Sunday, December 17, 2017
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
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

Melo cheered, then booed as Knicks spoil his return

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony got the cheers but the Knicks got the win, shutting out their former All-Star in the second half and beating the Thunder 111-96 Saturday night for their fourth straight victory. Michael Beasley tied his season high with 30 ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

Rangers stay hot against a favorite opponent, the Bruins

BOSTON — Mats Zuccarello scored a power-play goal 1:56 into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday. Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller also scored for the Rangers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games (9-3-1) overall...
Published: 12/16/17

Sports in brief

MLBTRADE SENDS KEMP BACK TO L.A.OF Matt Kemp was reacquired by the Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Braves. The Dodgers sent 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Charlie Culberson and cash to Atla...
Published: 12/16/17
Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

Mistakes doom Ducks in new coach’s debut

LAS VEGAS — Cedrick Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, safety Kekaula Kaniho returned an interception 53 yards for a score and No. 25 Boise State beat Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. Brett Rypien threw for 362 yard...
Published: 12/16/17

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballWomen: Florida State at Texas12:30 p.m.FS1Women: Georgia Tech at Georgia1 p.m.SECStony Brook at Providence2:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Tennessee3 p.m.ESPNSavannah State at Baylor3 p.m.Fox SunWomen: USF at Florida International...
Published: 12/16/17