Georgetown’s players had heard just about every college basketball analyst pick Belmont University to stage an upset of the third-seeded Hoyas. On March 16, the team proved those analysts wrong in a complete 74-59 win over the Bruins.

“Our guys would turn on the TV and it seemed like most of the world was picking us to lose today,” said Georgetown head coach John Thompson III. “You plant that seed and put it in the back of your head and move on.”

Georgetown held Belmont, the team ranked fourth in scoring nationally, to just 59 points on 38.9 percent shooting with its smothering 2-3 zone defense. Belmont struggled to find a rhythm all game long.

“Those guys are big and long and obviously when we went in they altered shots and had big presence,” said Belmont senior forward Mick Hedgepeth.

Ironically, Georgetown head coach John Thompson III hadn’t planned on playing much zone because he was concerned with Belmont’s three-point accuracy. However, after seeing how effective it was for a couple possessions, he decided to stick with it.

“We went in expecting to play both man and zone,” Thompson said. “Once we settled into our zone I thought it was very effective so we stayed with it probably a lot longer than I planned.”

The Hoyas’ offense was equally as impressive as they shot 61.2 percent while committing only 12 turnovers. Belmont head coach Rick Byrd said Georgetown played well, but his team didn’t do itself any favors defensively.

“Some of it was them making good plays, but we had breakdowns,” Byrd said. “We had guys making mistakes at critical times and letting their guy cut them.”

This game was less about offensive and defensive numbers and more about the number four, which was the number of years it had been since Georgetown won a tournament game. It was also a number that wasn’t lost on the Georgetown players.

“There was definitely a sense of urgency; not just for me, but for the whole team,” said senior guard Jason Clark. “We know what we’ve done in the past so it was a big thing for us to get this win.”

Clark led the Hoyas with 21 points. Joining him in double figures was freshman forward Otto Porter and senior center Henry Sims who finished with 16 and 15 points respectively. Belmont sophomore forward Blake Jenkins finished with 17 points while junior guard Ian Clark scored 12.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO