Hoyas Feel Right at Home
Georgetown 76, Winston-Salem State 32

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 17, 2006

In his three seasons, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III has made a concerted effort to play more games on campus at comfy McDonough Arena instead of downtown at cavernous Verizon Center.

Last night Yates Field House, home of university intramurals, would have done just fine.

The Hoyas did not allow a two-point field goal for almost the entire first half, then embarked on a 30-1 run to break open a surprisingly close game and rolled to a 76-32 victory over Winston-Salem State, which has lost 10 in a row.

"At the end of the day, it was a 40-something point win, it feels like it was six to me," Thompson said.

Jessie Sapp and DaJuan Summers had 14 points apiece and Tyler Crawford added 12 with four three-pointers for the Hoyas (7-3), who overcame sluggish play at the start of each half to register their stingiest defensive effort since a 77-30 win over Grambling State during the 1985-86 season.

"I don't think any of us realized it until we looked at the scoreboard, but even then, we just kept playing and doing what Coach wanted," said Crawford, who made 4 of 5 three-pointers, including three straight during the Hoyas' second-half uprising. "It was just getting everything to click and getting everything going, and once we were able to do that, we were able to get into our own little flow."

The Hoyas were back at McDonough for the first time since last month's loss to Old Dominion -- which ended a 23-game winning streak at the 2,500-seat gym dating from 1984 -- and for the final time this season. They'll be at Verizon Center to play Towson on Wednesday and then Navy on Saturday.

The Rams (1-13) are in the second year of a five-year transitional period from Division II, where they enjoyed success in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, to Division I and entry in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference next year. They have not had a losing season in 11 years, but are already on the brink of reaching that point.

Other than a victory over Division II Anderson (S.C.), the Rams have suffered a series of one-sided losses, including those to Fresno State, Auburn and Notre Dame. As neophytes to the top division, they are scheduled to log 25,000 miles of travel for 23 road games while hosting just six contests.

Their only remaining home games are against Ferrum (Division III), North Dakota State (also new to Division I) and Columbia Union (Division II).

The Rams' deficiencies were aplenty, but height was the most glaring. Their starting lineup included three players 6 feet 1 or shorter, leaving low-post mismatches and a reliance on outside shooting. Roy Hibbert, the Hoyas' 7-2 center, blocked a shot without jumping and Winston-Salem, pushed far from the basket, did not make a two-point attempt until Jamal Durham's jumper from just inside the three-point line with three seconds left in the half.

Still, the Rams were within 27-18 at the break, thanks to the Hoyas' ineffective half-court offense. Georgetown made only three of its first 14 three-point attempts and was 0 for 5 from the free throw line.

But the Hoyas took charge with 13 straight points that included Sapp's steal and dunk, a pair of dunks by Summers, and seven consecutive misses by the Rams. They finished the half as meekly as they started it, though, and allowed the overwhelmed visitors to score eight straight before the break.

The beginning of the second half wasn't any more encouraging as the Rams pulled to 29-23 on Roy Peake's layup. Following a timeout, though, the game got out of hand quickly.

The Hoyas proceeded to score 22 straight points, highlighted by Crawford's three three-pointers, to finally put the game away.

Winston-Salem -- which will play at Kansas on Tuesday -- shot 15 percent in the second half, 20 percent overall, and was outrebounded 45-19. Six of its 10 field goals were three-pointers.

"We were able to get some stops and were able to push it a little bit," Thompson said. "In the end, we just said, 'Forget all the changes, let's just go man to man, and guard your guy and let's get stops and rebounds.' "

Box score on Page E12

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company