March 26, 2007


Georgetown finally gets even

Hoyas come back to stun top seed Tar Heels in OT


Associated Press/Winslow Townson
Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert (55) eyes the basket against the defense of North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of their NCAA East Regional game Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. The Hoyas rallied to win in overtime.

AP National Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — John Thompson III and Patrick Ewing Jr. could only hope, the same way their dads did a generation ago.
On this night, it was different. A North Carolina freshman missed.
Twenty-five years later, Georgetown had gotten even.
In an NCAA tournament full of incredible rallies, it was the Hoyas’ turn. They rallied from 11 down in the second half, then ripped off 14 straight points in overtime to stun the top-seeded Tar Heels 96-84 in the East Regional final Sunday.
The Hoyas are headed back to the Final Four for the first time since 1985, taking on Ohio State next Saturday in Atlanta.
“The comparisons to Pop’s teams, much like the talk about Big Pat, Little Pat, Big John, Little John, you guys can do that,” Little John said.
“For us to figure out how to hold on and pull away with a win, against that team is special.”
Especially because of what happened to them on March 29, 1982, when John Thompson Jr. was their coach and Patrick Ewing was the franchise. Facing those same Tar Heels, for goodness sakes, they were denied the national championship when a North Carolina freshman named Michael Jordan made the go-ahead jumper.
These Hoyas (30-6) won with Thompson calling the backdoor plays he learned at Princeton and young Ewing making key contributions.
They were helped by an amazing collapse from Carolina (31-7), which made only one of 23 field goal attempts, including its first 12 in overtime, over a 15-minute span after seemingly having the game in hand.
“This is an extremely disappointing time for our team. It’s not the way you want your season to end,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. “Congratulations to Georgetown and Young John. Young John is like family to me.”
It’s a family like none other in college basketball, the first father-son duo to coach teams into the Final Four, much less at the same school.
When it was over, Thompson shook hands with Williams and everyone else on the North Carolina side, never showing a smile. Tough game, good game, he told them.
Then it was time to walk across the court — to the biggest bear hug he could imagine.
“You’ve been complaining about the bus being rickety, but the ride home is going to be good tonight,” his dad told him.
“Isn’t it?” the son said.
After Georgetown’s Jonathan Wallace hit a 3 that tied it at 81 with 31 seconds left in regulation, the Tar Heels had a chance to win it, but freshman Wayne Ellington missed an open jumper from the wing right before the buzzer and Ewing grabbed the rebound, prompting his famous father to high-five everyone near him in the stands.
There would be no game-winning shot for the Tar Heels a la 1982, when the Jordan legend was born with a 17-foot jumper with 17 seconds left, lifting Carolina over Georgetown 63-62.
The Hoyas waited a long time to avenge that defeat, and when they did, it unleashed a celebration a quarter of a century in the making.
Every Georgetown player crossed the court to hug the elder Thompson, who did the national radio broadcast.
Ewing Sr. pulled out his cell phone. He was trying to call Jordan, his old nemesis, to rub it in, he said, “but he wasn’t accepting my calls.”
“You want the best for your kids. I’m proud of both John and my son,” Ewing said. “I’m happy, I’m very proud. I think Georgetown is back.”
While the Hoyas celebrated, Williams could only sit in disbelief. In overtime, it was over in a hurry.
Wallace scored inside, freshman DaJuan Summers dunked a minute later, and Jeff Green added a layup to make it 87-81. With Carolina rushing bad shots, Georgetown jammed it inside and got fouled — Summers made four free throws and Jessie Sapp added a pair.
Summers’ dunk extended the lead to 95-81 before Ty Lawson broke the streak with a meaningless 3 in the closing seconds and Sapp finished it off with one last free throw.
“We just tried to get an early start on it,” Green said. “If we let them get an early start, they would have had the momentum coming in. We got lucky.”
The Tar Heels, the 2005 champions, had won seven straight regional finals and were trying to reach their 17th Final Four, which would’ve tied UCLA’s record.
After overcoming a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat Southern California on Friday night, they seemed to be on their way this time, too, leading 69-58 with 12:22 to go and still up 75-65 with 6:02_to play.
That’s when Georgetown took over. A foul shot by Green, a layup by Sapp, another layup by Green and a dunk by 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert, and it was 75-72 — and a game again.
“I think the momentum, it’s sort of fleeting. You don’t know when it’s going, where it’s going, when it’s going to come back,” Williams said.
The Hoyas did an even better job on defense, with an active zone that flummoxed Carolina, and once it went to overtime, it was a bad omen for the Tar Heels. They have now lost seven straight games in overtime since 2000.
Green led Georgetown with 22 points and Summers added 20.
Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
“They have some tough players, and down the stretch they hit shots and we didn’t,” Hansbrough said through red, swollen eyes.
This was the fifth time Carolina and Georgetown had played since that epic game at the New Orleans Superdome.
A day earlier, the Georgetown and North Carolina players tried to brush aside any relevance of the rematch. To Heel with history, they seemed to say, we weren’t even born then.
Yet the impact of that game left a visible imprint on every one of them. Both teams came out wearing warmups with the logo of Jordan in mid-flight.
Hansbrough seemed almost possessed, looking much more like the beast his teammates call “Psycho T” for his practice mania than the big guy who’s partial to pedicures. It probably helped that he had shucked his plastic mask. The pesky thing protected his broken nose, but clearly bothered him.
Held to a career-low five points in the 74-64 win over USC, he exceeded that total in the first 2 1/2 minutes of this game.
Giving away five inches to Hibbert, Hansbrough still banged away. He even elbowed his own guy during a scramble under the basket. No one on his side minded.
By the end, though, he couldn’t save Carolina.
“I mean, shots just weren’t falling,” Hansbrough said. “You have times where you get a little bump and it throws you off. Just didn’t go in the hole late in the game.”



