Saturday, January 17, 2009

Flashback -- Dec. 5, 1990: Georgetown 79, Duke 74

My friend Sweeny texted me yesterday to tell me this game was on TV (ESPN Classic, I guess) and to ask if I'd attended it.

Oh yeah.

This was freshman year. Maybe the first game any of us went to. I remember it like it was yesterday (if yesterday had been a day I started drinking in the afternoon, discovered how good beer tastes when you drink it in the shower and been introduced to a drink called the "pisco sour" by a crazy Peruvian guy with a German name...)

My kid brother was visiting that day, and came to the game with us. This was especially cool because he was a Duke fan (who eventually, though we couldn't be certain of this yet, would attend and graduate from Duke).

The game was unreal. I mean, look at the names in the box score.

No. 5 Duke, with Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill and Christian Laettner -- a team that would lose only five more games all year and win the first of two straight national championships.

No. 6 Georgetown, with Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and the swing-forward for whom this blog is named -- a team that would peak on this night and be eliminated by defending champion UNLV in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Yeah, I remember this game. I remember how incredible it was to win. I remember it as pretty much the last bad game of the college careers of Hurley and Lattner. (The stats back me up there -- the two of them were a combined 8-for-33!) And yeah, I remember that Mourning hurt his foot in this game and basically missed the whole rest of the season, which kind of put a damper on the national tile hopes.

This really may have been the last real highlight of the John Thompson II era before it plunged into a period of darkness. My sophomore year, the team lost in the second round to Florida State. And my junior year, they missed the NCAAs for the first time in 15 years.

But I guess we'd always have Dec. 5, 1990. That just had to hold us until Thompson's kid showed up a decade and a half later.

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