This Day in March Madness History
March 22, 2013
Georgetown vs. Florida Gulf Coast
- The Setup
Georgetown entered the 2013 NCAA Tournament on the heels of their most successful regular season since 2008, as the Hoyas posted a 25-6 record. The Hoyas hoped to turn that success into some postseason wins, as Georgetown had struggled in March Madness recently, not making it out of the opening weekend since 2007 – and having done so only three times under current coach John Thompson III, who had been at the helm since 2004. They had also dipped out of the tournament at the hands of a double-digit seed in their prior three appearances.
Florida Gulf Coast was making their debut in the NCAA Tournament, just in their third season of D1 postseason eligibility, having transitioned from D2 in 2007. The Eagles had played their way to a solid 26-11 record and 2nd-place finish in the ASUN, and then they finished the job by winning the conference title to earn their bid.
- How it went down
Georgetown did not start badly, and they knocked out an early 8-0 run to take an 18-11 lead, but from there, the Hoyas looked completely lost offensively. The Eagles would close a very defensive half on a 13-4 run to take a 24-22 lead. They took the lead with 26 seconds left, and much of the crowd watched in confusion as the Hoyas passed the ball around until the buzzer, not even attempting a shot before the horn. This gave the Eagles a halftime lead and a lot of extra swagger and momentum coming out of the break.
The two teams battled early in the second half, with FGCU maintaining a slim 32-31 advantage. In games with huge favorites, even when the underdog stays close, the favored squad can often run off a huge burst that puts them in control, but on this particular day, it was the Eagles who did that. With a series of triples, great shooting, and crowd-energizing alley-oops, FGCU went on a blistering 21-2 run to seize a 52-33 lead with 12:28 to play. From there, the Hoyas seemingly awoke, but they could not come all the way back.
Although Georgetown’s offense, virtually non-existent for the past twenty minutes of game time roared back to life, the Eagles didn’t exactly go cold, as they still scored 20 points in the next 11+ minutes, staving off the Hoyas, who ripped of 35 points to close within 72-68 with 52 seconds left. From there, Georgetown did get five more possessions, but they failed to notch a single point. FGCU gave them an opening by missing four of ten free throws, but the Hoyas simply did not deserve to win the game, and they couldn’t polish off a miraculous escape, falling 78-68.
- The Aftermath
FGCU captured the nation’s hearts with that upset, and their confidence and swagger, along with their spectacular display of dunking on the court earned them the nickname “Dunk City”. The Eagles kept their run alive a little longer, taking out #7 San Diego State in the Round of 32, 81-71. FGCU was the seventh 15th seed to advance to the Round of 32, but the Eagles were the first to forge their way to the Sweet 16. They eventually met their match, losing to the Florida Gators there, but “Dunk City” and their magical run is an all-time classic March Madness moment that will be remembered for decades to come.
Meanwhile, Georgetown never really did recover from that stunning upset. The Hoyas have made just one NCAA Tournament appearance since then, which resulted in a Round of 32 loss. Although the 2020 field was not selected, the Hoyas’ first round exit in the Big East tournament would have ensured a fifth straight year without a NCAA Tournament bid, their worst streak since breaking a 30-year drought in 1974.
- NBA Notables
FGCU – None
Georgetown – Otto Porter (Bulls)