Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Fullerton Falls to Georgetown in McDonough

With their season on the line every time they step on the court, the Hoyas are playing like they want to keep it going for as long as possible.

Georgetown took another step towards returning to the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden for the second time in three years with a hard fought 74-57 victory over an undermanned Cal State Fullerton team before a capacity crowd of 2,604 at McDonough Gymnasium. The Hoyas advance to the quarterfinals to meet South Carolina Thursday night at the Colonial Center in Columbia, S.C.

“We want to keep playing,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Our motivation is to win the next game, but we’re in the NIT, and the goal is to get to New York and win.”

Georgetown (19-12) continued its dominance at its on-campus facility. Dating back to 1982, the Hoyas have won 26 straight games at McDonough, all of them by double digits. It was their second NIT victory there. Georgetown beat UTEP 71-44 at McDonough in the second round of the 1993 NIT.

“It was better than I expected,” Thompson said. “The crowd was there early. They were loud. There was a lot of blue and gray out there, and we feed off that. It helps our guys.”

The score stayed respectable throughout the game – a credit to the effort of the road-weary and shorthanded Titans (21-11), who were playing on ESPN for the first time in 15 years. They had already won two away games, a play-in game at Oregon State and a first round game at San Francisco, just to reach the second round. They were without their leading scorer and rebounder, senior forward Ralphy Holmes, and dressed only eight players for the game. Four of their five starters played at least 38 minutes.

“We’ve had a great team all year, and we’ve had a great year,” Fullerton Head Coach Bob Burton said. “But we didn’t feel this was the stage to show that this wasn’t really our team. It would’ve been fun to have [the injured players] here. But Georgetown played great, and the credit goes to them.”

While the Titans outrebounded the Hoyas 40-34 and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, they shot just 29 percent from the floor. Sophomore guard Bobby Brown, a high school teammate of Georgetown juniors Brandon Bowman and Ashanti Cook, led Fullerton with 16 points on 5-17 shooting.

The Hoyas, meanwhile, shot 55 percent from the field and 10-23 from three-point range. Freshman forward Jeff Green shot 8-11 from the field and had eight points in the first six minutes on his way to 18 for the game. Bowman was 8-10 from the field and had a game-high 21 points. Senior swingman Darrel Owens added 11 points, his fourth-straight game in double figures.

The game got off to a high-scoring start as the Titans were able to play their up-tempo style. A three-point play by Brown gave them an 18-15 lead with 11:10 to go in the first half. From there, though, Georgetown took off on a 12-0 run to take control of the game. The run was capped off by a highlight-reel dunk by Bowman off a no-look pass from Owens. A three at the buzzer by freshman guard Jonathan Wallace put Georgetown up 41-30 at the half, and Fullerton never cut the lead into single digits at any point during the second half.

The Hoyas will go on the road for the first time during the tournament to face the Gamecocks (17-13), who beat UNLV 77-66 Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals. South Carolina had a similar season to Georgetown in that it contended much of the year for an NCAA tournament bid before falling off at the end. The Gamecocks looked to be headed toward the tournament after a 73-61 victory over then-No. 3 Kentucky on Feb. 15, but they lost five of their last six games to fall out of contention.

The two schools played a home and home series in 2001 and 2002, with Georgetown winning both meetings, including a 70-68 victory at the Colonial Center in 2001.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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