Meadowlands: We Are. . . Georgetown

By David Scott - March 25, 2007


The 19,557 spoiled fans who filled the Continental Airlines Arena on this final Sunday of March, 2007, already knew who they were. So did any number of the millions who watched the game in its entirety or tuned in around the time the "60 Minutes" stopwatch was supposed to be ticking.

Instead of the John Edwards interview with Katie Couric, the clock was ticking on the Georgetown Hoyas' season as they trailed by 10 points to the fast and furious North Carolina Tarheels, with a little more than seven minutes left in the East Regional Final.

But in those final seven minutes and nineteen seconds of regulation and surely in the final five minutes of the extra period, John Thompson III's basketball club let America know exactly what he would later scream from atop the stage at midcourt:

"WE ARE," bellowed the son of the program's most famous coach.

And his legions of supporters bellowed in return: "GEORGETOWN."

He did it twice more on the stage and three times on the ladder after he snipped the last strand of net - just as he had done a few weeks ago up the road at Madison Square Garden when his Hoyas took the Big East tournament title.

"WE ARE. . . "

"GEORGETOWN."

Indeed they are. After this 96-84 comeback win over the No. 1 seed in the East region, these Hoyas are every bit as much a part of the program's storied past as the Ewing teams, JT III's dad Big John and all those wonderful Hoya squads of the 80s that helped build the Big East into the power it has become.

"That's my favorite cheer. There's no other way to put it," explained Little John. "It's growing up, you know, coming to the games growing up with the program. That's something that is special to me."

Still, even in the euphoria of the aftermath of Georgetown's win that sent the program back to the Final Four for the first time in 22 years, Little John had second thoughts about having been so boastful as he accepted the East Region trophy.

"I probably shouldn't have done it," said JTIII outside his locker room after the contest. "I have a lot of respect for Carolina. I don't think they would take it this way, but we were getting a llittle too excited with them still here."

Rightfully so, of course.

"I consider our programs cousins. I told Coach Willaims that the other day," Thompson said. "There are strong connections, there are strong positive feelings that I have toward Carolina basketball so I didn't want to get too excited with them stil there."

But Thompson knew it was a big enough win that he should lead the cheer again when he cut the final thread and held the net of the basket where Jonathan Wallace had tickled the twine to send th egame into OT and where his team scorched the Heels, 15-3 in that extra period.

"I did it when we won the Big East tournament, that was the first time," he said. "And this is the second."

With any luck, or maybe with some more of his deft coaching, the third time will come eight days from now from a stage and/or a ladder at the Georgia Dome. At that point he would be well within his right to once again bellow: "WE ARE. . . "

To which his Hoya faithful will surely respond: "Georgetown."

. . . The Tar Heels were held without a field goal from the 9:54 mark of the second half (a tip in by Deon Thompson) to the 1:40 mark (a lay-up by Tyler Hansbrough). In the overtime the Heels first field goal came with :08 left in the game on a 3-pointer by Ty Lawson.

"We just didn't make enough shots down the stretch today," said Roy Williams. "It was a ten-point game and we came down and got a wide open there and I didn't even want it beacuse it was too early in the shot clock but it missed and all of a sudden they dunk it on the other end, we come down, miss, all of a sudden they make it on the other end and it's a five-point game."

. . . Former Princeton coach and JTIII's old boss, Pete Carril was in the Georgetown coaches' lockerroom afte the game smiling a Cheshire cat grin. JTIII waqs effusive in his praise of Carril, whom he went to hug after the win.

"You know, Coach is such a part of my consciousness, you know. I said there's not too many decisions on the floor and off the floor where I don't have Coach's voice in my head. You talk about the Princeton offense. You talk about Pete Carril, that's who you're talking about. He's taught me how to think and how to see the game. So he's, you know -- we're in constant contact. In many ways, he is a part of what we're doing. He is a big part of what I'm doing. So I just wanted to go over and give him a hug."

. . . The win sets up a Greg Oden-Roy Hibbert match-up in the first semifinal next Saturday. Hibbert had this to say about the meeting: "He's a terrific player. You know, he's a force down low and we're going to have to contain him and keep him off the boards. We're gonna watch tape and Coach is gonna discuss ways to limit his touches and keep him off the boards. But right now, you know, we're feeling this win right now. We're gonna handle our business, take one step at a time next week, next weekend."

. . . For more quotes from the post-game pressers check out our favorite website, asapsports.com.

. . . We'll be back with you from Atlanta starting on Thursday afternoon, but we'll try to check in before that as well with some type of a look at the Final Four team remaining.


Posted by David Scott at 09:47 PM on March 25, 2007
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