Georgetown 96, North Carolina 84, OT

Sunday, March 25th 2007, 7:38 pm
By: News On 6

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 2nd 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.

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.

The Tar Heels actually had a chance to win in regulation, but freshman Wayne Ellington missed an open jumper from the wing right before the buzzer. Ewing grabbed the rebound, prompting his pop to high-five everyone sitting near him in the stands.

So this time, 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 ended one of the most thrilling games in college basketball history and 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.

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. They seemed to be on their way this time, too, leading 69-58 with 12:22 to go.

Jeff Green led Georgetown with 22 points and freshman DaJuan Summers added 20.

Tyler Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels.

This was the fifth time that 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 Georgetown's 7'2 Roy 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 2nd 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 .8 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.''