DAYTON, Ohio (AP)—It’s hard enough for John Thompson III to follow in the footsteps of his famous father. Now the elder Thompson has raised the stakes.
Roy Hibbert scored 20 points, Jeff Green 19, Ashanti Cook 17 and Darrel Owens 14—accounting for all the Hoyas’ points—to lead Georgetown to a 70-52 victory over second-seeded Ohio State on Sunday in the second round of the Minneapolis Regional.
“And he’s going to win a national championship, too,” Thompson said of his son, the Hoyas’ head coach. “Remember me telling you that.”
The seventh-seeded Hoyas (23-9) did it with a patient and disciplined offense and a dose of that tenacious defense that the older Thompson’s teams made famous.
After the final seconds ticked away, the happy Hoyas pointed to the elder 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.
Father and son hugged soon afterward.
Asked in the interview room if the victory was particularly sweet because he could share it with his father, Thompson III asked, “Is he here?”
A booming voice from the back of the room replied, “Right here!”
The son smiled as he said, “Yes, it is.”
The 7-foot-2 Hibbert also had 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The trip to the regional semifinals came in 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.
“What does it mean?” Thompson III repeated. “We’ll wait until the season is over to see. Hopefully, we’re not done.”
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.
This marks the first time since 1996 that a Big Ten team hasn’t made it through the tournament’s first weekend.
The Hoyas put it away with a late 9-0 run to push the lead to 15 points and erase any doubts. By that time, many Ohio State fans—they made up probably 75 percent of the crowd—were flooding the exits.
“We came in here knowing this was almost a home game for them,” Hibbert said. “We’ve played in atmospheres where the whole crowd’s against us. The seniors led us and we followed right behind them.”
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.
“This was one of Roy’s best games, but he’s been playing well for us all season,” Cook said. “We just hope he stays aggressive and keeps playing like he did tonight.”
Georgetown shot 57 percent from the field in the first half while grabbing a 38-25 lead.
“We were struggling for answers defensively,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “That’s really the first time—except for about an eight-minute span against LSU—when we’ve been baffled by a team.”
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.
“If they (the Hoyas) continue to play like this, the sky’s the limit,” Ohio State’s J.J. Sullinger said.
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.
“We beat a very, very good team,” Thompson III said. “I guess we had a bunch of guys who decided they wanted to keep playing. So we’re playing.”