(13) Eastern Washington Eagles vs. (4) Georgetown Hoyas (-7.5, 146 o/u)
Invariably, this is not how the No. 4 Georgetown Hoyas (21-10, 12-6 Big East) wanted to enter the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas lost to Xavier in the Big East tournament last week, 65-63. Georgetown trailed by as many as 21-points, but came up just short in their comeback attempt.
“It’s not easy to come back from down 20 like we were. It shows we have a lot of heart,” said freshman Isaac Copeland, who scored 11 points in just over four minutes at the end of the game.
Down by three points with less than five seconds to go, Georgetown’s Jabril Trawick hit his first of two free throws to trim the lead to two; he was supposed to miss the second on purpose, but the ball still went into the bucket by accident.
“We have enough trouble practicing making, so I can honestly say we never practiced missing,” said Hoya head coach John Thompson III.
Now the hard-luck Hoyas head to Portland, Oregon, to face the No. 13 Eastern Washington Eagles (26-8, 14-4 Big Sky) in Round of 64 action in the South Region.
The Eagles are a popular upset pick for two reasons; they will be playing much closer to home, and they boast the nation’s leading scorer, Tyler Harvey (22.9 PPG). The sophomore sharpshooter scored 18 in the Big Sky title game, helping his team come back from 11 points down to beat Montana, 69-65.
“We’ve worked a long time for this moment right here,” Harvey said. “It’s just nice to come out on top. You dream about this moment when you’re a kid. Just to be in that moment, seeing that confetti, it’s like something you watch on TV.”
Regarding the 11-point comeback, Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford wasn’t surprised to see his team persevere.
“We’ve been there before,” Hayford said. “And we said `Let’s do this.’ Let’s go out and play to win and put the pressure on them and get them to start playing not to lose.”
Though Eastern Washington is a potential Cinderella, the Hoyas are a better team – top to bottom – and have already shown they can play in hostile environments, downing Butler in Indiana, beating Seton Hall in New Jersey, and taking Providence to OT in Rhode Island. Look for the Hoyas to be too much for the Eagles come Thursday, which is why Georgetown laying the points (+7.5) is the play.
(Photo credit: DCist, Michael Starghill, Jr (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)