March 23, 2007
East Rutherford, N.J. - It must have been the shoes. Second-seeded Georgetown trailed by eight points at halftime in the Sweet Sixteen of its NCAA Tournament game against Vanderbilt on Friday night at Continental Airlines Arena. The Hoyas, who were wearing brand new gray Nike sneakers, changed back to their old shoes during the break, erased the deficit and junior forward Jeff Green (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) banked in a jumper with 2.5 seconds left to give the Hoyas a thrilling 66-65 win over the Commodores.
It was the sixth-straight win, and the 17th in the last 18 games for the Hoyas, who improve to 29-6 overall. The win moves the team into the Elite Eight of the NCAAs for the first time since 1996 and the eighth time overall.
Junior guard Jonathan Wallace (Harvest, Ala./Sparkman) hit a jumper with one minute on the clock to give the Hoyas a 64-61 lead, but Georgetown was called for two fouls in the final minute and Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars hit two free throws with 49 seconds left and Dan Cage added a pair with 18 seconds left to give the Commodores a 65-64 lead. After a timeout call with 14 seconds left, the Hoyas put the ball in the hands of the BIG EAST Player of the Year and Green, who was double teamed in the low post, managed to bank in a shot with 2.5 seconds left to give GU a 66-65 lead. Alex Gordon's three-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked by sophomore guard Jessie Sapp (New York, N.Y./National Christian Academy).
Trailing by eight points at the half (32-24), the Hoyas fed the interior in the opening minutes of the second half as they fought back from their largest deficit of the season, tying the game at 36-all on a three-pointer from freshman forward DaJuan Summers (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) with 16:25 to play. Three bakets, including a pair of put-backs from junior center Roy Hibbert (Adelphi, Md./Georgetown Prep), pulled the Hoyas to within three points, 36-33, before Summers hit his three from the corner to tie the game.
From that point, it was a boxing match as the teams traded baskets over the final 16 minutes, which featured four ties and 12 lead changes. A dunk from Hibbert gave the Hoyas a 41-38 lead with 13:23 to play and a tip-in from Green with 12:25 left made it 43-40, but a pair of free throws from Cage and a dunk from Foster gave Vandy a 44-43 lead. After a three-pointer from Wallace gave the Hoyas a 46-44 lead with 9:40 to play, Byars responded with one of his own with 9:03 left and gave the Commodores a 49-48 lead. A three-pointer from Wallace, who scored all eight of his points in the second half, gave the Hoyas a 54-51 lead, but Vandy responded with a 6-0 run and took a 58-54 lead on a layup from Shan Foster with 4:45 to play.
The Hoyas had jumped out to a quick lead in the opening minutes of the game, with a dunk from Summers and a pull-up jumper from Green giving GU a 4-0 lead at the 19-minute mark. After Vanderbilt got on the board with a jumper from Neltner, a free throw from Summers gave the Hoyas a 5-2 lead that would their last of the first half. The Commodores proceeded to go on a 16-1 run over a span of 4:11, taking an 18-6 lead on a Cage trifecta. During the run, Vanderbilt hit four-straight three-pointers.
Georgetown responded with a 7-0 run over 1:12 and pulled to within five points, 18-13, on a baseline jumper from Ewing with 11:24 to play. Vanderbilt used an 8-1 spurt over 2:02 and took its biggest lead, 27-14, on a turnaround jumper from Shan Foster with 6:26 to play. The Hoyas would come back again, using a 9-0 spurt over 3:17 to pull within three points, 27-24, on a pair of free throws from Ewing, who also hit a three-pointer during the run. A three-pointer from Case and a reverse layup from Derrick Byars extended Vanderbilt's lead to eight points (32-24) at the break.
Green scored 15 points, grabbed four rebounds and had three assists to lead the Hoyas, while Hibbert added 12 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double and ninth of the season, while Summers added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Wallace chipped in eight points, three rebounds and four assists, Sapp added six points, five rebounds and three assists and Ewing scored seven points and had three rebounds.