Florida Gulf Coast

No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast weathers late push to stun No. 2 Georgetown

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Move over, Harvard. You’ve now got company atop the list of biggest upsets in this 2013 NCAA Tournament.

No. 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast, a school that was founded during the presidency of George H.W. Bush in 1991, pushed the tempo, emphasized its strengths, and outmuscled No. 2-seeded Georgetown in an upset win, 78-68, in the Round of 64 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Florida Gulf Coast came into the tournament as a No. 15 seed after winning the Atlantic Sun tournament championship over Mercer and won most notably over now-No. 2 seed Miami early in the non-conference season.

On Friday, Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Sherwood Brown was one of three Florida Gulf Coast players who reached double figures in scoring. He had 24 points, along with 23 from Bernard Thompson and 12 from Brett Comer.

And it was all a matter of pace.

In the first half, Georgetown allowed Florida Gulf Coast to play to its strength. The Hoyas shot just 33 percent from the floor and turned the ball over seven times, leading to run-outs and transition baskets for FGCU. The Eagles were also aggressive in getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Four players had at least two fouls.

Otto Porter, a player in the conversation for the National Player of the Year, had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. His inability to get in a groove was at the center of Georgetown’s problem of stagnant offense.

The Eagles came out in the second half with the same kind of intensity, taking every Georgetown miss and every Georgetown turnover and igniting a fastbreak. That includes an emphatic alley-oop and big putback slam that left the Hoyas looking confused and bewildered, eventually increasing the lead to 52-33 after a backdoor cut and slam by Chase Fieler.

When the Eagles weren’t getting out in transition, Georgetown was having trouble stopping Florida Gulf Coast in the half court. Point guard Brett Comer worked well against the Hoyas when they were in a zone, posting 10 assists to go along with his 12 points.

It all comes back to a main point that was widely discussed coming into this tournament. With so much parity, nearly every game so far has been a matter of matchups. Georgetown, a team centered around defense and working at a slow pace, met Florida Gulf Coast, one most comfortable working in transition. Because the Hoyas were unable to set the pace early, Florida Gulf Coast settled into a quicker groove and dictated how the game would be played.

The Hoyas are not built to make big swings in points, so a deficit that grew to 14 points with 4:27 left became too much. Georgetown made a push to cut the lead to eight points with 2:25 to play and five points with 1:04 remaining.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.