Ohio University Bobcats stun Georgetown in NCAA tournament
Friday, March 19, 2010
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Undone by a barrage of three-point shots, turnovers and a pair of guards who played the game of their lives on Thursday night, Georgetown became the highest seed to fall on the opening day of the NCAA tournament.
Led by Armon Bassett's game-high 32 points, 14th-seeded Ohio University soundly outplayed third-seeded Georgetown to claim the biggest victory in school history, 97-83, before a capacity crowd at Dunkin' Donuts Center.
With the victory, Ohio (22-14) advanced to a second-round game against No. 6 Tennessee.
Georgetown, meantime, ended its season on a paradox: How could a team that toppled two of the NCAA tournament's four No. 1 seeds -- Syracuse and Duke -- during the regular season fall flat against a team that finished in the bottom half of the Mid-American Conference?
To most college basketball fans, that's precisely the charm of the NCAA tournament. But to Georgetown fans, this particular edition of David-toppling-Goliath represented yet another bitter end to a season that held so much promise.
"When you get on court, you have to play," said Georgetown sophomore center Greg Monroe, who scored 19 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out six assists but accounted for seven of the Hoyas' 18 turnovers. "They were better today. They did everything they needed to win."
After cutting a 19-point deficit to seven with less than four minutes to play, the Hoyas, who were ranked as high as seventh in the nation in January, could do no better, unable to stop Bassett and backcourt mate D.J. Cooper, who hit 10 three-pointers between them.
Ohio's dazzling shooting aside, Georgetown (23-11) fell victim to the one weakness that undercut its efforts this season: a tendency to play its worst against lightly regarded teams.
Monroe conceded as much.
"I think as a team we were inconsistent," he said. "That's probably the most glaring thing; we didn't have the same focus and weren't the same team every night."
In 25 previous NCAA appearances, Georgetown had lost its opening game only five times -- and not since 1997.
This loss was particularly painful, given Georgetown's undeniable potential, with three McDonald's all-Americans among its starting lineup and evidence that it could hold its own against any team in the tournament.