CINCINNATI -- It's been tough to get a handle on the Georgetown Hoyas this season.
They lost to Radford, Monmouth, and UNC Asheville, but also beat Syracuse, with losses by a combined 11 points to Duke, Maryland and Villanova.
But, on Tuesday night, coach John Thompson III's team finally finished off a signature win, 81-72 against 5th-ranked Xavier at Cintas Center.
"I told our guys before the game that we've been close ... but here's another opportunity," Thompson III said. "To come in here and get this win against a team playing at such a high level feels good. We're now over the hump."
Tre Campbell was the unlikely hero for the Hoyas, scoring 17 of his career-high 21 points in the first half. He came in averaging 3 1/2 points per game.
Senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 20 for Georgetown (12-7, 5-2 Big East), which had lost four of five against the Musketeers including all three meetings last season.
"It feels good to win here for the first time, in my last time coming here," Smith-Rivera said.
It was a humbling loss for Xavier (16-2, 4-2 Big East) which fell to 9-1 at home.
The Musketeers were outrebounded for the first time this season, 39-35, and shot a season-low 35.3 percent.
Prior to Tuesday, Xavier and Purdue were the only teams which hadn't been bested on the boards this season.
"Guys did a good job of committing themselves to boxing out and pursuing the ball," Thompson III said. "(Xavier) gets second possessions and limits you to one. That was a key part of what we were trying to control today."
Sophomore guard L.J. Peak had 10 boards while scoring 13 points. Freshman center Jessie Govan also had 13 points for Georgetown.
Three players scored in double figures in a losing effort for Xavier which was led by sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett's 18.
The Musketeers welcomed back freshman guard Edmond Sumner to the starting lineup, but he was just 2-for-12 shooting while scoring 10 points.
The Hoyas led by 10 points on a couple occasions in the second half Tuesday.
Bluiett rallied Xavier to within five with a 3-pointer. But, Georgetown had an answer for every Musketeers' run.
Smith-Rivera and Peak hit clutch 3-pointers to help the Hoyas maintain control late in the game.
"You just tip your cap," said Xavier coach Chris Mack. "Zone, man ... we couldn't get stops. They had an answer for every little bit of momentum we tried to gain. We were going to get Georgetown's best. We knew that."
Guard Myles Davis hit a 3-pointer to keep the Musketeers close. He finished with 15 points.
Xavier, which hadn't been played closer than eight points in any of its 16 wins, cut its deficit to six points with 1:25 left, but the Hoyas hung on.
"We knew this wasn't going to be easy, regardless of their record," said Davis. "We didn't get them out of their comfort zone. I'm sure their scouting report was to be tougher than Xavier. Tonight they were."
Center Bradley Hayes, who's been a force in the post in recent weeks for Georgetown, picked up his third foul with 7:42 left in the first half. He had nine points.
Plenty of other Hoyas picked up the slack, however, namely Campbell who's hot shooting carried Georgetown in the first half.
He went 5 of 6 from beyond the arc en route to his career-high 17 points before halftime.
"Typically when you play guys who average three and a half points a game, those shots don't fall," said Mack. "You tip your cap."
Turnovers have been an issue in recent games for Xavier, which didn't commit its first Tuesday until 4:53 remained in the first half, but finished with 11.
Eight players scored in the first half for Xavier, but the Hoyas led 39-33 at the break.
Xavier didn't get any closer than five points down the stretch.
"We couldn't get over the hump," Mack said. "Georgetown was better than us tonight. It's a very tough league. Every night's going to be a challenge. You're judged by how you bounce back."
NOTES: Xavier freshman G Edmond Sumner made his first start since suffering a concussion Dec.31 at Villanova. ... F Jalen Reynolds who averages 9.6 points and 6.7 rebounds, didn't start for Xavier on Tuesday. It was the second time this season he hasn't started a game, with practice effort cited as the reason. Reynolds remained on the bench until the 12:12 mark of the first half. ... Xavier's No. 5 ranking in the Associated Press poll is a program high. The previous best was sixth. ... Georgetown was only the third team this season to lead Xavier at the half.