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March 19, 2006

Georgetown knocks off Ohio State

DAYTON, Ohio - John Thompson took over a losing Georgetown program and needed four years to win two games in an NCAA tournament.

His son is way ahead of him.

Seven-foot-2 Roy Hibbert scored 20 points, Jeff Green 19, Ashanti Cook 17 and Darrel Owens 14 - accounting for all the Hoyas' points - to beat second-seeded Ohio State 70-52 on Sunday in the second round of the Minneapolis Regional.

Hibbert also had 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The seventh-seeded Hoyas (23-9) did it with a patient and disciplined offense and a dose of that tenacious defense that Thompson made famous.

After the final seconds ticked away, the happy Hoyas pointed to the eldest Thompson at courtside, who stood and raised a fist and flashed a smile as wide as any he wore during Georgetown's run to the NCAA title in 1984.

The trip to the regional semifinals came in John Thompson III's second season after taking over a team that was down and almost forgotten. His father, who built the feared and ferocious teams of the 1980s, went four seasons before winning twice in the 1976 NCAA tournament.

Georgetown (23-9) advances to meet Florida (29-6) on Friday. This marks the first time since 1996 that a Big Ten team hasn't made it through the tournament's first weekend.

It was a bitter loss for Ohio State (26-6), making its first tournament appearance since an NCAA investigation into the program while Jim O'Brien was the head coach led to four trips from 1999-2002 being erased from the books.

While the Hoyas were putting it away with a late 9-0 run, ''Pops'' Thompson clapped his hands while working as a radio analyst. By that time, many Ohio State fans were flooding the exits with the Buckeyes trailing by double digits.

The Hoyas wasted no time in getting the attention of the Big Ten's regular-season champions. Cook drilled a 3-pointer their first time down the floor. On the second trip, Ohio State's Terence Dials - the Big Ten's player of the year - was called for a touch foul before the ball was over midcourt.

Hibbert hit four of his first five shots from the field and had nine points as the Hoyas streaked to a 20-10 lead in the opening 10 1/2 minutes.

Georgetown shot 57 percent from the field in the first half while grabbing a 38-25 lead.

Perhaps the only good sign for the Buckeyes was that their top outside shooter, Je'Kel Foster, came out of a lengthy shooting funk to hit three consecutive long 3-pointers that cut the Hoyas' lead to 22-19.

Unfazed, Georgetown continued to pass and cut on offense and play sticky defense. The Hoyas ran off 11 of the half's final 13 points, most on layups or shots in the paint.

The Buckeyes never got closer than six points because guards Cook, Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp never let them get a clean perimeter shot.

Dials finished with 19 points, Jamar Butler had 12 and Foster 11 for the Buckeyes.

At least the quiet ride home didn't take long for Ohio State, which only came an hour down the road from Columbus.

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