Being the trigger man in Villanova's offense was "definitely not fun," according to guard Harold Jensen. "Bringing the ball in with people like Ralph Dalton and Pat Ewing in your face makes it seem like there are six or seven people playing on defense."
And indeed, at times the Hoyas' meat-grinder press wore down the sophomore reserve, who had a game-high six turnovers. "I'm glad we won but when I look at that, I just think of how the game might have turned out," Jensen said.
There might have indeed been a different result than the Wildcats' 66-64 upset victory were it not for other things accomplished by Jensen, things that far outweighed his mistakes. For example, who scored the last field goal in Villanova's nine-for-10 second half? Jensen, on a 16-foot jumper that came with 2:36 to play and Georgetown ahead, 54-53.
Villanova never trailed after that basket, one reason why Jensen was able to convert four of five free throws in the final hectic moments. "They have such a great team and they put on so much pressure," he sighed. "There was one time I looked up at the clock and there were 18 seconds left and I though they would never go away."
Then the player who went from a self-doubting substitute to a slick-shooting all-tournament selection let those around him in on a little secret. "Honestly, I was surprised that the ball came my way as much as it did. There were times that I know I was trying to do too much."
That had been the case for most of Jensen's brief career along the Main Line. After an undistinguished freshman year, the Trumbull, Conn., native rebounded to mediocre during the 1984-85 season, averaging all of four points and one assist per game. Eventually, the tentativeness and confusion that characterized his play prompted Coach Rollie Massimino to bring Jensen in for a little chat just before the Big East tournament.
"I told him he was a great person and a wonderful kid on a nationally ranked team and there was no reason for to worry himself to the point where he couldn't play," Massimino said. "Since that day, he's been great and his impact has been incredible."
One could easily say that that impact has been as great as that of the celebrated trio of seniors, Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain and Gary McLain. After all, it was Jensen who got Villanova going in the Southeast Regional final against North Carolina by scoring eight second-half points on long-range jumpers, this after scoring the game-winning basket against Dayton in the Wildcats' first-round tournament game.
Now there was the 16-footer against Georgetown. "I think they were looking for me to throw the ball inside to Ed -- I believe it was Michael Jackson who packed back into the lane," Jensen said. "I was definitely open, I know that. I was thinking shot as soon as I caught the ball."
The shot was taken with the same confidence that imbued each member of the Wildcats, a team written off before the game had begun. "I never thought of us as Cinderella, even though every one else did."
But surely there wasn't another player on the floor who came as close to living out a fairy tale-like fantasy as Jensen. "I've struggled for two years and Coach has never given up on me and that's helped me so much," Jensen said. "This really won't sink in for a while."