Georgetown stunned by FGCU

Georgetown stunned by FGCU
March 22, 2013, 9:30 pm
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Disappointed Hoyas give FGCU credit

PHILADELPHIA -- In the context of believing these Hoyas could right the early exit wrongs from previous Georgetown teams, Roger Daltrey was wrong: we got fooled again.

Its stingy defense shredded, its offense disintegrated, the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South Region and the Big East regular season champion were blitzed by No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast 78-68 on Friday night.

The final margin indicates a close game, but the Hoyas (25-7) played the role of frustrated chaser throughout the second half. As was the case in the role of favorite, they were ultimately unsuccessful, again.

Since reaching the 2007 Final Four, Georgetown failed to make it past the first week of the tournament for the fifth straight time. 

Inheriting the double-digit seed role previously played by Davidson, Ohio, VCU and NC State, the Eagles (25-10) added a heaping dose of flair and bravado with its interpretation. Cocky from the tip and alley-oop dunking throughout, FGCU messed with Georgetown's will and skill on both ends of the court. 

After both sides traded scoring counterpunches early in the second half, Georgetown found itself on the brutally wrong side of a 21-2 run and trailed 52-31. It took every ounce of grit coach John Thompson III could muster from his team --plus Markel Starks' tying his career-high with 23 points and FGCU missing free throws-- to claw back. 

Claw back the Hoyas did, down 72-68 inside the final minute after Starks drained one of his four 3-pointers. The Eagles made the bulk of their free throws from there and the Hoyas' momentum faded.

It's back to D.C., back to the Hilltop for the Hoyas, who once again piled up regular season wins and tacked on a regular season title. If what defines a successful season is post-season success, then it's back to the drawing board Georgetown coach John Thompson III.

Stats: Otto Porter Jr. had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Jabril Trawick had 11 points for the Hoyas, who shot 37.5 percent from the floor.

Sherwood Brown led the Eagles with 24 points and Bernard Thompson had 23, but point guard Brett Comer's command paced the victory. The brash playmaker with court vision to spare had 12 points and 10 assists, all of which seemed to result in a fast-break dunk or a wide open shot.

Otto was not Otto: It's inarguable that over the full season, Porter was the best player in the country. Over the last five games and specifically the last two, let's charitably say he was not.

Porter shot 5 of 17 from the field, never finding a rhythm, never taking command as he did throughout the season.

Turning point: Yes, the second half run essentially turned the game, but what happened before halftime set the tone. With Starks scoring seven straight points, the Hoyas jumped into the first half and Nate Lubick's offensive put back with 10 minutes remaining gave Georgetown's its biggest lead at 18-11. 

Moments later, Starks picked up second foul. Moments after that, Thompson sat his leading guard.

For a lengthy stretch after that --meaning until halftime-- the offense went silent. Georgetown managed only one field goal and four points total, unable to crack the Eagles zone looks. The lone basket by a driving Trawick came after Starks returned with 3:23 remaining. It also tied the score briefly as FGCU capped a 13-4 spurt with the final basket of the half for a 24-22 lead.