CHARLESTON, S.C. — Georgetown coach John Thompson III hopes his Hoyas (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) leave with more than the Charleston Classic championship trophy they won Sunday night.
"This whole experience, I think we can build upon," Thompson said after Georgetown's 82-67 victory over North Carolina State.
"When league play starts, you have to come prepared every night," Thompson continued. "We're going to play good teams every night and we have to mentally, physically, emotionally be honed in and focused like we were in the second half tonight."
The Hoyas and Wolfpack hadn't played since the 1989 NCAA round of 16 when Thompson's father, Georgetown national championship icon John Thompson, outlasted North Carolina State and the late Jim Valvano 69-61 to advance.
For a half, this one looked every bit as vibrant as that NCAA matchup as the Wolfpack's young lineup went toe-to-toe with their more experienced opponents.
In the second half, Georgetown showed another dimension and powered its way to the tournament crown.
"This just shows that any night we can fight adversity," said Wright, selected the tournament's MVP.
Trailing 44-42, Big East preseason player of the year Austin Freeman started Georgetown's surge with a one-handed power jam. Henry Sims followed with a bucket to give the Hoyas the lead for good. Wright hit a jumper and Thompson and Jason Clark connected on 3-pointers to put the Hoyas ahead 57-44.
Reserve Richard Howell scored 14 points for North Carolina State (3-1), which was trying for its third in-season tournament crown in four years.
Freeman finished with 15 points and Clark had 14.
Georgetown came into the final after displaying depth, versatility, power and long-range accuracy earlier in the tournament.
The Hoyas hit 14 3-pointers in topping Coastal Carolina in Thursday's opener, then hung tough against pesky Wofford on Friday to move into the championship.
Against North Carolina State, the Hoyas were forced to call on patience and poise to handle the precocious Wolfpack.
"They beat us," North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe said. "They took advantage of their experience."
Lowe again started two freshmen and two sophomores with forward Tracy Smith out for a few weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery this weekend.
Lowe acknowledge that Smith, a 6-foot-8 senior, could've helped settle his younger teammates during Georgetown's charge.
It looked at first as if North Carolina State's newbies might be OK.
They pushed the pace to lead 5-0 and 15-9 early on. Gradually, Georgetown's experience kicked in. Thompson hit a 3-pointer and Julian Vaughn an easy inside bucket to tie the game at 18.
The Wolfpack again went up 26-22 on a layup by speedy freshman Lorenzo Brown and a tip-in by Howell.
But 3s by Hoya veterans Clark and Wright tied it once again.
North Carolina State shook off the loss of Smith — he returned to campus after injuring his knee in Thursday's game — and blew past East Carolina and George Mason by double-digit margins.
But when pressed, the Wolfpack's young players couldn't maintain their composure. They rushed shots and, while they ran with abandon, did not play with direction.
C.J. Leslie, a freshman who keyed North Carolina State's first two wins, had only 2 points after halftime.