- The Washington Times - Monday, March 24, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. — For the class that resurrected Georgetown basketball, Easter Sunday probably will never feel the same.

“It’s disappointing for my seniors,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, his voice cracking with emotion after Davidson’s 74-70 upset over the Hoyas (28-6) ended the college careers of the players who arrived with him four years ago. “Those seniors are the program. This loss is disappointing because of what that group has done. That group is the most special group of people that I’ve ever been around. And that’s what’s hard.”

When Thompson and the current nucleus of seniors arrived at Georgetown four years ago on the heels of the ill-fated Craig Esherick era, the program was in a spiral toward irrelevance after a 13-15 season, the worst season for the program since his famed father’s debut in 1973.

Executing a stunning reversal of fortune, Thompson and that class quickly returned the Hoyas to the game’s elite level. Amassing an overall record of 100-36 (.735), Thompson and Co. reached the quarterfinals of the NIT in their first season, advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in their second before narrowly losing to eventual national champion Florida and last season led Georgetown to Final Four for the first time since 1985.

“It’s hard to appreciate all that right now,” said Jonathan Wallace, the senior guard who ended his career yesterday as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers. “This is not the way any of us anticipated it ending. And that’s very tough.”

Perhaps it’s toughest because until yesterday’s loss to 10th-seeded Davidson, this group of Hoyas always had overachieved, equaling or exceeding expectations every season. For the first time in four years, the current seniors experienced a true upset.

It’s hard to call it a failure because the Hoyas shot 63.4 percent, the second-best single-game shooting performance under Thompson. In some ways, yesterday’s loss was the result of a perfect storm: an opponent on an NCAA-best 24-game winning streak, a hostile crowd and a torrid, underrated superstar named Stephen Curry.

But there’s no way to rationalize away 20 turnovers, 8-for-17 free throw shooting or blowing a 17-point lead in the second half.

“We played hard, sure, but we didn’t do everything we could. We blew a 17-point lead in the second half,” senior Patrick Ewing Jr. said. “For us seniors, it’s over in this uniform with these guys on this team. Yeah, I’m gutted.”

Said senior center Roy Hibbert, who had his final game curtailed by foul trouble: “Coach obviously doesn’t want me to play soft, but I should be mentally strong enough to figure out [how a game is being called] and adjust. I think I let my team down.”

But sophomore DaJuan Summers openly scoffed at that notion after confirming his intent to return for his junior season.

“That’s ridiculous. Roy didn’t let anybody down,” Summers said. “I don’t have words right now. We’re all hurting, mostly for those seniors. But Georgetown will be back.”

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