Florida Gulf Coast University likes to go just by its initials as the full name conjures images of a backwater community college. But the 15th-seeded Eagles stepped into the national spotlight with an upset for the ages, 78-68, over powerful No. 2 seed Georgetown in the second round of the South Regional on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The little school in its second year of NCAA Tournament eligibility blew the doors off the Big East co-champion Hoyas (25-7) with a 21-2 run early in the second half that gave the Eagles (25-10) a 19-point lead. It was a surreal charge led by guards Sherwood Brown (24 points, nine rebounds), Bernard Thompson (23 points, seven rebounds) and Brett Comer (12 points, 10 assists).
FGCU’s defense kept Big East player of the year Otto Porter in check with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The three-point shooting of Markel Starks (23 points) and Jabril Trawick (11) got Georgetown within four points with 52.4 seconds left, but the Eagles, who were 30 of 44 at the foul line, put the game away with free throws.
The loss marked Georgetown’s fourth straight exit against a double-digit seed and was its second in four years as a top-three seed.
“Trust me, more than anyone on this Earth, I’ve analyzed it and thought about it to see what we could do differently,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. “I don’t know … (criticism) is understandable. We’ve had early exits against significantly lower seeds.”
Thompson said FGCU’s 21-2 run caused his team to become “discombobulated on the defensive end. They made a bunch of threes. We got nervous and spread out, and they went to their second and third options and picked us apart.”