NEW YORK – The sign in the Georgetown student section read, “GOD IS ON OUR SIDE.”

While the banner was boldly arrogant, untrue, and completely against everything a Jesuit education stands for, you couldn’t blame the kid for believing something supernatural was at work. The Hoyas may not have had a higher power on their side, but they did have a taller one – 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert. And given Big Roy’s fickle nature over the past two contests, it does seem like he is playing Zeus, toying with a group of mere mortals.

A day after arguably his worst performance since his days as a gangly, awkward freshman, Hibbert was omnipresent on the floor Friday night.

There he was, slamming one over fellow 7-footer Jamie Smalligan early in the game. There he was, draining a three from the top of the key moments later. There he was, picking Da’Sean Butler’s pocket for a steal and scrambling on the floor for a loose ball.

He was there to slam home a put-back when Jessie Sapp attempted a no-look prayer, and to feed Sapp for a pretty layup. He was there at the beginning, dunking in the first two Georgetown points, and at the end, standing and cheering on the sidelines as John Thompson III emptied the bench in the game’s waning seconds.

“The Big Fella is the hub, he’s the focal point,” said Thompson. “We don’t want and we won’t have more days like yesterday.”

Even after his 25 point, 13 rebound redemption, Hibbert knows he’s not a god. He does, however, believe himself to be a monster. That’s what the 7-foot-2 giant was proclaiming with a primal scream after sinking his final bucket late in the second half, the one that put the Mountaineers’ corpse on ice and sent the Hoyas to their second straight Big East Tournament Title.

“I was just saying, `I’m a monster, be afraid,'” said Hibbert with a smile that looked more like Sloth from “The Goonies” than Frankenstein. “I’m just trying to play hard, and getting everyone amped up.”

In energizing his posse, Hibbert was merely returning the favor. The gentle giant – oops, sorry monster – said he heard an earful from his teammates following Thursday’s no-score wipeout.

“They told me that I had a day off yesterday, so my legs were going to be well-rested today,” said Hibbert. “I knew he was going to come out hungry, but didn’t expect this big of a game,” said Sapp, who sat beside his beaming teammate.

Hibbert had only to wait some 29 hours to get back on the court Friday evening, but to him it felt like a lifetime. His phone began ringing shortly after the Hoyas returned to their hotel yesterday afternoon and didn’t stop. Former coaches from high school and AAU dialed him up. Jeff Green checked in from the West Coast. Hibbert didn’t feel like chatting, so he just put the phone on silent and went to bed.

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone last night,” said Hibbert, who exchanged instant messages with Green earlier in the day. “[Jeff] was just like, `You know what you need to do.’ But he didn’t have to talk to me. Coach Thompson didn’t even have to talk to me.”

After seeing Sapp, Jon Wallace and DaJuan Summers pour the points on Villanova while he watched from the sidelines, Hibbert was desperate to get back in the box score. After watching his teammates sink the Wildcats with 17 three-pointers, Hibbert wanted in on the long-range action. After hearing about how Sapp, a proud New York native, was feeling it at home, he wanted everyone to know that he too was technically playing on his home turf.

“I like to say I’m from Queens, but no one believes me,” said Hibbert, who was born in Flushing and lived there for two years before moving south to Maryland.

So he literally rolled up his sleeves (Hibbert elected not to wear his normal shirt and arm sleeve under his jersey) and went to work. He shot and slammed and skyhooked. He grabbed boards, found open teammates and swatted shots. He remained perfect from beyond the arc. He looked like the Roy Hibbert who was named first team all-Big East earlier this week.

“He’s a really good player,” said a still-seething Bob Huggins. “I was expecting us to guard him a little better than we did, but he had a heck of a game.”

Now Hibbert and his Hoyas have a chance to do something no Georgetown team has done since Big Roy was in Big utero: win consecutive Big East Tournament Titles. Who will show up tomorrow against Pitt? Will it be a vengeful deity, casting down slam-dunks like lightning bolts? Or the horrifying ogre, smashing the basketball back in the face of his lesser opponent?

Either would be good to have, provided he’s on your side.

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