Hoyas Start Fast, Hold Off Pesky Shockers

Georgetown 58, Wichita State 50

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 28, 2008; Page E03

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 27 -- Georgetown scored the first nine points and never trailed Thursday in its first game of the season outside the District.

But the rest of the statistics from the Hoyas' 58-50 victory over Wichita State on the opening day of the Old Spice Classic were less encouraging.

Georgetown (3-0) was out-rebounded by a shorter squad for the second time in three games. The No. 21 Hoyas turned over the ball 17 times. And they were particularly rash from three-point range, connecting on just 3 of 18 attempts.

"We're a work in progress," Coach John Thompson III said, conceding that his team needs to improve in all those areas -- rebounding, protecting the basketball and shot selection -- if it is to achieve his goal of becoming the most improved team in college basketball by season's end.

But flanked by his top scorers, Austin Freeman (18 points) and DaJuan Summers (14), Thompson accentuated the positive. In short: His young team is figuring out how to win games even as it works through rough patches and gradually improves.

That task gets tougher Friday, however, when Georgetown reaps the reward for its victory over the Shockers (2-2). In the tournament's second round, the Hoyas will take on their first nationally ranked team this season, facing No. 12 Tennessee (4-0), which dismissed Siena, 78-64, earlier in the day at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex.

The Old Spice Classic boasts a daunting field, with four of its eight teams ranked among the top 20. Seven of those teams advanced to postseason play last year.

But Wichita State, the only team passed over for a postseason bid, gave Georgetown more than expected, slashing what had been a 10-point Hoyas lead to 43-42 with 6 minutes 17 seconds remaining.

The game was played at an excruciatingly deliberate pace. After more than 11 minutes of play, the score was only 12-7.

Wichita State shot just 26 percent in the first half. And the Hoyas' chief offensive threats, Summers and sophomore guard Chris Wright, could not find the basket. Neither scored a point in the first half, and between them they committed five turnovers.

Freeman filled the breach, scoring the Hoyas' first seven points and holding up his end on defense, as well.

Though the season is young, that seems to be a hallmark of this Georgetown team, with the offensive load shouldered by a revolving cast of characters.

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