An unheralded opponent. An uninspired performance. A stunning opening-round tournament exit.
Yup, Georgetown is in March form already and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.
Eight months after the Hoyas crashed out of the NCAA tournament during the opening weekend for the fifth time in their last five appearances, they followed that same pattern in the first round of this week's Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Playing the role of Davidson, Ohio or Florida Gulf Coast was Northeastern, which rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit and emerged with a 63-56 victory.
Northeastern's upset ensures that the Puerto Rico Tip-Off will feature an interloper in its title game. The winner of Friday's semifinal between the Huskies and fellow underdog Charlotte will probably draw either VCU or Michigan in the championship game, while the consolation bracket will feature a Georgetown-Kansas State clash.
Though Northeastern won 20 games last season and captured the CAA championship, it's a surprise to see the Huskies bounce Georgetown. Perimeter standouts Joel Smith and Jonathan Lee graduated from last year's team and standout forward Quincy Ford has been hobbled by a back injury, contributing to Northeastern taking a step backward with losses to Stony Brook and Boston University already this season.
Georgetown masked all of Northeastern's flaws with its poor free throw shooting, wayward 3-point shooting and lack of defensive hustle. With the Huskies doubling mammoth center Joshua Smith to limit him to only five shots, guards Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera attempted 26 shots but sank just seven of them, including just 2 of 12 from behind the arc.
The last gasp for the Hoyas came when Starks slipped and lost the handle driving into the lane with less than a minute to go and Northeastern leading 60-56. Reggie Spencer sank 1 of 2 free throws and punctuated the win with a steal and dunk.