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NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT : Providence, Syracuse Score Upsets : Friars Stun Hoyas, 88-73, by Relying on Inside Game

March 22, 1987|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

Even though Providence was ahead by 17 points at halftime, Pitino was leery of the Hoyas.

"Georgetown is the best comeback team in America," Pitino said. "I told our players at halftime to imagine themselves in the Georgetown dressing room. I told them not to take their eyes off the basket and continue to attack."

And the Friars stayed on the attack, building a 68-52 advantage on Darryl Wright's three-point play with 12:55 remaining.

Early in the second half, Donovan pushed Georgetown guard Charles Smith and Smith pushed back. Then, Smith had to be restrained from going after Donovan.

Each team shot technical fouls, and there were no further incidents.

Said Smith: "We're both competitively tough. I don't know what happened."

Said Donovan: "We kind of bumped into each other and elbows were flying. It was no big deal, just two teams trying to go to the Final Four."

Surprisingly, that team is Providence. Now the question is will the Friars stay with their inside game against Syracuse, or revert back to relying on three-pointers?


At the end of the game, Providence rooters held up a sign that said: "Bobby: Delray is Coming." That was in reference to Delray Brooks having previously played for Bobby Knight at Indiana before he transferred to Providence. That sign won't be prophetic unless Indiana beats LSU today in the Midwest Regional final at Cincinnati. . . . Providence finished in a tie for fourth in the Big East regular-season standings. But Coach Rick Pitino said his team's surge through the tournament can be attributed to the improvement of Steve and Darryl Wright and Brooks. "They have raised their level of play to Billy Donovan's level," Pitino said. . . . The Providence reserves scored 41 of their team's 54 points in the first half. However, Steve Wright is a quick replacement for Jacek Duda, whose role is to jump center at the outset of a game. . . . This will be Providence's second appearance in the Final Four. The Friars got there in 1972-73, losing to Memphis State in the semifinals. . . . Providence lost both of its regular-season games to Syracuse. . . . Georgetown had won 14 straight games before losing to Providence.

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