- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Hoyas are headed back to the Sweet 16.

A day after Boston College’s Jared Dudley scoffed at the Big East’s athleticism, Georgetown downed the Eagles 62-55 behind a stretch run defined by guts and athleticism.

“That was a Big East game,” said Georgetown junior forward Jeff Green, the Big East player of the year. “It was very physical, and we just had to gut it out. … We won that game on pure heart. We just flat out wanted it more than them.”

The Hoyas (28-6) advance to East Rutherford, N.J., where they will meet Vanderbilt on Friday in the East Region semifinals.

For nearly 35 minutes yesterday, Boston College (21-12) controlled the favored Hoyas at both ends of the floor. After sophomore Tyrese Rice (22 points) made a 3-pointer with 15:24 remaining, the Eagles led 39-31. To that point, Green had been a non-factor, missing six of his first seven shots. Seven-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert had been equally quiet, nullified surprisingly by backup Boston College center Tyrelle Blair.

With the season on the line, and Georgetown’s Final Four hopes quickly fading in front of 14,148 fans at Joel Coliseum, the Hoyas’ triumvirate of frontline juniors (Green, Hibbert and Patrick Ewing Jr.) turned up their intensity level.

A series of defensive stands against the Eagles and ACC player of the year Dudley (19 points, six rebounds) and back-to-back buckets from Ewing and Hibbert (17 points, 12 rebounds), helped the Hoyas take a 46-44 lead with 7:58 remaining.

But the game permanently swung toward the Hoyas moments later, when Green (11 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks) slammed a Hibbert miss with 7:05 left.

“It was just a relief after all the misses to finally see one go down,” said Green, who along with Hibbert and Ewing scored 21 of the Hoyas’ final 23 points. “I think grabbing that rebound and throwing it down really turned the game around.”

The body language by both teams from seconds after the slam until the final buzzer confirmed Green’s assertion. While Georgetown played loose, Boston College seemed intimidated for the first time.

The Eagles made just three more field goals over the final seven minutes, and the Hoyas seemed to grow stronger with each possession.

Hibbert began to abuse Blair at will, spinning around him repeatedly to pull the Hoyas free of their longtime Big East rival. But Hibbert’s defining moment wasn’t a hoop. With just less than one minute remaining and the Hoyas leading 59-55, Hibbert spun left, took a step and seemed ready to attempt an awkward fallaway jumper when he passed to Ewing slicing along the baseline.

Ewing finished with a thunderous reverse jam.

“I have a checklist I go through every time I make a move, and I saw them collapsing and Pat cutting,” Hibbert said. “I’m just glad he finished it.”

Ewing, who was fouled on the play, hit the resulting free throw to put the Hoyas ahead by the final score with 42 seconds remaining.

“I have to admit that felt pretty good,” Ewing said. “I don’t know what games or teams he’s been watching, but I felt very disrespected by what [Dudley] said. As a group, we felt that way. And so we took it upon ourselves to go out there and prove him wrong. … I didn’t see their team do anything athletic.”

The victory moves the Hoyas into the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. Last year, Georgetown drew eventual national champion Florida. Friday’s foe is considerably less formidable.

In fact, Georgetown already has beaten Vanderbilt this season, crushing the Commodores 86-70 on their own floor on Nov. 15. Green and Hibbert proved unstoppable for smallish Vanderbilt in the season’s second game, as the two combined for 37 points and 18 rebounds in the rout.

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