PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Twenty-one years ago, Georgetown pulled into Providence as the top seed and nearly exited as a victim of the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history.
The Hoyas weren't so lucky to avoid the loss this time.
Ohio refused to let this moment slip through its fingers.
In early March, no one expected Ohio to be in this position. The team had just finished a 7-9 season in Mid-American Conference play and entered the conference tournament as the ninth seed.
Four wins later, Ohio was in the 65-team field.
Forty minutes later, the Bobcats are in the second round.
Armon Bassett scored 32 points and D.J. Cooper had 23 to lead the 14th-seeded Bobcats to a convincing 97-83 win over the Hoyas in the Midwest Regional in day stuffed with wild finishes and big upsets in Providence.
"In terms of historical perspective, I haven't had a lot of time to reflect on that," Ohio coach John Groce said.
The Bobcats (22-14) did more than pull off the biggest shocker of the tournament on Thursday. They destroyed some brackets and proved that a mid-major label can mean little in March, even against the big, bad Big East.
"I'm really excited for our guys and I hope that it's something that they'll take with them beyond basketball as they move forward in their lives," Groce said.
The Hoyas (23-11) had a rough time in Providence back in 1989, too, when they narrowly beat No. 16 seed Princeton 50-49. At least they won in '89.
The Hoyas fell behind early and soon found themselves in a 19-point hole.
"We knew they were playing well. It wasn't a surprise," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "We didn't become enlightened midway through the game or early in the game. They did a great job."
Ohio seized the lead early on its 3-point shooting and never had a serious letdown the rest of the way. Ohio joined Murray State, which knocked off Vanderbilt 66-65 at the buzzer, as the two big upset winners Thursday.
The Bobcats weren't the only team in town knocking off a higher seed. No. 10-seed Saint Mary's beat Richmond 80-71 for its first NCAA win in six tries since 1959.
Robert Morris and San Diego State each valiantly tried to make their own shots at history. The 15th-seeded Colonials led No. 2 seed Villanova most of the game before fading. Scottie Reynolds, benched by coach Jay Wright for disciplinary reasons, rallied the Wildcats late in regulation from the free-throw line and they held on win 73-70 in overtime.
Tennessee held off 11th-seed San Diego State 62-59.
That left Ohio, which won four games in the MAC tournament just to make the 65-team field, the story of the day.
How about a standing O for Ohio!
Bassett, the MAC tournament MVP, made it look easy. After a 3-pointer made it 39-26, he just turned toward the crowd with a shrug and smiled.
Ohio led by 12 at halftime and kept on rolling. Cooper picked Georgetown's Jason Clark clean, sprinted toward the basket and tossed the ball backward high over his head where a streaking DeVaughn Washington slammed home the alley-oop in the play of the game.
In other games:
|Villanova 73, Robert Morris 70, OT|
Reynolds and No. 2 seed Villanova (25-7) nearly had their NCAA tournament run end in the biggest of upsets.
Reynolds responded to his benching with a clutch performance at the foul line in the final minutes of regulation, and the Wildcats survived a scare from Robert Morris.
Coach Jay Wright sat Reynolds at the start of the game to make a "teaching point," and he missed 13 of 15 shots from the floor. But the senior star made seven of eight free throws in the final 3:06 to send the game into overtime, finishing with 20 points.
Karon Abraham scored 23 for Robert Morris (23-13), which was on the brink of becoming only the fifth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 and the first since 2001.
|Saint Mary's 80, Richmond 71|
Omar Samhan had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and Saint Mary's pulled away from Richmond. The 10th-seeded Gaels (27-5) will play Saturday against Villanova.
Mickey McConnell, the West Coast Conference tournament MVP when the Gaels upset Gonzaga in the title game, went 5 for 9 from 3-point range and scored 23 points.
David Gonzalvez scored 18 and Kevin Anderson had 16 for Richmond (26-9). The Spiders have won NCAA tournament games as No. 12, 13, 14 and 15 seeds but, playing as a favorite for the first time in school history, failed to make it out of the first round.
|Tennessee 62, San Diego State 59|
Melvin Goins made his fourth 3-pointer with 19 seconds left, and Tennessee held off San Diego State.
The sixth-seeded Volunteers (26-8) will play Saturday against No. 14 seed Ohio. A victory would put Tennessee in the round of 16 for the third time in four years.
Goins and J.P. Prince scored 15 points apiece for Tennessee on coach Bruce Pearl's 50th birthday.
D.J. Gay had 16 points for No. 11 seed San Diego State (25-9). The Aztecs have never won an NCAA tournament game.