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

Hoyas Take Their Moves to Big Dance and Sweet 16

A year earlier, the start of March had brought the end of a monumental collapse that dropped the Hoyas from likely NCAA upstarts to complete bubble bust.

In 2006, however, March became the most triumphant month in Georgetown men’s basketball in the still-nascent 21st century, as the Hoyas surged to the Big East tournament semifinals and soared to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in five years.

The month started with perhaps the team’s ugliest conference loss of the year. Traveling to Florida after its longest break since the start of Big East play in January, Georgetown expected to have an easy time with South Florida. The Bulls hadn’t beaten a conference team all season, which marked their Big East debut. The result, however, was quite the contrary – the Hoyas dejectedly left the Sun Dome, on the short end of a 63-56 outcome.

Casting doubt over the impressive feats earlier in the year, Georgetown looked poised for another epic meltdown. But the team regrouped in New York four days later, edging Notre Dame and fighting off Marquette in rematches of two tough regular season matchups.

Against the Irish, the Hoyas opened the second half with an eight-point run, giving them a lead they did not relinquish. Brandon Bowman poured in a career-high 25 points, after some sluggish performances down the stretch in February.

Against the Golden Eagles, Bowman helped Georgetown eke out a win in a game that was close for 40 minutes. The 6-foot-9 senior sealed the deal by sinking six free throws in the final minute, propelling the Hoyas to their first Big East semifinal appearance since 2000.

Georgetown’s semifinal opponent was Syracuse, a team that this senior class had finally defeated on Feb. 25 – and by 15 points, at that – after three seasons of futility. In the rematch at the Garden on March 10, the Hoyas did much of the same, tearing ahead to a 15-point lead by intermission.

But the second half was a different story. Syracuse senior Gerry cNamara had put his team on his back and carried them through the first two rounds of the Big East tournament, almost single-handedly taking down Cincinnati and No. 1 Connecticut. Coming out of the locker room against Georgetown, McNamara brought his game and took full advantage of any signs of weakness shown by the Hoyas. He added 15 of his 17 points after the break, guiding the Orange to a 58-57 win.

With a 21-9 campaign under their belts, Georgetown had made its case to the NCAA selection committee. There was nothing left to do but wait.

To Dayton and Beyond

Two days later, gathered with several hundred students in Sellinger Lounge, Owens, Bowman and Cook rejoiced. The Hoya seniors would get a stab at the NCAAs, only two years removed from one of the darkest basketball seasons in three decades.

Georgetown headed for Dayton, Ohio, to face off against mid-major Northern Iowa on March 17, with the chance to move on to inneapolis and then Indianapolis.

The Panthers gave the Hoyas a run for their money in the first half, as Georgetown had little success against a stringent zone defense. The Hoyas trailed for most of the opening stanza as UNI senior guard John Little hit four consecutive threes from the corner. Little led his team to a 30-26 advantage at the half.

Georgetown turned the tables after intermission, taking its first lead of the game. Poor shooting crippled UNI, whose nine-minute scoreless stretch cost the Panthers a victory as the Hoyas advanced, 54-49.

While in Dayton, Hoya fans also got a glimpse of the George ason squad that was to make its unbelievable run to the Final Four. Mason took down Michigan State, then proceeded to knock off UNC just before Georgetown took the floor on the afternoon of March 19. The Hoyas were looking for an upset of their own against Ohio State, whose fans dominated the crowd of 13,000 at the University of Dayton Arena.

Hibbert proved to be the man of the hour, notching 20 points and 14 rebounds. After falling behind early, Georgetown sped away to a 38-25 edge by intermission.

Firing on all cylinders, the Hoya offense saw Green chip in 19 points while Cook added 17 and Owens had 14. The net result was a 70-52 drubbing of the Buckeyes.

“You work all year to get here,” Head Coach John Thompson III said at the time. “You work all year to put yourself in this position to win now.”

Mirroring the accomplishments of their last NCAA run in 2001, the Hoyas ventured on to the regional round, this time in inneapolis, where they faced Southeastern Conference champion Florida. In the week leading up to the contest, Gator sophomore Joakim Noah talked smack about Georgetown, the school he had grown up dreaming about.

The Hoyas stayed cool and kept their mouths shut. When game day came, the two teams fought back and forth, and the game was tied with just over three minutes to play.

In the end, it was Noah who had the last laugh, dismissing Georgetown with a 57-53 defeat following a three-point play by sophomore Corey Brewer and a missed trey by Owens.

Noah and his teammates went on to win the national championship. Georgetown could at least take some solace in being the only team to play Florida closely, as the Gators defeated their five other NCAA tournament opponents by an average of 18 points.

Still, even with the historic resurgence of Georgetown basketball seen in March 2006, the team’s returning starters for 2006-07 have their eyes on the prize: a national championship.

“We’re not satisfied at all,” Hibbert told reporters after the loss to Florida. “We are not satisfied with just being in the Sweet 16 or just being in the NCAA tournament. We are here to win. .We are just going to have to work twice as hard next year.”

If the team takes Hibbert’s words to heart, then next year this story won’t stop in March. In 2007, you’ll have to turn this page to find out how the season ends.

