- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 31, 2007

Georgetown’s championship run was derailed yet again, but the team’s performance in the NCAA tournament left fans last night with a renewed sense of hope for the Hoyas’ future.

As Ohio State fans exuberantly celebrated their team’s 67-60 victory, Georgetown fans sulked in the streets — dejected but optimistic about the young squad.

“They had too many turnovers,” said John Carpenter, a university employee who watched the game at J. Paul’s restaurant on M Street Northwest. “Their youth was apparent.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Carpenter said he was looking forward to next year:

“I’m very proud of what the team and coach [John] Thompson [III] have done,” he said. “If the players hang around for another season, they’ll be right back playing in another championship next year.”

Larry Bradley, 37, a Georgetown alumnus and former running back for the school’s football team, said he was equally enthused despite the team’s heartbreaking loss.

“They brought pride back to the campus,” Mr. Bradley said. “You can see it in the eyes of the students, the faculty, everyone. Georgetown basketball is back.”

Hoyas fans’ hopes were eventually dashed, but not before they filled the neighborhood’s popular bars in anticipation of victory.

The expectancy of winning was “great for the city,” said Carlos Johnson, a 35-year-old District resident waiting outside J. Paul’s earlier last night.

Up the street at Clyde’s Restaurant, Ryan Wynkoop, 25, of the District, was unconcerned that the Hoyas started off slow against the Buckeyes.

“They always play the first half patiently,” he said earlier in the evening. “They have been doing that the whole tournament. In the second half, they’ll turn it up a notch.”

But it wasn’t enough.

On the Georgetown campus, students grilled hamburgers and played carnival-type games such as shooting basketballs into an inflatable hoop before piling into McDonough Arena to watch the NCAA finals from Atlanta.

The Metropolitan Police Department activated its network of 19 closed-circuit TV cameras around the city in anticipation of unlawful behavior after the game. There were few problems following the team’s win last weekend against North Carolina University.

Since coach John Thompson III took over the team before the 2004-2005 season, the program is again a national powerhouse after three straight years of missing the NCAA tournament.

The Hoyas men’s basketball squad has participated in the NCAA tournament 24 times, with a lone national championship coming in 1984. The Hoyas won that year by defeating the University of Houston 84-75, in Seattle.

The last time the Hoyas went to the Final Four was 1985, when they were upset in the championship game by Villanova, 66-64, in Lexington, Ky. The game is considered one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history.

The team also lost the 1982 championship game. The North Carolina Tar Heels won 63-62, in New Orleans.

Michael Jordan, then a freshman, hit a jump shot to give the Tar Heels the one-point lead. Then Georgetown guard Fred Brown inexplicably passed the ball to Tar Heels James Worthy on their last possession, effectively ending the game.

Former Hoya and NBA star Patrick Ewing Sr. was playing for Georgetown. His son, Patrick Ewing Jr., is now on the team.

The Georgetown coach that year was John Thompson Jr., whose son is now the coach.

“This is great for J.T. III,” Mr. Johnson said last night.

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