By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Less than three minutes into last night's game against Savannah State, Georgetown students launched into chants of "Bryon Jansen! Bryon Jansen!" -- urging Coach John Thompson III to bring on the senior whose playing time is typically reserved for the waning seconds of routs.
It hardly took a basketball savant to figure out, after just a few plays at Verizon Center, that this would be one of those games.
The Hoyas made their first six baskets against Savannah State and cruised to a 100-38 victory against yet another overwhelmed opponent.
It was the most resounding defeat dished out by the Hoyas since Dec. 16, 1989, when they leveled the University of the District of Columbia, 112-39.
In terms of more recent history, it was the third consecutive game in which they held an opponent to less than 50 points.
And nearly everything about it seemed charmed.
The long forearms of freshman center Greg Monroe blocked the first two shots Savannah State players dared fire in his direction. Senior guard Jessie Sapp sank NBA-distance three-pointers. Sophomore point guard Chris Wright sliced through defenders without a care. And DaJuan Summers hit from all points on the floor.
When the final buzzer sounded, five Hoyas boasted double figures. Sapp, Summers and sophomore Austin Freeman had 14 points each; Monroe, 13. All 11 players on Georgetown's roster scored, in fact -- including Jansen, who thrilled the crowd of 8,013 by providing points 99 and 100 from the free throw line.
And Thompson, who had been critical of his team's play in Saturday's 73-49 victory over American, declared himself pleased.
"I didn't feel like we played well against American," Thompson said. "I thought we played very well today."
While the score might suggest that the Hoyas jacked up one shot after another last night, that wasn't the case. Time and again Wright, Sapp, Freeman and Summers worked the ball around the perimeter as the shot clock ticked down, passing it back and forth until they got an open look.
And after building gaudy leads -- 57-15 at halftime, for example -- they kept their defensive intensity up, contesting nearly every shot.
Those are the lessons Thompson has tried to impart this season, regardless of whether the opponent is ranked or unheralded.
"Coach always says, 'It's about us,' and I think we bought into that," Summers said. "So guys know that no matter who the opposing team is, we need to do the things we do, the way we do them."
Georgetown (6-1) shot 69.8 percent; Savannah State (5-4), just 22.8 percent. The Hoyas earned the bulk of their 100 points the hard way, two at a time, rather than a barrage of three-pointers.
Georgetown also won the battle of the boards by a resounding margin, out-rebounding Savannah State, 46-18.
Having built an insurmountable lead early, it was a night for Thompson to evaluate his bench, and he turned to them earlier than he has in previous games. Transfer Julian Vaughn (seven points, eight rebounds) and freshman Henry Sims (eight points, four rebounds) and Jason Clark (10 points, five rebounds) followed the script dutifully.
It was hardly the homecoming Savannah State Coach Horace Broadnax, a member of John Thompson's 1984 NCAA championship team, had hoped for, particularly after his Tigers had forced Michigan to overtime earlier in the season.
"We feed off offense," Broadnax said. "If the ball doesn't go in, we can't set up our press, and we can't get excited about playing defense."
And hardly any shots fell in the early going for the Tigers, who made just six baskets in the first half.
With the Hoyas leading 42-9 with 6 minutes 11 seconds to play in the opening period, Thompson pulled all of his starters but Sapp. But it hardly slowed the scoring barrage.
With the Hoyas leading 91-33, the players on the floor nearly came to blows. The crowd jeered as officials separated the players, then resumed chants for "Bryon Jansen!"
They got their wish with 2:57 to play, and a hush fell over the arena when Jansen stepped to the line for a one-and-one. He made both, putting Georgetown up, 100-36.