Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Sports

Florida Gulf Coast shocks Georgetown

PHILADELPHIA — Florida Gulf Coast sure made an entrance at the NCAA Tournament.

A No. 15 seed that hasn't even celebrated its first 20-year reunion busted a load of brackets with a 78-68 victory against No. 2 seed Georgetown on Friday night in the South Region.

In just their second season of eligibility for the Division I postseason, the Eagles (25-10) went on a 21-2 second-half run, then held on to become just the seventh No. 15 to beat a No. 2. (None have advanced to the Sweet 16.)

Sherwood Brown scored 24 and Bernard Thompson 23 for the Atlantic Sun champs.

"We didn't come here and have the attitude that we're just glad to be here," said FGCU point guard Brett Comer, who had 12 points, 10 assists and just two turnovers. "We decided we can play with anybody."

A night after America's oldest university, Harvard, pulled off an upset of No. 4 seed New Mexico, one of its youngest — FGCU's first student was admitted in 1997 — pulled off one even bigger.

The monster run made it 52-33 with 12:28 left. The Hoyas cut it to 72-68 with 52 seconds left. But the Eagles went 6-of-10 from the free-throw line to seal it.

"In the second half, we pushed the ball," Eagles coach Andy Enfield said. "We got out. We ran. We made shots, got some alley-oop dunks to energize the crowd. I'm very proud of our players."

For those who don't know FGCU — and that was probably a lot as of Friday afternoon — it is a state university in Estero near Fort Myers with an enrollment of 13,468. This is FGCU's first tournament and Georgetown's 29th, including the 1984 national title. (The Eagles did beat Miami earlier this season, though).

It was another early NCAA exit for the Hoyas (25-7), who have lost to a double-digit seed in their past four appearances. The last time they reached the second weekend of the tournament was in 2007, when they reached the Final Four. Coach John Thompson III said he can't figure it out.

"I wish I could," he said. "Trust me. More than anyone on earth, I've tried to analyze it. I don't know."

Markel Starks scored 23 for the Hoyas, who shared the Big East regular-season title and lost in the final of the conference tournament. They entered allowing 55.7 points per game. FGCU matched that with 9:22 to play when it took a 57-40 lead. The Hoyas allowed opponents to shoot 37.6 percent from the field, fourth-best in the country. The Eagles shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49).

The FGCU fans who made the trip to Philadelphia were loud all game. The rest of the crowd at the 21,600-seat Wells Fargo Center joined them during the big run. And there's nothing to bring fans together like rooting against a heavy favorite.

"I don't think anybody on our team has ever played in front of that many people," said reserve forward Eddie Murray, who scored nine points.

The Eagles charged at their fans when the game ended and — after some of them shook hands with Hall of Famer and TV analyst Reggie Miller — started the celebration.

Otto Porter, the Big East player of the year, had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting and 11 rebounds. That couldn't compare to Brown, the Atlantic Sun's player of the year.

"It feels really good to be in this position right now," Brown said. "No one had given us anything. It means that much more that we had to go out there and earn it, take what we feel was ours."

As the night wound down, one fan yelled at the Eagles to stick around Philly for a couple of more days: "Get a cheese steak, kid! Get a cheese steak!"

The crowd then paid FGCU a tribute: E-A-G-L-E-S! Eagles! the chant reserved for its NFL team.

"I told our team before the game that Georgetown is ranked eighth in the country," Enfield said. "But after you get out on the court for two or three minutes, you'll realize that you're just as good, if not better, than this team. And we did that. We didn't play great in the first half, but we realized, 'Hey, if we play, we can win this game.' "

Tar Heels give coach a milestone victory

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — P.J. Hairston scored 23 and North Carolina unleashed a flurry of 3s to beat Villanova 78-71.

It marked coach Roy Williams' 700th victory.

The No. 9 seed Wildcats erased a 20-point deficit No. 8 seed North Carolina built in the first half. Then they nearly climbed out of a nine-point hole in the final minutes.

Villanova (20-14) entered having allowed 222 3-pointers, and their opponents' 36.3 percent shooting on 3-pointers ranked 295th among 345 Division I teams. North Carolina (25-10) took advantage, making 11 of 21. It led 32-12 with seven minutes left in the first half and 67-59 with 3:03 left.

Two free throws by Ryan Arcidiacono, James Bell's 3-pointer and JayVaughn Pinkston's two free throws cut it to 67-66. But Marcus Paige made a 3-pointer and Hairston completed a three-point play to seal it.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Big Ten reaps recruiting bounty in Tampa Bay

Largo High defensive back Solomon Brown had plenty of college options with offers from 20 Division I-A schools. Still, the three-star recruit did not need to go through a prolonged process to figure out where he wanted to go.Two weeks ago, Brown comm...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Skyway 10K returning in March 2019, renewed for 5 more years

Skyway 10K returning in March 2019, renewed for 5 more years

ST. PETERSBURG — After raising $560,000 for its inaugural run on March 4, St Petersburg’s Skyway 10K will be returning in 2019 and will have the support of governmental agencies for years to come, run organizers said Tuesday.The run, which had around...
Updated: 5 hours ago
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Hillsborough player of the year: F Eric Ugarte, Sr., Plant CityThe numbers: Ugarte scored 21 goals and added 11 assists to lead the Raiders to their first state title in soccer. He scored 71 goals in his career.Something about Eric: The skilled ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Updated: 9 hours ago