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View from Press Row: Hoyas Advance to Round of 32

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No, it wasn't a dream. But if you are Eastern Washington's attention seeking coach, you might have called last night in Portland a nightmare.

With what seemed like an entire nation of ‘analysts' picking your beloved Georgetown Hoyas to lose yet another NCAA Tournament game to a double digit seeded team, the good guys in the traditional Grey uniforms flipped the switch and reversed course by notching a double digit win thanks to some unlikely heroes.

We've already put out a great recap which you can read here but there's still some stuff we need to talk as the Hoyas are literally 40 minutes away from that Sweet 16 appearance we have all been dreaming about since Kenner League started last July.

Make no doubt about it, this game was won during an 8 minute stretch in the first half when the Hoyas took the best punches that the Eagles could throw, and even though they still trailed, they maintained their balance and poise in the eye of a hurricane of highlights.

With the score tied at 7, JT3 called an early timeout after two straight Eastern Washington possessions ended in multiple shots thanks to some awful defensive rebounding and effort by the Hoyas.

Unfortunately that timeout did little to stop the Eagles from scoring as it started to look like we were once again on the fast track straight towards upset city. The next 22 EWU points all looked like something out of the One Shining Moment highlight reel that we have seen all too often as Hoya fans in March.

Venky Jois had two monster dunks while the nation's leading scorer Tyler Harvey had three of the six EWU 3-poiners, including a dribble around everybody before jumping backwards behind the line only to hit nothing but the bottom of the net Stephen Curry type bomb that set the partisan crowd at the Moda Center crazy.

Usually that is the type of stretch that buries a JT3 team at this time of year but there's something different about this group and the way that they are coached. In a season of unpredictable lineups and heroes from game to game, JT3 rolled the dice with a group that has hardly - if at all - played together in what was the most important game and it paid off.

Georgetown countered those dunks and long range 3-pointers with patient offense and basic basketball that included two Bradley Hayes tip-ins, two Mikael Hopkins free throws, two Aaron Bowen drives, and 3-pointers from two players that have no postseason losses to their names in Paul White and Tre Campbell.

So after Eastern Washington had given all they could give, the Hoyas stood tall, trailing just 29-25 and never fell behind by more than seven. Of course that's when the game got even more interesting. Ok, now let's go into blurb form.

11 to 2: So with the Hoyas trailing 29-25, JT3 sent his best player -D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to the bench. It looked like it was something to maybe get the star guard a breather until the under 4 minute media timeout but it lasted much longer because JT3 went with the hot hands.

The lineup was Campbell, Trawick, Bowen, White, and Hayes. I'm fairly confident that if you have been charting lineups going back to the St. Francis game, that particular lineup that I just rattled off hadn't played more than 30 seconds together all season.

By the time DSR got back on the court, the Hoyas had gone on an 11-2 run thanks to 3-pointers by Trawick, Campbell, and Bowen and the first two free throws of the season for Hayes. Yes, seriously. Coming in the junior center was just 0 for 3 from the line in his previous 51 minutes spread out over 15 games.

Bench: It would be hard to get more out of your bench. Actually make that impossible. All five players that JT3 pulled from the bench played at least 10 minutes and scored at least eight points. The reserves scored 45 of the Hoyas 84 points. Two years ago in the Hoyas last NCAA tournament appearance the bench contributed 16 points as only two Hoya non starters scored. Hayes set career highs in points (8) and rebounds (6). His eight points matched his combined season total and his four offensive rebounds were a game high.

And let's not overlook Aaron Bowen. The fifth year senior is kind of an NCAA gamer. Against FCGU, Bowen was one of the bright spots in going for eight points in 12 minutes. The Hoyas human highlight film did it again by going for eight points, including just his ninth 3-pointer of season.

Frosh: Had you been told before that Isaac Copeland wouldn't score a single point, you might have done something different with your night than watched a basketball game that tipped around 11 PM on the east coast. In fact Copeland and fellow freshman starter L.J. Peak each went scoreless in a combined 19 minutes while freshman reserves Campbell and White combined for 19 points, five 3-pointers, and 57 minutes. It's a great sign that the Hoyas were able to advance without Copeland's offensive contributions but in order to keep going, Georgetown will need Copeland to get going.

Steady: Yes a lot of unexpected things happened in Georgetown's first NCAA Tournament win since the Hoyas beat Belmont in Columbus in 2012 but DSR was, as JT3 would say, DSR. The junior all BIG EAST performer had the most points (25) in a tournament win in the JT3 era (16 games and counting). The previous leader was Jeff Green (22 points) in that famous Elite 8 win over UNC in 2007 but he needed an extra five minutes to do so. It should be noted that Chris Wright has the most points for JT3 in an NCAA Tournament game with 28 against Ohio (2010) while Hollis Thompson went for 26 against VCU (2011). Obviously both of those scoring outbursts took place in games we'd like to never think about again. Sorry for bringing it up.

JT3 goes HAM: A lot was made about Eastern Washington's coach guaranteeing a win on the Jim Rome show. JT3 didn't make that much out of it...that is until he crushed him in the post game press conference. I unfortunately wasn't able to make the game due to some things out of my control - mainly time and money - but from being around Georgetown's boss for the last four years, his comments are a breath of fresh air.

"So he guaranteed victory. Maybe it's just me. But when I think that, I think Namath, Ali, and Bird in 3-point contest. "He doesn't fit the bill of guys that usually guarantee victory."

Awesome stuff.

Superman: Did anybody else notice that Tyler Adams went with a first half suit and then came out after halftime in the Hoyas warmup gear? Well, he did. I'm assuming that JT3's hybrid assistant coach/senior day dunking machine got so worked up cheering the rest of the guys on in the first half that he needed to pull the Clark Kent move at halftime and come out with some more casual attire.

Moving on up: DSR has now hit 72 3-pointers this season. He passed Wallace's senior season output of 71 last night to move up to fifth place in single season makes. Depending on how far the Hoyas go, DSR could finish as high as second. Allen Iverson holds the record with 87 makes in 1995-96.

2007: It always seems to come back to that year doesn't it? Well when the Hoyas take on the fifth seeded Utes on Saturday night, it will be the first time since 2007 that the Hoyas have played a single digit seed since their Final Four loss to Ohio State in Atlanta. JT3 is 4-2 against single digit seeds, having scored double digit upset wins over both a 1 and a 2 seed during his time at Georgetown.

Unusual: With 30 NCAA Tournament appearances, Georgetown has just once faced a team from what is now called the PAC-12. Way back in Patrick Ewing's freshman campaign of 1982 the Hoyas knocked off the Beavers of Oregon State out West in the regional final.

Personal note: Last night was only the 2nd NCAA Tournament game under JT3 game that I've missed (Florida 2006) and for as bummed as I was when I gave up trying to get out there on Tuesday night, I'm more than happy to be missing a 3rd game. This program really needed to win that game. Now they're just 40 minutes away.