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

Dream Denied

ATLANTA, March 31 – The road ends here, as does the dream for Georgetown.

After four come-from-behind victories propelled the Hoyas into the Final Four, the magic finally ran out for the Hoyas as top-ranked Ohio State defeated second-seeded Georgetown, 67-60, on Saturday night.

“We all are very disappointed with tonight’s outcome,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said after the loss. “But we played against a very good team that played very well tonight.”

The Buckeyes (35-3) advanced to the national title game for the first time since 1962, but fell 84-75 to Florida last night.

“We beat – no question – one of the best basketball teams we’ve played this year,” Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys for executing our game plan.”

Using a zone defense that had the Hoyas (30-7) looking baffled in the first half, the Buckeyes held a comfortable lead for most of the opening stanza and led the Hoyas by four, 27-23, at the half.

Georgetown came back to take the lead early in the second half on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Jessie Sapp, but the Buckeyes responded with a 5-0 run over the next 90 seconds to regain a sizable lead.

The Hoyas again battled back to a tie game at 44-all when junior guard Jonathan Wallace drilled a three with just under 10 minutes remaining, but again the Buckeyes responded with a 7-0 run and Georgetown would not get closer than four points for the rest of the night.

“We got everything we wanted, but we didn’t execute on the offensive end,” Georgetown junior captain Jeff Green said. “You got to credit a lot to their defense. They played together.”

Before the game, analysts billed Green as the potential difference-maker against Ohio State, as many thought the Buckeyes had no answer for the versatile forward. Yet Green’s selflessness became a liability, not an asset.

The Big East player of the year was ineffective, scoring just nine points while attempting only five field goals. Green did grab 12 boards, but never found his rhythm offensively and was held to his fewest shots attempted in 23 games.

“I didn’t want to force anything, so I just took what they gave me,” Green said. “I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of shots. Their defense played a major part in that.”

After the game, Thompson stood by Green’s on-court decision making.

“I’ve said for three years now I trust Jeff Green’s instincts. He made the decisions when to pass it out, when to shoot,” Thompson said.

Green’s ineffectiveness may have been a reason for the Hoyas’ loss – Georgetown is just 3-6 this season in games that Green does not score in double digits – but it was largely overlooked as the focus was on the battle of the big men, with 7-foot-2 junior Roy Hibbert going up against 7-foot freshman Greg Oden. That game-within-the-game did not fully live up to the hype, however, as Hibbert and Oden were on the floor together for only 14 minutes.

Oden sat for all but three minutes of the first half with fouls and both players found themselves in foul trouble down the stretch, limiting Oden to just 20 minutes and Hibbert to 24.

But when Hibbert and Oden were on the floor – especially when the other big man was sitting – they were the difference makers. Hibbert scored nine of his 19 points while Oden was out and Georgetown held a 49-38 scoring advantage when Hibbert was on the court. Both of Ohio State’s runs in the second half came with Hibbert sitting on the bench in foul trouble.

“It’s frustrating,” Hibbert said of watching from the bench as the Buckeyes went on each of their runs, “but I have total faith in my teammates.” Hibbert was called for his first foul just 18 seconds into the contest.

The Buckeyes shot 43.9 percent from the floor and just 28.6 percent from deep on the night. The Hoyas shot 49 percent overall and 33.3 percent from downtown, but hit a season-worst 37.5 percent of their free throws, getting to the line just eight times while sending Ohio State to the charity stripe 19 times.

All 60 of Georgetown’s points came from their starters, with the junior class accounting for all but 13. Hibbert and Wallace both finished with 19 and Sapp added 10. Freshman forward DaJuan Summers went just one-for-10 with three points on the night, his worst performance since Georgetown’s Feb. 26 loss at Syracuse.

The Buckeyes were led by their freshman class. Guard Mike Conley Jr. and Oden scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, while junior guard Jamar Butler rounded out Ohio State’s double-digit scorers with 10.

“His poise is terrific,” Thompson said of Conley. “He just has an uncanny feel for the game and how to manage the game, how to manage his teammates. That’s advanced for a freshman, for a sophomore.”

Points off turnovers, as much as any other statistic, killed the Hoyas’ chance of advancing to their first title game in over two decades. Georgetown committed 14 turnovers – its highest number of turnovers since its 19 against Connecticut in the regular season finale – and Ohio State converted the turnovers into 22 points. The Buckeyes also had 14 fastbreak points to the Hoyas’ four, as the tempo favored Ohio State for much of the night.

Still, while the loss to the Buckeyes was disappointing, the Hoyas are proud of their best season in 22 years.

“We had a great season – regular Big East champions, Big East champions of the tournament,” Green said. “To make it this far in the tournament, it’s hard to end it like this, but we had a great run. . We beat some of the top teams in the nation to make it to this point, but tonight wasn’t our night. We lost to a great team in Ohio State. We can’t hang our heads.”

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