Mike Wise: Young Hoyas Grow Up at Cameron

Despite a handful of rallies, Georgetown can never catch up to a dramatic Duke push at the end of the first half, and the Blue Devils hold on for a 76-67 win in a highly anticipated face off.
By Mike Wise
Sunday, January 18, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. The good, unbiased people of Georgetown are going to make this about "The Call," that questionable (at best) technical that saddled frosh Greg Monroe with a fourth foul.

Yes, it came at a seminal moment in the second half of an emotional scrap against Duke that the Hoyas were beginning to feel good about.

But no, this was not simply about the call.

It was about maturing on the court in the most intense, volatile place to play that an 18-year-old such as Monroe could imagine, and about teenage guards being forced to grow up in a game that wasn't going to cost them a conference title.

Beyond that call, Georgetown had to deal with the levitation of Gerald Henderson, the instigation of Greg Paulus and kids caked in blue paint with names like Taylor and Mark, bobbing up and down for 40 minutes, chanting, "OUR HOUSE!" between thunder claps.

The Hoyas had to experience the cacophony of sound from one of college basketball's genuine shrines, that sinking reality that everyone cramming into this 69-year-old, stone-faced bandbox was against them.

Like Monroe, five minutes into the second half.

He said he didn't say boo to the referee.

"I can't say if I heard someone else, but I know I definitely didn't say anything," Monroe said afterward, barely audible in a baritone whisper.

The official, who had his back turned to the Georgetown bench before spinning around seething as he whistled a sitting Monroe for a technical foul, his fourth foul of the game, wasn't buying the finger-pointing elsewhere.

John Cahill, from the Big East of all places, helped give the 6-foot-11 gifted freshman and the Hoyas that familiar persecuted feeling road teams get at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where Duke has lost a mere 14 games since 1997.

Was it a travesty call? No. It didn't cost anyone a season or a berth in the NCAA tournament, and it's not the main reason why Duke dropped Georgetown.

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