Blake Jenkins #2 of the Belmont Bruins shoots over Jason...

Blake Jenkins #2 of the Belmont Bruins shoots over Jason Clark #21 of the Georgetown Hoyas in the first half during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena. (March 16, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Here in the hometown of James Thurber, a shocking Belmont upset of Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament was nothing but a Walter Mitty daydream, a reverie of heroic proportions that couldn't possibly be real.

There were these brief castle-in-the-air moments right at the outset -- Belmont leads of 2-0 and 8-7 -- and even a Belmont threat that quickly proved hallucinatory after it closed a 13-point Georgetown lead to six at 42-36 with 14:52 to play.

But third-seeded Georgetown (24-8) -- taller, quicker and stronger -- easily prevailed against 14th-seeded Belmont, 74-59, in the second round of the Midwest Regional.

Georgetown's firepower and muscle left Belmont (27-8) with little choice but to fall back on three-point attempts. And, while shooting 10-for-27 from behind the arc, Belmont continually was pushed farther and farther from the basket by Georgetown's suffocating defense.

Only the Belmont three-pointers kept Georgetown even slightly in check. Georgetown, which will play No. 11 seed North Carolina State in the third round Sunday, shot 61.2 percent from the floor, led by senior guard Jason Clark (9-for-12, 3-for-5 on three- pointers) with 21 points. Freshman forward Otto Porter added 16 and senior Henry Sims, at 6-10, was a massive problem for Belmont as both a scorer (15 points) and passer (five assists).

"That's a scary offensive performance," Belmont coach Rick Byrd said of Georgetown. "They're real tall and they've got great athletes. They're a better team than I thought they were."

Belmont had come into the game with 14 consecutive victories; Georgetown's players were weary of hearing how they had been eliminated in the first game of their last two NCAA appearances. "But the best way to fix that was to win this game," Sims said, and their game-long intensity and obvious skill advantage made such a fix appear inevitable.

Statistically, Georgetown was credited with a mere three blocked shots. But with coach John Thompson III employing a zone defense much more than Byrd anticipated, Georgetown repeatedly blocked Belmont's path to the basket and gave Belmont a real taste of the racetrack with its transition offense.

"Let's not get carried away," Thompson responded to observations that his team's defense seemed impenetrable. "We've been penetrable a few times this year."

Not Friday. Belmont's leading scorers were sophomore forward Blake Jenkins, with 17 points (7-for-11, 2-for-2 on three-pointers) and junior Ian Clark, whose 12 points came on 4-for-11 shooting from three-point range. As a team, Belmont shot only 38.9 percent.

At the distances from which Belmont was forced to shoot, it brought to mind another Ohio native: astronaut John Glenn.


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