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Hoyas Take Their Moves to Big Dance and Sweet 16

A year earlier, the start of March had brought the end of a monumental collapse that dropped the Hoyas from likely NCAA upstarts to complete bubble bust.

In 2006, however, March became the most triumphant month in Georgetown men’s basketball in the still-nascent 21st century, as the Hoyas surged to the Big East tournament semifinals and soared to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in five years.

The month started with perhaps the team’s ugliest conference loss of the year. Traveling to Florida after its longest break since the start of Big East play in January, Georgetown expected to have an easy time with South Florida. The Bulls hadn’t beaten a conference team all season, which marked their Big East debut. The result, however, was quite the contrary – the Hoyas dejectedly left the Sun Dome, on the short end of a 63-56 outcome.

Casting doubt over the impressive feats earlier in the year, Georgetown looked poised for another epic meltdown. But the team regrouped in New York four days later, edging Notre Dame and fighting off Marquette in rematches of two tough regular season matchups.

Against the Irish, the Hoyas opened the second half with an eight-point run, giving them a lead they did not relinquish. Brandon Bowman poured in a career-high 25 points, after some sluggish performances down the stretch in February.

Against the Golden Eagles, Bowman helped Georgetown eke out a win in a game that was close for 40 minutes. The 6-foot-9 senior sealed the deal by sinking six free throws in the final minute, propelling the Hoyas to their first Big East semifinal appearance since 2000.

Georgetown’s semifinal opponent was Syracuse, a team that this senior class had finally defeated on Feb. 25 – and by 15 points, at that – after three seasons of futility. In the rematch at the Garden on March 10, the Hoyas did much of the same, tearing ahead to a 15-point lead by intermission.

But the second half was a different story. Syracuse senior Gerry cNamara had put his team on his back and carried them through the first two rounds of the Big East tournament, almost single-handedly taking down Cincinnati and No. 1 Connecticut. Coming out of the locker room against Georgetown, McNamara brought his game and took full advantage of any signs of weakness shown by the Hoyas. He added 15 of his 17 points after the break, guiding the Orange to a 58-57 win.

With a 21-9 campaign under their belts, Georgetown had made its case to the NCAA selection committee. There was nothing left to do but wait.

To Dayton and Beyond

Two days later, gathered with several hundred students in Sellinger Lounge, Owens, Bowman and Cook rejoiced. The Hoya seniors would get a stab at the NCAAs, only two years removed from one of the darkest basketball seasons in three decades.

Georgetown headed for Dayton, Ohio, to face off against mid-major Northern Iowa on March 17, with the chance to move on to inneapolis and then Indianapolis.

The Panthers gave the Hoyas a run for their money in the first half, as Georgetown had little success against a stringent zone defense. The Hoyas trailed for most of the opening stanza as UNI senior guard John Little hit four consecutive threes from the corner. Little led his team to a 30-26 advantage at the half.

Georgetown turned the tables after intermission, taking its first lead of the game. Poor shooting crippled UNI, whose nine-minute scoreless stretch cost the Panthers a victory as the Hoyas advanced, 54-49.

While in Dayton, Hoya fans also got a glimpse of the George ason squad that was to make its unbelievable run to the Final Four. Mason took down Michigan State, then proceeded to knock off UNC just before Georgetown took the floor on the afternoon of March 19. The Hoyas were looking for an upset of their own against Ohio State, whose fans dominated the crowd of 13,000 at the University of Dayton Arena.

Hibbert proved to be the man of the hour, notching 20 points and 14 rebounds. After falling behind early, Georgetown sped away to a 38-25 edge by intermission.

Firing on all cylinders, the Hoya offense saw Green chip in 19 points while Cook added 17 and Owens had 14. The net result was a 70-52 drubbing of the Buckeyes.

“You work all year to get here,” Head Coach John Thompson III said at the time. “You work all year to put yourself in this position to win now.”

Mirroring the accomplishments of their last NCAA run in 2001, the Hoyas ventured on to the regional round, this time in inneapolis, where they faced Southeastern Conference champion Florida. In the week leading up to the contest, Gator sophomore Joakim Noah talked smack about Georgetown, the school he had grown up dreaming about.

The Hoyas stayed cool and kept their mouths shut. When game day came, the two teams fought back and forth, and the game was tied with just over three minutes to play.

In the end, it was Noah who had the last laugh, dismissing Georgetown with a 57-53 defeat following a three-point play by sophomore Corey Brewer and a missed trey by Owens.

Noah and his teammates went on to win the national championship. Georgetown could at least take some solace in being the only team to play Florida closely, as the Gators defeated their five other NCAA tournament opponents by an average of 18 points.

Still, even with the historic resurgence of Georgetown basketball seen in March 2006, the team’s returning starters for 2006-07 have their eyes on the prize: a national championship.

“We’re not satisfied at all,” Hibbert told reporters after the loss to Florida. “We are not satisfied with just being in the Sweet 16 or just being in the NCAA tournament. We are here to win. .We are just going to have to work twice as hard next year.”

If the team takes Hibbert’s words to heart, then next year this story won’t stop in March. In 2007, you’ll have to turn this page to find out how the season ends.

More to Discover
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