CINCINNATI — Otto Porter Jr. scored 16 points while playing in foul trouble, and No. 15 Georgetown wasted a 12-point lead in the second half before rallying for its seventh straight win Friday night, 62-55 over Cincinnati.
Markel Starks hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and made five free throws in final minute, helping the Hoyas (19-4, 9-3) stay atop the Big East. They were tied with Syracuse and Marquette heading into the weekend games.
Starks finished with 17 points. Freshman D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 14.
Cincinnati (19-7, 7-6) has lost three of its last four games with poor shooting. The Bearcats shot only 31.5 percent from the field and went 4 of 24 behind the arc. JaQuon Parker led with 15 points.
Point guard Cashmere Wright established a Cincinnati record for career steals, but went only 5 of 14 from the field while scoring 12 points.
The Hoyas had lost their last four games against the Bearcats and hadn't won in Cincinnati since the 2006-07 season.
Now, the Hoyas have the longest active win streak in the Big East, winning with a patient but low-scoring offense — only 64.3 points per game — and a defense that allows only 55.7 points per game, seventh nationally.
After pulling ahead for the last time with 6:53 left, the Bearcats managed only one more field goal the rest of the way.
Georgetown's surge has been led by Starks, a junior guard, and Porter, a sophomore forward who leads the Hoyas in scoring and rebounding. Both were in foul trouble in the second half, limiting Georgetown's offense.
The 6-foot-8 Porter helped the Hoyas get off to a 13-9 lead, hitting two baskets and a free throw while the Bearcats' long-standing shooting problems continued. They missed 11 of their first 14 shots from the field and 5 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Smith-Rivera hit a 3-pointer — the first by either team after 12 combined misses — and had two free throws, and Nate Lubick scored a couple baskets inside off passes for a 29-20 advantage, the biggest lead by either team in the half.
The Bearcats shot only 31 percent from the field and went 1 of 11 from behind the arc in the half. The Hoyas led most of the way despite going 1 for 9 on 3-point tries.
Georgetown was more aggressive at attacking the basket in the second half. Porter had four points during an 8-0 run that built the lead to 43-31 while the Bearcats struggled to make even a close-up shot, drawing groans from the season-high crowd of 12,842.
Parker got the Bearcats going. He scored 11 consecutive points, including a driving back shot that gave Cincinnati a 51-50 lead with 6:53 to go.
Porter picked up his fourth foul during Parker's scoring spurt and went to the bench, temporarily costing the Hoyas their leading scorer and rebounder. Porter got back into the game and made a pair of free throws for a 57-53 lead with 1:16 left.
The Bearcats never threatened again.
Wright has been struggling to score since spraining his right knee and aggravating his left shoulder in the last few weeks. He's only 10 of 49 from behind the arc in the last seven games, his shot thrown off by the injuries.