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Top Washington D.C. Sports Stories Of 2011, No. 10: Georgetown Comes Together After Brawl In China

Georgetown's ugly brawl with a Chinese professional team in August begins our Top 10 countdown. There's a silver lining: the Hoyas are having one of their best seasons in recent memory.

Few batted an eye much when it was announced that the Georgetown basketball team would take a two-week goodwill trip to China in mid-August. Oh sure, it was a nice gesture, but team go on overseas tours to help raise the school's profile all the time. Just last year, George Mason went to Italy, and nothing noteworthy occurred except for a couple really obscure bloggy moments.

But in a shocking turn of events, the Hoyas were involved in one of the top stories of the year. In the waning minutes of an exhibition game against the Bayi Rockets, things turned ugly. The Rockets were pressing Georgetown when suddenly one started shoving one of the Hoyas' players. Players from both teams converged on the situation, which only made things worse. The Rockets were not interested in holding back at all, picking up chairs and bashing Hoyas players over the head with them. Georgetown's guys didn't fight back much, which only egged on the crowd even more. Finally, coach John Thompson III pulled his team off the court and away from danger.

Video of the brawl surfaced quickly and captured national attention. In it, the Hoyas looked bad for not fighting back. However, they knew why they came to China and didn't want to make their program look bad.

A couple months later, Thompson, like any coach would, sold the media on the idea that the brawl brought his team together. He predicted a surprising season from a team that suffered heavy graduation losses. Little did we know he was right. The Hoyas are off to an 11-1 start, with wins over three Top 25 teams already, and will surely crack the Top 10 after a 71-68 win at No. 4 Louisville this past week. Maybe an ugly moment like what happened in China was just what Georgetown needed to take the next step as a program.

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