- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Georgetown’s recent NCAA tournament reputation isn’t a good one. Since reaching the Final Four in 2007, the Hoyas got knocked out in the opening weekend all four times they made it, every time losing to a double-digit seed.

A No. 2 seed this year, Georgetown found itself in a tight, back-and-forth game with No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night. But its player of the year candidate said recent tournament losses to N.C. State, Virginia Commonwealth and Ohio didn’t make this task more burdensome.

It doesn’t matter,” Otto Porter said.

That’s how it will look to history after this loss, 78-68 to a school that didn’t exist when Georgetown won the national title in 1984. It was Hoyas’ third defeat to open the tournament in the past four years.

Coach John Thompson III couldn’t explain it.

I wish I could, trust me,” he said. “More than anyone on this earth I’ve tried to analyze it, think about what we should do differently, and I don’t know.”

Answers were lacking after Georgetown became the seventh No. 2 seed in NCAA tournament history to get upset by a 15th-seeded opponent. Players didn’t want to get into whether the Eagles were a traditional No. 15, though an early-season victory over Miami showed this wasn’t a team to take lightly.

Players insisted they wouldn’t. And that wasn’t an excuse they made afterward, either.

Our coaches did a great job of making sure that were prepared for this game,” guard Markel Starks said. “It’s just that the things that we were prepared for, they still went out and did. They made big shots, they got lobs, they were dunking all over the place. But maybe we just weren’t tough enough today. Who knows?”

It wasn’t a matter of being physically tough enough. If anything, Georgetown leaned too much in that direction, getting into foul trouble early.

Mentally, though, the Hoyas were lacking. Down just two points at halftime, their mannerisms going back to the locker room were not indicative of a team ready to mount a comeback.

Falling behind by as many as 19 points, the Hoyas cut their deficit to four in the final minute. But they could tell they were out of sorts from the start.

Once you miss a couple shots that you know that you normally make, you start to feel that things aren’t going your way,” Porter said. “Even though we got down, we started to come back. But plays weren’t going our way. We knew we were having a bad day.”

It never got better. Starks felt sick to his stomach after last year’s second-round loss to No. 11 seed N.C. State, but that didn’t prevent another crushing defeat.

It’s an even worse feeling,” forward Nate Lubick said. “You come into this NCAA tournament hoping that something like that doesn’t happen again, and it does. We think that we did everything that we could to make sure that that didn’t happen.”

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