Florida Gulf Coast stuns Georgetown, 78-68

Florida Gulf Coast's Eddie Murray slams home two points in the second half of the 15th-seeded Eagles' 78-68 win over Georgetown. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Florida Gulf Coast's Eddie Murray slams home two points in the second half of the 15th-seeded Eagles' 78-68 win over Georgetown. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Posted: March 23, 2013

The Florida Gulf Coast players held their jerseys after the final buzzer so everyone could see the green "FGCU" embroidered across them.

Two hours earlier, those letters were irrelevant to most fans. They are now forever part of NCAA tournament lore. Fifteenth-seeded Florida Gulf Coast, or FGCU, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with a 78-68 win over second-seeded Georgetown at the Wells Fargo Center to advance to Sunday's third round.

"I told our team before the game that Georgetown is ranked eighth in the country. But after you get out on the court for two or three minutes, you'll realize that you're just as good, if not better, than this team," coach Andy Enfield said. "And we did that."

The appeal of the NCAA tournament is results like Friday's at the South Philadelphia arena, where a nonpartisan crowd rallied around the underdog and cared less about their brackets and more about Goliath's falling.

It was the sixth upset of a No. 2 seed by a No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history, and the third in two years. For Georgetown, it was the fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance in which it had been eliminated by a double-digit seed.

"I don't really know what to do with myself," said FGCU's Bernard Thompson, who scored 23 points. The Eagles' Sherwood Brown led all scorers with 24 points.

Florida Gulf Coast will play seventh-seeded San Diego State, which advanced with a 70-55 win over 10th-seeded Oklahoma. The Aztecs were led by Jamaal Franklin's 21 points.

So the American public that follows college basketball only when winter turns to spring will wonder this weekend about Florida Gulf Coast. The school, founded in 1997 in Fort Myers, Fla., has an enrollment of 13,468. Enfield, a former NBA assistant, is married to the former Amanda Marcum, once a supermodel.

On the court, the Eagles entered halftime with a 24-22 lead that seemed impressive at the time, although Florida Gulf Coast did not believe it was playing well. Enfield said the Eagles played Georgetown's style at that point before shifting to "FGCU" basketball - fastbreaks, alley-oops, three-pointers.

Then the lead swelled to as many as 19 points in the second half. The punctuation on the win was an alley-oop from Brett Comer to Chase Fieler as the clock dipped below two minutes. It served as an appropriate punctuation for the onslaught. The Eagles did not just win; they won with style.

"No one had given us anything," Brown said. "It means that much more that we had to go out there and earn it, take what we feel was ours."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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