Wildcats Upset Hoyas in Second Round
By Emily Liner Mar 23 2008 Men's Basketball 2008 NCAA Tournament
Georgetown had a 38-27 lead at halftime and was up by as many as 17 with 17:52 remaining in the game, but Davidson sophomore guard Stephen Curry powered the Wildcats’ comeback with 25 points in the second half.
“In the second half, we was up 17, I thought we were going to break it open,” said sophomore guard Jeremiah Rivers, one of many Hoyas who guarded Curry on the day. “We were just one or two plays from putting them down, and I think Curry knew that they was in trouble, and Curry’s a second-half player more than anything. … He’s a player period, but he’s just a champion in the second half.”
Curry provided Davidson with two game-changing plays. At the 14:24 mark in the second half, Curry hit a three-pointer on a fast break and made a free throw for a four-point play to catalyze a 12-2 Wildcat run.
“That was one of the first ones that went in for me during the game, so definitely that got me some confidence,” said Curry, who made four three-pointers in the second half. “That’s just a testament to our transition game because we were struggling in the halfcourt, and that was a key for us to get out in the open court and make plays. Our defense made that happen for us.”
Then with 4:39 left in the game, Curry gave Davidson its first lead in almost 30 minutes on a layup and free throw, making the score 60-58.
“We knew they were making a run, and we tried to withstand it for a majority of the time, but once they got going as a group and made some tough plays, we were not able to recover,” said Georgetown senior guard Jonathan Wallace (12 points).
“[Curry] couldn’t miss,” said Rivers. “We were trying everything, man. I was trying my best, man. I just — I mean, I didn’t know what to do against him, man. He was getting shots all over. This was just frustrating.”
After falling behind 67-60 with two minutes left, the Hoyas made three straight baskets to pull within two points. Junior guard Jessie Sapp sank a three-pointer, Wallace drove into the paint for a layup and sophomore forward DaJuan Summers added a one-handed dunk to give the Hoyas a glimmer of momentum.
On the next play, freshman guard Chris Wright fouled Curry right away, but Curry made both of his free throws to make the score 71-67.
With 23 seconds, Curry stole the ball from sophomore guard Chris Wright and was fouled by Hibbert. Curry made his two free throws, extending the Davidson lead to 67-73.
Summers hit a three-pointer with 11 seconds left, putting Georgetown within one possession, but Curry put the last nail in the 74-70 score with one more free throw. Curry made 5-of-6 free throws during that 23-second final stretch.
The loss was not the finish that Georgetown expected after a solid first half. The Hoyas went into the locker room with an 11-point lead, 38-27, thanks to their defense, which held the Wildcats to a 26.7 field-goal percentage. Curry did not even score until 10 and a half minutes into the game, and he made only 2-of-8 attempts in the first half.
The Hoyas, meanwhile, were making two-thirds of their shots. Georgetown’s starting guards combined for five three-points on seven attempts, and the Hoyas did not neglect their inside game, as the team scored 18 points in the paint.
The referees, however, played a bigger-than-usual role, calling 57 fouls during the game. The 27 fouls charged to Georgetown dwarfed the team’s 17.5 season average.
“I’m not going to comment on the officiating,” Thompson said. “I was upset about more than one of them.”
Hibbert was in foul trouble throughout the game and managed just six points and one rebound before fouling out with 16 seconds left. His first foul came within a minute of tip-off.
“I went to post up, and I had a dumb foul to start off with. I need to play smarter out there,” Hibbert said. “I talked to the referees, and they told me what I was doing, and I tried not to do it, but, you know, they made the calls. I respect the calls. You just have to keep moving on.”
In the absence of Hibbert, who only spent 16 minutes on the floor, the Georgetown bench stepped up, contributing 19 points.
After the game, the players and their coach were visibly disappointed, in particular for the way that the careers of the seniors — Hibbert, Wallace, forward Patrick Ewing Jr. and guard Tyler Crawford — had to end.
“I hope that people don’t judge this group — and I’m thinking about my seniors — based on this loss today, and looking at all that they have accomplished in their four years here, and looking at this,” Thompson said. “This loss is disappointing because of what they have done for the last four years. And so I hope that they are not looked upon or remembered just solely or primarily because of this game, because those kids — those kids are the program.
“Those kids are Georgetown.”
As for himself, Thompson said, “I can think every possession [of] something I would want to do differently.”