The Drowsy Chaperone (Don Ward)
Updated: 05/20/2013 - Two weekends left to catch one great show!
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Twenty-five years later, Georgetown got even for a coach named Thompson and a player named Ewing.
In an NCAA tournament full of tremendous rallies, it was the Hoyas' turn -- against North Carolina, of all teams.
Georgetown overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, then ripped off 14 straight points in overtime to stun the top-seeded Tar Heels 96-84 in the East Regional final Sunday for their first trip to the Final Four since 1985, when the coach was John Thompson Jr. and the star was Patrick Ewing.
The Hoyas (30-6) did it this time with coach John Thompson III calling the backdoor plays he learned at Princeton and Patrick Ewing Jr. making key contributions.
"You want the best for your kids. I'm proud of both John and my son," Ewing Sr. said. "I'm happy, I'm very proud. I think Georgetown is back."
They were helped by an amazing collapse from Carolina (31-7), which made only one of 23 field goal attempts, including its first 12 in overtime, over a 15-minute span.
After Georgetown's Jonathan Wallace hit a 3 that tied it at 81 with 31 seconds left in regulation, the Tar Heels had a chance to win it, but freshman Wayne Ellington missed an open jumper from the wing right before the buzzer and Ewing grabbed the rebound, prompting his pop to high-five everyone near him in the stands.
There would be no game-winning shot for the Tar Heels a la 1982, when freshman Michael Jordan's 17-foot jumper with 17 seconds left lifted Carolina over Georgetown 63-62 for the national championship.
The Hoyas waited a long time to avenge that defeat. When they did, they celebrated. The Thompsons became the first father-son duo to reach the Final Four, much less at the same school, and they enjoyed a huge embrace at courtside.
"You've been complaining about the bus being rickety, but the ride home is going to be good tonight," Thompson the father told his son.
"Isn't it?" Thompson the son said.
The Hoyas will play Ohio State (34-3) in the national semifinals next Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. UCLA takes on defending champion Florida in the other game.
When this one ended, every Georgetown player crossed the court to hug the elder Thompson, who did the national radio broadcast.
Later, the old coach squeezed Ewing Sr. He also pulled out his cell phone, to no avail.
"Yeah, I tried to call Michael, but he wasn't accepting any of my calls," Big John said.
While the Hoyas celebrated, Carolina coach Roy Williams could only sit in disbelief. Tied at 81, he watched Georgetown score the first 14 points in overtime before Ty Lawson hit a meaningless 3 in the closing seconds.
The Tar Heels, the 2005 champions, had won seven straight regional finals and were trying to reach their 17th Final Four, which would've tied UCLA's record.
After overcoming a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat Southern California on Friday night, they seemed to be on their way this time, too, leading 69-58 with 12:22 to go and still up 75-65 with 6:02 to play.
That's when Georgetown took over. A foul shot by Jeff Green, a layup by Jessie Sapp, another layup by Green and a dunk by 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert, and it was 75-72 -- and a game again.
At the same time, the Hoyas did an even better job on defense, with an active zone that flummoxed Carolina, and once it went to overtime, it was a bad omen for the Tar Heels. They have now lost seven straight games in overtime since 2000.
Green led Georgetown with 22 points and freshman DaJuan Summers added 20.
Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels.
"They have some tough players, and down the stretch they hit shots and we didn't," Hansbrough said through red, swollen eyes.
This was the fifth time Carolina and Georgetown had played since that epic game at the New Orleans Superdome on March 29, 1982.
A day earlier, the Georgetown and North Carolina players tried to brush aside any relevance of the rematch. To Heel with history, they seemed to say, we weren't even born then.
Yet the impact of that game left a visible imprint on every one of them. Both teams came out wearing warmups with the logo of Jordan in mid-flight.
Hansbrough seemed almost possessed, looking much more like the beast his teammates call "Psycho T" for his practice mania than the big guy who's partial to pedicures. It probably helped that he had shucked his plastic mask. The pesky thing protected his broken nose, but clearly bothered him.
Held to a career-low five points in Friday night's 74-64 win over Southern California, he exceeded that total in the first 2 1/2 minutes of this game.
Giving away five inches to Hibbert, Hansbrough still banged away. He even elbowed his own guy during a scramble under the basket. No one on his side minded.
Lawson ran the fast break at dazzling speed while Friday night star Brandan Wright cleaned up down low. Wright kept scoring off offensive rebounds, exactly what he did in leading Carolina's comeback from a 16-point deficit in the second half against Southern Cal.
Despite their efforts, Georgetown took a 22-17 behind DaJuan Summers' 3-point shooting.
North Carolina chipped away, then momentum turned when Thompson was whistled for a technical foul as Georgetown walked the ball upcourt. Moments before the sudden call, official Curtis Shaw shouted three times at Thompson to "Get back!" in the coaching box.
When the officials were introduced, Georgetown fans quickly pointed out that the Hoyas had lost five of their last six games with Shaw working. He handles a lot of Big East games, but only once when Georgetown played this season -- a home loss to Villanova.
Danny Green made both technical foul shots, tying it at 22, and a pair of baskets by Deon Thompson put the Tar Heels ahead. They eventually stretched their lead to 10.
Carolina led 50-44 at the break, getting its final point when Shaw called a shooting foul with eight-tenths of a second left. The officials checked the video monitor to be sure and then, with Thompson staring from the bench and Ewing Sr. standing in the seats, Alex Stepheson stepped to the line.
Williams earlier got a stern look from Shaw, with the official telling the coach he had heard enough complaining. And when a foul was later called on Carolina, the Hoyas fans chimed in with a Bronx cheer -- albeit from across the Hudson River.
After the game, Shaw said the technical was a "bench decorum issue."
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