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Georgetown College men's basketball team ended a first round curse, exiting then the past two seasons, Thursday morning with a win over Olivet Nazarene (21-12) in the 2011 Buffalo Funds NAIA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, 83-76.
Now the Tigers (30-4) face an opponent only seen twice before, unseeded McKendree University, 12:30 p.m. CST Friday (1:30 p.m. EST). The last time GC and the Bearcats (21-12) played was in the 2004 national tournament first round. Georgetown won 88-56.
MU defeated No. 10 Southern Nazarene Thursday afternoon, the fourth upset of the first round with five more games to play before the round of 16. The Bearcats rallied from six down at the half for a big 75-62 win.
In the Tigers first game, they exploded for an early, double-digit lead, but sharp shooting by the ONU Tigers kept things interesting for much of the game. GC junior Vic Moses notched a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. More impressive he did not miss a shot from the field, 12-of-12.
The Lexington native started the tournament as Georgetown's 18th all-time leading scorer with 1,490 points. His 24 points edged him closer to No. 17 Tom Tripman's 1,536.
Georgetown, which holds a 50-28 record in the national tournament and 21-9 in the first round, had made early exits the past two seasons. However, the team was determined not to go home. Every time ONU made a run, GC would collect itself and find just the right answer be it a basket by Moses, a floater by senior point guard Eddie Gray or a defensive stop.
"This is a good start," Tiger coach Happy Osborne said. "But we have to keep improving, especially defensively."
The veteran coach likes to see his team keep teams hold opponents to under 39 percent shooting, but ONU hit 45.9 percent Thursday morning.
Georgetown took much better can of the basketball in the second half. In the first 20 minutes, the team had eight miscues. It finished with just 11 for the game. Olivet went into the locker room with nine turnovers, but GC's pressure forced eight more in the second 20.
The Tigers shot 44.6 percent from the field, but did struggle from deep on 4-of-17 shooting. All four deep balls came in the first half. GC was 0-of-7 in the final 20.
Georgetown also struggled at times from the foul line, hitting 21-of-30, but down the stretch senior Matt Walls went 4-of-6 to keep the score out of three-point shooting ONU's reach.