Shocking debut: FGCU sends Georgetown packing
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What a debut for Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA Tournament.
Playing in the City of Brotherly Love, the 15th-seeded Eagles portrayed the role of Rocky Balboa and delivered a stunning knockout to Georgetown's national title hopes.
Sherwood Brown had 24 points and Bernard Thompson scored 23 in Florida Gulf Coast's 78-68 win over the Hoyas.
Brett Comer finished with 12 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Eagles (25-10), who seized control with a 21-2 second-half surge and became the third No. 15 seed to oust a No. 2 in the last two years.
"It's very exciting to be in the position that we're in right now," Brown said. "We worked really, really hard to be where we're at. No one has given us anything. It just means that much more that we actually had to go out there and earn it and take what we felt was ours."
Norfolk State edged Missouri in the 2012 tournament, a few hours before Lehigh took down Duke.
Florida Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Sun Tournament champs, will play San Diego State, a winner over Oklahoma on Friday, in the third round of the South Region.
The Eagles are in just their second year of Division I postseason eligibility.
Markel Starks paced Georgetown (25-7) with 23 points, while Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter, Jr. posted a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double but shot just 5-of-17 from the floor.
Down seven midway through the first half, Florida Gulf Coast rallied to take a 24-22 lead into halftime despite shooting just 30.8 percent.
Following the break, the Eagles connected on 56.5 percent of their shots, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
FGCU opened the second frame with a Brown 3-pointer and an alley-oop slam by Chase Fieler to go ahead by a 29-22 score.
Georgetown fought back to tie things up at 31-31, but a Thompson trey ignited the huge run that resulted in a 19-point lead for the Eagles. Another Fieler dunk capped the burst and gave FGCU a 52-33 advantage with 12:30 remaining.
"They got out in transition, and that started their run," Porter said. "They started knocking down the shots. It's hard when a team is knocking down shots like that."
The Hoyas chipped away at the deficit, closing to within 72-68 inside the final minute, but the Eagles were efficient at the foul line in the latter stages of the game.
FGCU made 24-of-32 free throws in the second half.
"I didn't think they were going to come back," Thompson said. "We just kept the intensity up. They really couldn't match our energy or anything, and we just put the pressure on them."
FGCU has been a Division I program for only six years ... Brown had nine rebounds to became the Eagles' all-time leader in that category with 575 ... This marked the fourth time in program history that Georgetown was a No. 2 seed ... The Hoyas shot 37.5 percent from the field and finished 7-of-27 from 3-point range.
03/23 00:28:16 ET