- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

HONOLULU — The turnover machine known as Long Beach State literally handed a game to Georgetown — and it almost wasn’t enough for the Hoyas.

Georgetown survived a furious late rally by the sloppy 49ers, thanks to freshman Jeff Green’s stabilizing presence, en route to a 57-51 victory yesterday before 6,212 at Stan Sheriff Center in the consolation round of the 41st annual Rainbow Classic.

The 6-foot-8 Green scored five of Georgetown’s eight points in the final 2:39, pulled down three key offensive rebounds in the last five minutes, and matched his career scoring (20) and rebounding (10) highs.

The Hoyas (5-3) will meet Clemson (8-2), an 83-57 winner yesterday over Indiana State, in tonight’s fifth-place game.

“Jeff came up big in the clutch,” Georgetown forward Brandon Bowman said. “He really solidified things down low with his rebounding. I thought he played excellent the whole game.”

The 49ers, out of the Big West, were their own worst enemy. Long Beach State’s 23 turnovers, the most by a Hoyas opponent, led to 25 Georgetown points. The 49ers (1-7) lost for the fifth straight time.

Despite making just seven of 17 free throws (41.2 percent), Long Beach State shot itself back in the game late in the second half. Guard Jibril Hodges, whose father, Craig Hodges, played in the NBA, sparked the 49ers’ rally when he nailed three 3-pointers in the final 5:29.

A 24-foot bomb by Hodges pulled the 49ers within 52-49 with 14 seconds left. Clutch free throw shooting by the Hoyas — Green made three of four foul shots in the last 11 seconds — held off hard-charging Long Beach State.

“The general public will never understand this, and it’s hard for the general public to understand, that regardless of their record, I think that it’s a pretty good team,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “On a day where we did clearly not make shots, for us to figure out how to get stops when we needed them and come out with a win I felt was pretty good for us.”

Hodges’ late-game heroics came after a slow start. In the first half, the 6-2 Hodges went scoreless and missed all three shots he took. Hodges finished with 11 points.

“I actually didn’t see some of [the 3s] because I was too busy chasing [forward Shawn Hawkins], but those are good shots, and you have to give credit to the team,” Bowman said. “Those were good shots and they knocked them down, but they were a day late and a dollar short with it.”

Hawkins, who came off the bench, led Long Beach State with 18 points and seven rebounds. The 49ers reserves outscored the starters 34-17.

“We were pretty sloppy with the basketball and we gave them absolutely too many chances,” Long Beach State coach Larry Reynolds said. “We played well for about 15 minutes in the second half and made a little push at it. If you look at the stat sheet, we were pretty good in every category but [turnovers and free throws].”

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