By John Roach
Boasting a stellar field—Georgetown, Gonzaga, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Siena, Tennessee and Wichita State—the 2008 Old Spice Classic more than lived up to its billing. Gonzaga eclipsed Tennessee in the championship, but that was just one of 12 thrilling games in this 3-day, 8-team tournament. Here’s how everyone did:
Conference: BIG EAST
Location: Washington, D.C.
The Hoyas took third place in the Old Spice Classic, thanks to a 75-48 victory over nearby recruiting rival Maryland, the teams’ second regular-season meeting since 1981. Austin Freeman (18 points), DaJuan Summers (14), and Greg Monroe (12) led the way as the Hoyas dominated throughout, leading 38-20 at halftime. Georgetown started the tournament by defeating Wichita State, 58-50, behind Freeman (18), Summers (14), and Monroe (11). The Hoyas, however, lost their second-round tourney game to Tennessee, 90-78. Chris Wright (18) was one of four players in double figures for Georgetown, including Summers (17), Monroe (15), and Freeman (12).
Conference: West Coast
Location: Spokane, Wash.
Gonzaga won the Old Spice Classic championship with an 83-74 victory over Tennessee. Tourney MVP Jeremy Pargo finished with 10 points and seven assists, often feeding Steven Gray (19) and Matt Bouldin (17). “He knows he doesn’t need to score to quarterback this club,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. The Bulldogs routed Maryland, 81-59, in the semifinal, thanks to Josh Heytvelt (22) and Austin Daye (17 points, 10 rebounds). They started their title run with an 83-71 opening-round win over Oklahoma State. Micah Downs (17 points, 12 rebounds) led the way, while Pargo added 15 points and seven assists.
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Location: College Park, Md.
Maryland took fifth in the Old Spice Classic after a 75-48 loss to Georgetown, which followed games against two Top 10 teams. Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie each had 11 points in the loss. The Terrapins lost to No. 9 Gonzaga, 81-59, in their second tourney game despite Greivis Vasquez’ solid all-around effort (16 points, 3 assists, 3 steals).
The Terrapins opened the tourney with an 80-62 upset of No. 5 Michigan State, behind 17 points each by Vasquez and Dave Neal. Maryland led by 18 with five minutes left and never let the Spartans within 15. “That’s as good as any team I’ve coached has played with a lead,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams.
Conference: Big Ten
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Michigan State rallied from an opening-round upset to finish fourth in the Old Spice Classic after beating Wichita State, 65-57, thanks to a 42-24 rebounding advantage even without top rebounder Goran Suton. Marquis Gray had 12 points and Delvon Roe added 11 rebounds. Raymar Morgan scored 29 points and Travis Walton added 16 in a 94-79 victory over Oklahoma State in the team’s second tourney game. The fifth-ranked Spartans were stunned in the tourney opener, losing, 80-62, to unranked Maryland. Walton led the way with 16 points as the team made just 12 of 27 free throws.
Conference: Big 12
Location: Stillwater, Okla.
The Cowboys took seventh place in the tourney with a 77-68 win over Siena. Keiton Page led the way with 21 points, while Obi Muonelo had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Terrel Harris added 12. In its second tourney game, Oklahoma State lost to fifth-ranked Michigan State, 94-79, despite 21 points and six rebounds by Harris. The Cowboys dropped their first-round game to eventual champ Gonzaga, 83-71. Harris had 17 points and Muonelo collected 16 points and 15 rebounds. Bryon Eaton added 10 assists and three steals.
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic
Location: Loudonville, N.Y.
Siena took eighth place in the Old Spice Classic, dropping all three tourney games following a 77-68 defeat to Oklahoma State. Ryan Rossiter scored 22 points, while preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player of the year Kenny Hasbrouck added 10. The Saints fell to Wichita State, 72-70, despite 20 points each by Hasbrouck and Edwin Ubiles, who also had eight rebounds and three steals. Siena lost to Tennessee in its tourney opener, 78-64; Alex Franklin led the way with 17 points, while Rossiter had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee dropped a close Old Spice Classic championship game to Gonzaga, 83-74, despite out-rebounding the Bulldogs, 50-26. Tyler Smith led the Volunteers with 17 points, while reserves Scotty Hobson (16 points) and Brian Williams (15 rebounds) chipped in. “We showed great heart,” said Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl. Tennessee reached the title game with a 90-78 victory over Georgetown behind Smith (21) and Cameron Tatum (17 on 5-of-6 on three-pointers). Bobby Maze added 14 and J.P. Prince 11. Tennessee won its opening-round game, 78-64, over Siena, behind Wayne Chism’s 15 points and six rebounds.
Conference: Missouri Valley
Location: Wichita, Ks.
Wichita State took sixth place in the Old Spice Classic after a 65-57 loss to No. 5-ranked Michigan State. Clevin Hannah (19 points) was the only Shocker in double figures. In the previous game, Hannah (19 points) helped the Shockers to a 72-70 victory over Siena, hitting three of four foul shots in the game’s final 20 seconds. Torre’ Murry had 18 for the winners. The Shockers dropped their opening-round game to Georgetown, 58-50. Reserve David Kyles scored 11 points, while Ramon Clemente had 10 points, 10 rebounds.
John Roach is a former college basketball writer and editor at ESPN The Magazine.