WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aaron Bowen entered Saturday’s game with No. 5 Louisville having played a grand total of 158 minutes in his career as a Georgetown Hoya.
It’s Bowen’s third-year in the program. He’s not exactly the first guy on an opponent’s scouting report. The only reason he’s getting consistent playing time right now is that John Thompson III had to open up his bench when Greg Whittington was suspended earlier this month. But it was Bowen that was the difference on Saturday, as he scored the game-winning bucket as the Hoyas knocked off the Cardinals 53-51.
There were just under four minutes left in the game. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera drove and missed a shot. And Bowen came swooping in out of nowhere, somehow managing to tip-in the miss over his head and off the glass.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Markel Starks said. “When the shot went up, he just came outta nowhere. It was unbelievable.”
“That was not a normal play,” Thompson said.
Bowen called his shot as well, telling Thompson “I’m gonna get one, coach” as he was subbed in for Nate Lubick at the previous dead-ball.
But there was more to it than simply being the final basket in a game that saw all of two points scored after the final TV timeout. Bowen’s tip-in allowed the Hoyas to make a statement, to serve notice that this is not the same team that lost to Pitt by 28 points in the very same building just 18 days ago.
Louisville has their issues, and we’ll get to that in another post, but regardless of how you slice it, the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the country. They are going to have one of the strongest resumes in the country when the season is all said and done. This is the kind of resume-defining win that Georgetown will need come Selection Sunday. The Hoyas are a long way from the bubble, but with last Saturday’s loss at South Florida, it’s quite obvious that the Hoyas aren’t going to make it through the rest of the Big East schedule unscathed.
Having this win to fall back on certainly could end up being the difference between a four-seed and a six-seed, and that could end up being the difference between a first-round upset and a trip to the Sweet 16.
Yes, that’s a bit of hyperbole. And no, there’s no way that any prediction made today will make sense come March, let alone next weekend.
But don’t let this get lost in the discussion of Louisville flaws. Georgetown once again looks like the team that took Indiana to overtime back in November.
The Hoyas now have back-to-back wins over ranked teams less than three weeks after the country was ready to disregard them.
“We’re geting better. We’re progressing,” Thompson said.
I’d say so.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.