So, I predicted a Georgetown 79-62 win over UMBC throughout the course of the week, both on the air and in blog form.
The good news? UMBC played as hard as they could defensively and didn’t surrender 79 points today. They only gave up 66.
The bad news? Georgetown played as hard as they could defensively today. And they only allowed UMBC to score 47 points.
You can’t win an NCAA Tournament game scoring 47 points. Enough said.
Georgetown won by 19 and ended the UMBC season in Raleigh, NC, but one thing stood out to me throughout the game earlier this afternoon: The Hoyas did NOT take UMBC lightly. Whether or not it was the Duke-Belmont scare or the fact that John Thompson III drilled into his club the fact that UMBC was a worthy opponent, GTown never once tried to turn the game into an ESPN highlight show. They played hard, they played great defense and they did their best to keep Jay Greene from controlling the offensive side of the game for the Retrievers. Hats off to the Hoyas.
For UMBC, it was simply a case of not being able to physically compete on the offensive side of the ball. From a defensive standpoint, they tried their best to deny Roy Hibbert the ball and were fairly successful in that endeavor. UMBC’s woes were more of their own doing. They couldn’t beat GTown’s perimeter-based defense and, generally, just didn’t have a lot of offensive rythym throughout the game. Ray Barbosa was a non-factor and Jay Greene was mainly a floor general and not a scoring threat – those two issues didn’t bode well for UMBC.
With 9:00 to play in the game, it was 50-37 in favor of Georgetown and the Retrievers had two successive trips down the court where they had open 3-point attempts, but neither hit. I’m certainly not saying that was the difference in the game, but there’s always something magical about being “within 10″ with 10 minutes to play. Both 3-point attempts rattled in and out and the Hoyas eventually moved out to a 20-point lead.
Still, it was a great year for UMBC and while they didn’t make Georgetown sweat it out down the stretch on Friday afternoon, there’s no doubt the Hoyas gave Randy Monroe’s team all the respect in the world when the ball tipped off at 3:09 pm.
We had a helluva party at Looney’s Pub North in Bel Air. Hope you had a chance to make it out there. Our thanks to the great people from Absolut Vodka for making it all happen.
Congrats once again to Randy Monroe and his Retrievers of 2007-2008. They were, without question, Baltimore’s basketball darlings this past season and it was fun to share the journey with them.