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FINAL FOUR REPORT

Father figures loom large for the Hoyas

March 31, 2007|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

ATLANTA — John Thompson III called Georgetown the "son of" team, but the Hoyas coach and junior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. will try to enhance their own legacies today against Ohio State in a national semifinal at the Georgia Dome.

Thompson and Ewing have been besieged with comparisons to their famous fathers, who led Georgetown to a national title in 1984.

"John Thompson is my dad. That's what he is to me," Thompson said Friday. "Patrick Ewing is little Pat's dad, and on down the line. Obviously, there's a bond, an understanding. But he's extremely comfortable with who he is."

Georgetown players said they enjoyed having famous figures around a program that they helped put in the national spotlight.

"Just to watch [Patrick Ewing] when you were younger and get to play with his son, it's fun, especially him coming to all the games," junior forward Jeff Green said. "It's an experience you'll never forget."

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Hoyas junior Roy Hibbert has come a long way from his days as a seldom-used freshman. Today, the 7-foot-2 center will have the spotlight on him as he matches up against Ohio State's 7-foot Greg Oden.

But Thompson says Hibbert realizes that today's game will hinge on more than a one-on-one matchup, and his players agree.

Green said the Hoyas would try to aggressively take the ball at Oden in an attempt to get him in foul trouble.

"You can't back down and settle for perimeter shots. You have to go in and try to force the ref to make the call. You have to take the ball to the rim and if he blocks it, he blocks it, but you have to keep going at him," Green said.

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Georgetown is nothing if not consistent, at least when it comes to its starting lineup. The Hoyas have used the same lineup for the last 33 games: Hibbert, guards Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp and forwards Green and DaJuan Summers.

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Georgetown has never lost in a national semifinal, advancing to the championship game in each of its four previous Final Four appearances.

The Hoyas also have defeated Ohio State both times the teams have met in the NCAA tournament. Last season, seventh-seeded Georgetown upset second-seeded Ohio State, 70-52, in the second round.

"It's two totally different teams, their team as well as our team," Thompson III said.

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The Buckeyes said they were preparing for an unusual challenge in Georgetown's Princeton-style offense.

"There are a lot of half-court sets. Not a lot of up and down," freshman guard Daequan Cook said. "They're more like a 35-second team. They will use up a lot of the shot clock.

"We are used to playing teams that shoot with 10 seconds or 12 seconds left on the shot clock or get up and down with it."

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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