After Georgetown and Virginia agreed to split 18,000 of the Capital Centre's 19,035 seats, Rienzo announced he would sell the Hoyas' share as part of the school's season-ticket package. Any Georgetown fan who wanted to watch the Virginia game in person would have to fork over for the 14 other home games as well. Any fan who wanted to watch it on television couldn't do it in Washington, which has no cable. Furthermore, there were "no plans for local commercial television availability." Not surprisingly, Rienzo sold his 9,000 season tickets. When it became clear that the Capital Centre would be filled, the blackout was lifted and Turner sold the game to a local TV station after all.
Combining the TV money with the gate receipts, Georgetown reportedly earned more than $600,000 from the game. (Virginia, which had to split the TV revenues with the other seven ACC schools, made approximately $185,000.)
By the time all of last week's introductory words and numbers had been heard, it was left to Ewing to echo the feeling of all concerned. "I'm sick and tired of hearing about the game," he said. "The only thing I'm anxious for is to get it over with."
In truth, the game appeared to be practically over some three minutes into the second half, when Virginia went ahead by 14 points, 41-27. Wingate seemed to be trying for those 100 straight rocks before Thompson quickly called time out, yanked him and inserted the wondrous defender, Smith. In the next three minutes Georgetown went on a 10-2 tear and, more important to the Hoyas, Wilson picked up his fourth foul on an offensive charge and was benched. "A psychological damper," Carlisle called that.
Ewing was in full cry now, screaming at his mates and pointing out directions, most of which were carried out by Smith, who negotiated his way through and around the Virginia ballhandlers like a bee after pollen.
Still, there was Sampson. On offense he invented yet another marvelous method of scoring, netting a one-handed jump-tap rebound from nearly eight feet out, and on defense he forced Ewing to the baseline, from where the Georgetown sophomore's turnaround J hit the side of the backboard. Virginia's hold seemed even more secure when Stokes finished off a fast break at 10:52 for a 51-41 lead.
With Wilson on the bench, however, Virginia was vulnerable to the relentless Georgetown press. "Those aren't just five-10 and six-foot guards running around out there," said Carlisle, a cerebral transfer from Maine. "Georgetown throws all this six-five lightning at you. It took some getting used to. The game seemed so long. Wasn't it a long game?"
Though Carlisle did yeoman work—nine points in 36 minutes (more playing time than anyone except Sampson and Ewing) and constant, under-pressure ballhandling with no turnovers—it was obvious the Hoyas were wearing Virginia down. The Cavs stuck at 53 while Georgetown came to 47, to 49, to 51.
Sampson, suffering from the flu, was, in his words, getting "weaker and weaker," unable to hold his position in the lane. He had had diarrhea all afternoon and received liquids intravenously after the game. Virginia became painfully tentative, scoring only one field goal in the final 10:51. "We flat out didn't have enough left to attack the basket," Virginia Coach Terry Holland said.
And then came The Sequence. With Virginia leading 55-51 and inbounding along the sideline, Sampson reverse-pivoted on Ewing, swung around, pinning him on a sucker play, and floated to the hole for Carlisle's pass. Vrooom-boom! 57-51. At the other end of the court Ewing, incensed, drove across the key and rose up for the roundhouse hook. Boinnnnnng! Splat! 57-53. "I felt it coming," Sampson was to say later, graciously. "I don't have enough words to describe Pat. He is a great, great player."