Georgetown's Hoyas did not come more than 4,000 miles for this.
"Sometimes, the learning process can be very difficult on the teacher," said Coach John Thompson, after his team of ranking and renown saw its crash course here in college basketball turn into a course in crashing.
When Buckeye guard Larry Huggins swished a 20-footer with four seconds to play today, Ohio State defeated Georgetown, 47-46, to drop the Hoyas to sixth place in the fourth annual Great Alaska Shootout.
Southwestern Louisiana defeated Marquette, 81-62, in the final. Iona beat Washington State, 71-58, for third place.
Georgetown had lost to Southwestern Louisiana, 70-61, in the weekend opener before beating the University of Alaska-Anchorage, 77-67. So now the Hoyas are 1-2. The No. 5 preseason ranking has been submerged in icy defeat.
"I never expected to lose any of these games," said Thompson. "But we have to keep going. This tournament was developmental. I keep telling myself that. Sometimes you need some courage."
For the second consecutive game, 7-foot freshman Patrick Ewing was the GU starter at center against Ohio State. For the second consecutive game, he led the team in points (12) and rebounds (six). Against Anchorage, he tied veteran Mike Hancock for the honors with 17 points and six rebounds.
Anthony Jones, the freshman forward from Dunbar (D.C.) High, also had another decently productive day, scoring six points. He had 10 against Anchorage and made 10 of 17 shots in the tournament.
Perspective, Thompson insisted. Perspective has to be kept.
"We've got to take this path. It will be difficult. We've got the young players. We had an opportunity to win this game. That makes this hurt."
That hurt is magnified when it is considered that Georgetown shot 72 percent (13 of 18) in the first half and led the Buckeyes, 32-23.
It really grows sore when it is considered that the Hoyas scored only 14 second-half points.
And it genuinely smarts when it is considered that the Hoyas had a 46-45 lead and efficiently had stalled two minutes off the clock.
Then with 28 seconds left, Ohio State, desperate Ohio State, committed a nonshooting foul. Ewing dropped the subsequent inbound pass from Eric Smith near half-court. After the bodies rose from the scramble, Ohio State had the ball. Soon enough, it would have the game that should have been Georgetown's.
Buckeye Coach Eldon Miller, whose team controlled the floor in a 17-2 filibuster that brought it a 42-40 lead with six minutes left, remarked, "Anytime you can win close games at the start of the season it's a plus for a young team."
Thompson knows about the inverse of such logic.
"The thing that scares me is that when we brought in reserves, we lost momentum. Right now, I'm thinking about starting some of the younger guys. I like bringing in the experienced players," he said.
All three games Thompson started senior Eric Floyd and sophomore Fred Brown at guard and seniors Eric Smith and Hancock at forward. Ewing replaced 6-foot-9 senior Ed Spriggs in the starting lineup the last two games.
Thompson said before coming to this tournament that was more Shutout than Shootout that he hoped to have his starting lineup established by today.
After the Anchorage game, he said, "It would be stupid for me not to start Patrick with the chance of winning the tip. I like Eddie (Spriggs) coming in (during the game) with his stability and experience and I like Patrick to start at 0-0 and let it be his game."
The Hoyas had balance in scoring, as well as in minutes played during the tournament. In the three games, Hancock (37 points), Ewing (36), Floyd (35) and Smith (33) were the offensive scoring leaders. Ewing had a team-high 16 rebounds.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Thompson.