Poised Hoyas Shake Off Eagles
Sunday, March 18, 2007
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., March 17 -- On the play that changed the game for Georgetown in its 62-55 victory over Boston College in the second round of the NCAA tournament, all Patrick Ewing Jr. saw at first were arms flailing near the rim, attempting to reach Roy Hibbert's missed shot.
"And then you see Jeff's head go over all their hands and grab the ball with one hand," Ewing said, describing junior Jeff Green's emphatic dunk with just over seven minutes to play. "To be able to palm it and throw it down, I was just in shock."
The sellout crowd at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum roared. The Hoyas, who just minutes earlier trailed by eight, now held a four-point lead and were rejuvenated.
Green and Hibbert, who combined for just six points in the first half, scored 13 of Georgetown's final 19 points and also blocked three shots in the final minutes. Both Green (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Hibbert (17 points, 12 rebounds) finished with double-doubles.
Second-seeded Georgetown (28-6) earned a spot in the round of 16 for the second straight season. The Hoyas will face sixth-seeded Vanderbilt -- a team they beat, 86-70, in mid-November -- in the East Region semifinals on Friday in East Rutherford, N.J.
The fact that their season will continue was at the forefront of the Hoyas' minds Saturday evening. But not far behind was the satisfaction they drew from beating the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-12), a former Big East rival who left for the ACC following the 2004-05 season. For the second consecutive year, Boston College ended its season with a loss to a Big East school (Villanova did the job in 2006).
During Friday's news conferences, Boston College forward Jared Dudley, an all-conference player in the Big East who became the ACC player of the year, said that he felt that the ACC was a better league because it had more star power and was "so much more athletic."
"I felt a little disrespected by what he said," Ewing Jr. said. "I feel like the Big East is one of the best conferences in the nation. I don't want to say anything bad about the ACC, because I think they're a great conference themselves. But you know, to feel disrespected like that, we wanted to prove people wrong."
Said Green: "We have the last laugh. We won."
Georgetown won despite shooting just 42.3 percent. The Hoyas, behind guard Jonathan Wallace (15 points), made their first five shots and jumped to a 12-2 lead, but the Eagles switched to a zone defense that confused Georgetown. Over the final 9 minutes 30 seconds of the first half, the Hoyas made only 1 of 9 shots and committed three turnovers. They trailed 30-26 at halftime, only the sixth time this season that has happened.
Dudley (19 points) scored six straight points to push the Eagles' advantage to seven, and at that point, neither Green nor Hibbert had made much of an impact. In fact, on the Hoyas' next possession, Green pulled up for a baseline jumper that he sent way over the rim, and Hibbert grabbed the miss, only to throw his own shot over the basket as well.
"At that time, I was like, things just can't go right for us," Green said. "Like that movie 'Life,' with Martin Lawrence. Call our team 'can't-get-right.' Things were going very bad -- shooting air balls, playing catch almost. But we got things together. We had to keep pounding away and going after the ball hard."
Green, Hibbert and Ewing ignited the Hoyas down the stretch. Green's offensive rebound and tough putback sparked a 10-0 run that put the Hoyas back on top, 41-39, with 11:42 to play.
Georgetown repeatedly turned to Hibbert inside during the final five minutes. After Tyrese Rice (22 points) hit a three-pointer to bring Boston College within 50-49, Ewing found the 7-foot-2 center for a dunk as the shot clock expired. Green picked up a loose ball that led to a fast-break layup from Jessie Sapp, and Green also ripped away an offensive rebound that led to a layup and foul shot. Hibbert and Ewing put an exclamation point on the win in the final minute, when Hibbert fed Ewing for a reverse dunk along the baseline.
As impressive as Ewing's dunk was, it still paled in comparison with Green's, mainly because of the timing.
"The first thing that came to my head was wow. He jumped over me, too," said Sapp, who had three assists and five steals. "After he got that dunk, it turned the whole game around. The momentum changed, everybody started getting hyped and buzzed, and we started playing basketball."