Dragons keep on winning

WAYNE, N.J. — Making the most of six hits, including a home run by catcher Mike Zaccardo, unbeaten SUNY Cortland came up with a 4-2 victory over host William Paterson in a Sunday non-conference baseball outing.
That completed a weekend sweep for the Red Dragons, who also beat Montclair State 5-1 Saturday at this same site in a showdown of nationally ranked Division III powers.
Cortland, ranked sixth in the country, is off to a 13-0 start.
Cortland 4, William Paterson 2: Mike Zgorzelski picked up his third mound victory of the season at Pioneer Field, giving up four hits and walking nine batters before being relieved in the seventh inning. The senior from Troy blanked William Paterson over the opening six innings, but was lifted one out into the next frame after giving up a single and a walk.
Cortland led 3-0 heading into the seventh.
The Red Dragons picked up a run in the top of the second when Dan Maycock singled, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a grounder and scored on Nick DeVito’s sacrifice fly.
Zaccardo belted a one-out solo home run in the seventh. DeVito followed with an infield single, with pinch-runner Ryan Benson eventually coming around to score on throwing_error.
William Paterson (7-4-1) cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh on Ted King’s run-scoring single, a run Cortland got back in the top of the eighth on a Zaccardo sacrifice fly. A hit batter and a walk set up that RBI chance.
Don Reinertsen doubled in a William Paterson run in the eighth, but Cortland held the Pioneers in check from there. Ryan Hooper pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save, allowing a two-out single before coming up with a game-ending strikeout.
Cortland 5, Montclair State 1: Cortland scored five runs over the final three innings to erase a 1-0 deficit over 10th-ranked Montclair State in a game played at William Paterson. The win is Cortland’s fourth this season versus a top-30 ranked team.
Junior Nick Serio earned his first collegiate victory with 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief. He struck out six and walked one.
Sophomore George Jweid started the game and allowed seven hits and one run in six and one-third innings. He struck out three and walked one. He allowed three hits and a run in the first inning before settling down.
Maycock finished 3-for-4 and freshman Andersen Gardner was 2-for-4 with two doubles for the Red Dragons.
Cortland tied the game at 1-1 in the seventh when Maycock stole home on the front end of a first-and-third double steal with freshman Steve Nickel.
Junior Anthony Coromato’s RBI single gave the Red Dragons a 2-1 lead in the eighth. Coromato took second on the throw home and scored on a pinch-hit RBI single by junior John Giametta Jr. Giametta eventually scored on a wild pitch to put Cortland ahead 4-1, and his sacrifice fly in the_ninth plated Gardner with the final run.
Jairo Mendez started for Montclair (7-5) and allowed seven hits and one walk in seven and one-third innings. He fanned five batters and gave up three runs.



Clarkson sees upset bid denied by Cortland men

POTSDAM — After scoring the opening three goals, SUNY Cortland men seemed well on their way to a convincing road victory on Saturday.
But the Red Dragons would have to work for an 8-6 victory over host Clarkson in a non-conference contest played at SUNY Potsdam.
Junior attackman Ryan Heath scored three goals and juniors Billy Fuchs and Adam Hyde each finished with two goals and one assist as nationally 14th-ranked Cortland improved to 3-2 on the season.
More importantly, the Red Dragon defense held Clarkson (1-5) scoreless in all seven of its extra-man scoring chances during the afternoon.
Junior Kyle Simensky added a goal and an assist and sophomore goalie Matt Hipenbecker made eight saves for the Red Dragons, who visit Nazareth College this coming Wednesday.
Sophomore Greg Gibbons led Clarkson with four goals and one assist. Sophomore Tom Ross scored a goal and assisted on another. Junior goalie Greg Lamb made eight saves, including five in the fourth quarter to keep the Golden Knights within striking distance.
Simensky scored 1:15 into the game to give Cortland a 1-0 lead, and neither team scored again until Fuchs netted a man-down goal 46 seconds into the second period, assisted by Hyde. Heath tallied 1:40 later to give the Red Dragons a 3-0 lead.
Gibbons responded with three straight goals over about an eight-minute span, the last of the three assisted by Ross, and the game was tied at 3-3 with 2:13 remaining in the half.
Cortland re-established a three-goal lead, however, on a Heath extra-man goal with less than a minute left in the half and goals by Hyde and Fuchs in the first nine minutes of the third quarter.
The teams traded goals in the final three minutes of the third before Clarkson used scores by Cory Schneider and Gibbons, the latter with 5:36 left in the game, to pull within 7-6. The Red Dragons received a key insurance goal by Hyde with 3:17 left and blanked Clarkson the rest of the way for the victory.
Each team finished the game with 24 shots and Cortland held a slight 28-24 ground ball advantage.




A-A honors for Dragons

WHITEWATER, Wis. — Senior Amber French earned first team All-America honors on both vault and floor exercise, while sophomore Christine McAulay was a second team All-American on vault, to highlight SUNY Cortland’s performances during the second day of competition at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Division III Championships.
French, who has a year of eligibility remaining and is expected to return next season, tied for fifth on vault with a 9.475 and tied for sixth on floor exercise with a 9.45 Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
McAulay finished 11th on vault with a 9.275.
Red Dragon junior Brittany Wiesner finished 14th on balance beam with an 8.50, missing All-America honors by two places.