Entering Friday night Georgetown was the heavy favorite to move past Florida Gulf Coast, but the Eagles pulled one of the biggest upsets thus far in the tournament, defeating the Hoyas 78-68 in the second round of the South Regional.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Eagles forward Chase Fieler said after the game. “We played a very tough team in Georgetown. They have great players. They’re a historic school. So being a newer school it’s very exciting and impressive to be a part of that.”
The Eagles, who are a No. 15 seed, were not eligible to play in the NCAA tournament until last year because they are a newly formed school with an enrollment of about 12,000 students.
They were led by walk-on guard Sherwood Brown’s 24 points and a 21-2 second half run to secure any chances of the Hoyas making a comeback. The Eagles became the seventh No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2.
“This is our first time being in the NCAA tournament,” Brown said. “To actually go out there and win that first game, it means something really special to us.”
The Eagles at times were reminiscent of the Los Angeles Clippers, also known as “Lob City,” which is reference to Chris Paul throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The crowd in Philadelphia roared when Eagles point guard Brett Comer threw an alley-oop pass and Fieler came down the lane and flushed it down with a one-handed dunk.
“Nothing special,” said Comer, who finished with 12 points and 10 assists. “We knew what was going to happened there. Time and place didn’t matter. I knew he’d catch it. You saw the result. The whole place went nuts and we really got the momentum from there.”
The Eagles pushed to a 52-33 lead with 12:28 to go in the second half. The Hoyas attempted to stage a comeback and got as close as 72-68. But with under a minute remaining, the Eagles were able to knock down 6-of-10 free throws to seal the upset.
The Hoyas, who came into the tournament on a roll after winning the Big East regular season title, continued their streak of losing to double-digit seeded teams for the fourth time. They have not made it to the round of 32 since 2007.
“I wish I could, trust me, more than any one of this earth,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said, when asked if he could figure out the losses to lower seeds. “I’ve tried to analyze it, think about it, look at it, think about what we should do differently and I don’t know.”
Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter Jr. had a dismal shooting performance. He finished 5-of-17 from the field for 13 points and 11 rebounds. Markel Starks led the Hoya with 23 points.
“They got out in transition, and that started their run,” Porter said. “They started knocking down the shot. It’s hard when a team is knocking down shots like that.”
The Eagles will now move on to play seventh-seeded San Diego State, which beat No. 10 seed Oklahoma 70-55, in the third round on Sunday.