Florida's Joakim Noah (13) blocks a shot by Georgetown's Roy Hibbert during their NCAA Regional semifinal basketball game in Minneapolis, Friday, March 24. 2006. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
March 25, 2006
Minneapolis, Minn. - A three-point play by Corey Brewer with 27.5 seconds remaining in the game led the Florida Gators to a 57-53 win over the Georgetown men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals on Friday night in front of 22,293 fans at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The Hoyas season ends with a 23-10 record, having returned to the NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
With Georgetown up 53-52 entering the final minute to play in regulation, Brewer grabbed an offensive rebound after a long defensive stop by the Hoyas. With three Georgetown defenders grabbing for the ball, Brewer forced up an acrobat shot that found its way in and would complete the three point play on the line, as he also drew a foul call on the play.
With less than 10 seconds left, senior Darrel Owens (Napoleonville, La./Assumption) would gain separation from his defender and have an open look from behind the arc. However, his shot would sail off the back of the rim and fall into the hands of Florida's Al Horford. Horford, who was fouled on the rebound, who hit both free throws to seal the win for the Gators.
Florida opened the second half with eight-straight points to open up their biggest lead of the game at 36-30. A free throw by sophomore Jeff Green (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) and a three-pointer by classmate Jonathan Wallace (Harvest, Ala./Sparkman) brought the Hoyas within two just before the first media timeout. After matching layups, Joakim Noah converted a three-point play to widen the gap to 41-36 with just under 14 minutes on the clock.
An 8-1 Georgetown run over the next 7:01, capped off by a backdoor dunk by senior Brandon Bowman (Santa Monica, Calif./Westchester) would give the Hoyas their first lead since halftime. The Gators responded with four unanswered points on a dunk by Noah and two free throws by Taurean Green to take back the lead at 46-44 with 6:16 left. Seconds later, a highlight reel layup by sophomore Roy Hibbert (Adelphi, Md./Georgetown Prep) brought the crowd to their feet and the score even at 46.
The game would remain tied until Taurean Green would drill a trey at 4:47 to put the Gators back in control. Owens matched Green's three, less than a minute and a half later to tie the game at 49, going into the final media timeout. A Bowman layup with 2:41 left would briefly put the Hoyas back up, but 21 seconds later, Lee Humphrey sunk a three from the wing to give Florida a 52-51 lead.
Senior Ashanti Cook (Inglewood, Calif./Westchester) gave Georgetown their last lead and their last points with a foul line jumper with 1:49 on the clock, setting up Brewer's heroics.
The Hoyas opened up their biggest lead of the game at 21-12 with 8:40 remaining, behind 10 early points by Cook. However, Florida answered with eight unanswered points over the next 1:46 to cut the Georgetown lead to one. After a basket by Jeff Green, the Gators ran off four points, and on a putback by Al Horford, took a 24-23 lead with 5:50 in the half. A three-pointer by Green gave the Hoyas back the lead, but Florida answered again with a breakaway dunk by Corey Brewer and a short jumper by Chris Richard to take their biggest lead of the half at 28-26 with just over four minutes on the clock. The fact that the Gators were held scoreless over the final 4:04 of the first stanza, coupled with two free throws by Green and a turnaround in the paint by Hibbert with 27 seconds, gave Georgetown its 30-28 lead at intermission.
Georgetown placed four starters in double figures, led by 15 from Green, who also added six boards and four assists. Cook and Bowman each closed out their Georgetown careers with double-digit night, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. Bowman, also added a team-best seven rebounds, a feat matched by Hibbert, who rounded out the Hoyas double figures with 10. Georgetown matched a season-low, hitting only 23.8 percent (5-for-21) from behind the arc, while also struggling overall from the field at 38.9 percent (21-for-54).
Joakim Noah had a double-double to lead the Gators, who advance to face Villanova on Sunday, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Taurean Green had 13 points, including three treys, while Al Horford chipped in 12.
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