Georgetown completes stunning run to first Big East tournament title since 2007, steals NCAA Tournament bid
The 2021 NCAA Tournament has its first major bid thief.
Georgetown secured a surprise trip to the Big Dance with a stunning run through the Big East Conference Tournament, which culminated in the Hoyas' 73-48 victory Saturday night over No. 17 Creighton at New York's Madison Square Garden.
The Big East tournament title is Georgetown's first since 2007 and will send the Hoyas to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 and first time under head coach Patrick Ewing. The Basketball Hall of Famer starred for Georgetown in the 1980s, powering three trips to the Final Four and leading the team to the 1984 national title. But his tenure as head coach, which began in 2017-18, has been decidedly more mixed.
Georgetown had failed to hit the 20-win plateau in his first three seasons and an NCAA Tournament berth seemed like an impossibility as the Hoyas limped into MSG with a 9-12 record. But a blowout win over Marquette was followed by a 72-71 upset of No. 11 Villanova. The Hoyas then downed Seton Hall to set up a showdown with Creighton for the title.
Creighton went ice cold in the title game, shooting a horrendous 28.8% from the field. The championship game was tied 18-18 with six minutes to go in the first half – and then the Bluejays never scored again before halftime. The Hoyas entered the break with a 36-18 lead and Creighton never threatened in the second half.
So, despite sitting just 13-12 on the season, Georgetown is NCAA Tournament-bound. It's a big breakthrough for Ewing and the once-proud program, which has not seen the second weekend of March Madness in 14 years. Though the Hoyas probably won't do all that much in this tourney run, winning the Big East title is still a big step and a nice cap to an emotional year. Beyond just the rigors of dealing with COVID-19, the Georgetown family had to deal with the August death of John Thompson, the man who served as a mentor to Ewing and built the Hoyas into a national power during his 27 years leading the program.
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Saturday, in fact, marked the 49th anniversary of Thompson being hired by Georgetown, a fact Ewing said postgame was more than just a coincidence.
The former New York Knicks star also said Georgetown's Big East title was “right up there” among his personal greatest moments at Madison Square Garden.
“A lot of people discredited. Talked bad about us. We believed in ourselves," Ewing said. "We worked hard. We fought hard."
Contributing: Associated Press