Friday, March 09, 2007

Georgetown 84, Notre Dame Men's Basketball 82

In recent years, the Notre Dame-Georgetown rivalry has meant one, if not multiple, overtimes. Friday night was the exception, as the game ended in regulation.
Early on, it appeared that overtime wasn't even going to be a question, as Notre Dame stormed out to a 14 point lead. But the Hoyas slowly fought back, sparked by Patrick Ewing, Jr. off the bench. (An aside: Junior doesn't really resemble his father when you look at him straight on. But if you look at the younger Ewing from an angle - any angle - you see that their heads are the exact same shape. Craziness.) At the half, the Irish lead was cut to 2.
The game continued to go back and forth until about halfway through the second period, when Georgetown showed why it is the number nine team in the country. Using a smart and deliberate offense, and an athletic and even smarter defense, the Hoyas pulled out to 7 point lead. The Irish countered with poor shots and sloppy passing.
Then Tory Jackson showed up. Jackson tied the score by singlehandedly going on a 7-0 run. Following an offensive rebound (he had 7 total rebounds on the game), Jackson almost made it a 9-0 run. That shot was missed, but Rob Kurz was fouled on the putback and made both free throws to give the Irish another lead.
The game was back and forth again until Georgetown had a 3 point lead with a minute left. Luke Harangody was fouled and made the first of two free throws. He missed the second, but the Irish got the rebound, and guess who! Jackson struck again to tie the game with 40 seconds left. Those two gave him 20 on the game.
Following a timeout, Georgetown milked the clock until there were about 20 seconds left. With 13 ticks to go, leading scorer (30) Jeff Green made a shot from the elbow and was fouled by Luke Harangody. Green missed the free throw, and Russell Carter got the rebound. Carter handed off to Jackson, who dribbled up the court.
At this point, the Irish were down 2. Was another overtime classic in store? When Jackson got to the top of the key with about 5 seconds remaining, he handed the ball back to Russell Carter. Carter launched a three that was off, and Georgetown was able to tip the ball around until time expired.
In the end, I'm not sure how to end this writeup. Notre Dame did blow a 14 point lead, had some very sloppy stretches, and settled for a wild shot at the end of the game. But at the same time, they took a top 10 team to the wire, saw their freshman point guard emerge as a game changer on the national stage, and solidified their spot in the NCAA tournament. From here on in, though, moral victories won't cut it.