WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Boston College’s Jared Dudley and Jessie Sapp of Georgetown went up for a rebound and then went nose-to-nose, jawing at each other. Neither was about to back down.
It was like old times again for the former Big East rivals.
After they were separated and double technical fouls were called, the Hoyas asserted their dominance inside, and took another step toward their return to the top of college basketball.
Roy Hibbert scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds and Jeff Green converted a pair of three-point plays in the final two minutes as Georgetown rallied to beat Boston College 62-55 on Saturday in the East Regional.
With most of the North Carolina crowd rooting for the Eagles, who bolted the Big East for the ACC two years ago, the Hoyas eventually solved BC’s zone defense and coach John Thompson III and the Hoyas (28-6) advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year.
“That was a Big East game — physical, very physical,” Green said. “We had to gut it out. We were down four at halftime, and had to come out and take what they gave us. We made a few good plays and won the game.”
Second-seeded Georgetown, which had missed the tournament for four straight years until last season, will play sixth-seed Vanderbilt on Friday at East Rutherford, N.J.
“There was a lot we had to figure out, stick together and work our way through what they were doing,” said Thompson, whose father, former Georgetown coaching great John Thompson, broadcast the game on radio. “Our guys did a good job of not getting rattled, and now we’re moving on.”
Tyrese Rice scored 22 points and Dudley added 19 points and eight rebounds for the seventh-seeded Eagles (21-12). Boston College blew an eight-point, second-half lead and were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by a Big East school for the second straight year.
Boston College, which had a messy divorce with its former league, led by four at halftime and opened up a 39-31 lead early in the second half behind Dudley, the Eagles’ emotional, talkative senior leader.
“I’m undersized and a lot of guys down there might be stronger, so I’m grabbing and I might push,” Dudley said. “But I’m getting pushed, too. (Sapp) didn’t like it and he said a few words. I didn’t walk away.”
It was the attitude BC coach Al Skinner thought the Eagles had to have to pull the upset.
“I don’t want him to walk away. That’s not how you’re going to handle yourself,” Skinner said. “It’s up to the officials to control it.”
But the undersized Eagles had already started to wear down as it became apparent they missed 6-foot-10 center Sean Williams, who was kicked off the team in January. The Eagles, who frustrated the Hoyas early with their zone, couldn’t prevent the 7-foot-2 Hibbert and Green from getting free late.
Hibbert’s two free throws completed a 10-0 run to give the Hoyas the lead. After Rice hit a 3 and two free throws to get the Eagles within one, Sapp hit a layup and Green’s three-point play with 1:26 left put Georgetown ahead 59-53.
But they had to work for it. Georgetown, which came in second in the nation in field goal percentage at nearly 51 percent, shot only 38 percent. Green, the Big East player of the year, shot 4-for-12, but had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jonathan Wallace added 15 points for the Hoyas, who have won six straight and 17 of 18.
The Eagles, who had lost five of seven before a first-round win over Texas Tech on Saturday, made only nine of 29 shots in the second half and gave up 17 offensive rebounds, seven to Hibbert.
“We just couldn’t keep them off the boards,” Dudley said. “They are a lot taller than us and a lot more athletic. If we can’t get a body on them, boxing out, it’s going to happen.”
Senior Sean Marshall struggled in his final game, scoring nine points on 4-for-15 shooting.
“They’ve brought Boston College basketball to a new level,” Skinner said of his two seniors. “They’ve raised the bar here, there’s no question about it.”
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