consecutive possessions during the run, with Austin Freeman converting one of them into a fast-break three-point play to make the score 22-13. The Aggies responded with a 13-2 run, with Brian Green tying the game at 26 with a 3-pointer. Then Georgetown turned up the full-court defensive pressure and rolled off seven straight points with two more steals. Utah State had the last word of the half, with Williams hitting a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to cut the Hoyas’ lead to 33-29 at the break. But that was the Aggies’ last hurrah. Utah State scored only one basket in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second half, with the Hoyas forcing turnovers at the rate of one per minute. Georgetown worked the ball inside for layups and fouls – shooting 27 free throws to Utah State’s eight – and didn’t make a 3-pointer until Hollis Thompson swished one with 18:06 left in the game. They Hoyas had been averaging more than 10 3-pointers per game.
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