By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
For Georgetown, last night's 89-53 victory over James Madison won't wipe away the memories of last week's back-to-back losses to Oregon and Duke, two results that caused the Hoyas to drop out of the national rankings. But the comfortable win, in which Georgetown found its long-range shooting touch and junior forward Jeff Green was dominant, certainly had them feeling better.
Green scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and had four rebounds and five assists in just 24 minutes. When he left the floor for the final time with 12 minutes 52 seconds in the game, the crowd of 6,837 at Verizon Center gave him a nice ovation.
Georgetown (5-3) tied the school's single-game record for three-pointers, making 16 of 33 attempts (48.5 percent). And for once, the Hoyas played like a relaxed, instinctive team. They shot a season-high 58.2 percent and had 27 assists; four players scored in double figures, and four players had five assists.
"I think that our problem playing Duke and Oregon, I think we were up too fast and kind of antsy and kind of hesitating on some of the things we do, because we don't want to make mistakes early on," Green said. "I think tonight we kind of came out and we just laid back, we knew what we were supposed to do and we did it, and things went our way. We didn't hesitate to make the certain passes we know we can make. It was pretty good for us, to get our confidence back up."
The Hoyas' long-range shooting performance was startling, considering that they had made only 34 three-pointers in their first seven games combined and ranked last in the Big East in both three-point field goal percentage (.306) and three-point field goals per game (4.86).
But Georgetown needed only 16 minutes against the Dukes (2-5) to establish a season-high in three-pointers. Green's shot from the right side with 3:49 left in the first half was Georgetown's ninth three-pointer (out of 17 attempts). Seven Hoyas made a shot from beyond the arc, including junior swingman Tyler Crawford (2 of 4, six points), who missed seven three-pointers in the season opener and hadn't played extensively since because of strep throat.
"We made a few, huh?" said Coach John Thompson III, whose team made just 2 of 23 three-pointers in its past two losses. "I think-slash-hope, I know, as the year progresses, we will shoot better. We have guys that are trying to figure out where the shots are coming from, where they're not coming from, what is good shot for me, what shot is not a good shot for me."
Green, who scored a total of 15 points in the Hoyas' three losses, had been oddly passive at times this season. In the past five games, he scored more than eight points once (against Ball State), and he averaged only five shots. Thompson joked after the game that a federal case could be made regarding Green's aggressiveness or lack thereof, and added that he had had several conversations with the player about asserting himself early.
So on Georgetown's first possession against James Madison, Green drove hard left and made a layup. Over the next three minutes, he sank two three-pointers, one from the left corner and one from the right side. He scored 13 points in the first half, making all four shots he attempted, as Georgetown opened up a 47-29 advantage at the break.
"I take whatever the team gives me, and they gave me the open lane," Green said of the game's first basket. "It wasn't the plan; Coach didn't tell me to go out and just take it to the hole. . . . Me going to the hole, driving early, kind of set the tone for my teammates."
Said guard Jonathan Wallace (14 points): "He kind of got himself into a groove, and we kind of looked for him to get him going early. He's an intricate part of the team, and we've got to get him going."
Hoyas Notes: The Hoyas made 16 three-pointers in a 76-51 win at Davidson (Nov. 30, 2004) in Thompson's first year as coach. . . . Seven-foot-2 junior Roy Hibbert (three points, four blocks) moved into the school's career top 10 for blocked shots with 120. . . . Freshman guard Jeremiah Rivers was not in uniform; he severely sprained his ankle against Duke on Saturday night, and was wearing a protective boot on his right foot.