Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"When St. Peter's hit that jump shot at the buzzer to send it into overtime," said Georgetown coach John Thompson, a little shudder running through him just at the thought, "the way we walked off the court look almost like we were ready to quit.
"But we didn't. They hit the first bucket of overtime and the crowd cheered like crazy. They hadn't been ahead all night. But we did everything the opposite of the way we looked. We showed great poise."
Georgetown had a right to be proud tonight after pulling out a 73-71 victory over hard-luck St. Peter's.
"It's a great game to have to play at this time of year," said Thompson. "You never want to play one like this, but when you do, and win, it has to help a lot of people. It's a postseason tournament type victory."
GU, now 17-5, jumped to a 22-7 lead and nursed that lead until the Peacocks Benny Allen, who hit a career-high 32 points, canned an 18-foot jumper with two seconds left in regulation to sent the game into overtime.
St. Peters, a 10-12 team whose last six defeats have come by a total of 11 points, felt good fortune was finally with it when Allen, a 6-1 guard, drove the baseline for a layup and a 67-65 lead to start the frantic overtime.
But GU's forsh guard John Duren calmly came downcourt, stopped just beyond the circle and fired in a line-drive jumper to get GU even.
"John's not playing like 'company' anymore," grinned Thompson. "He feels like part of the team now and he's taking charge in key spots like he should."
Several Hoyas remembered that icewater Duren jumper as the game's central psychological moment.
"That kept our confidence intact," said Al Dutch, who played a spendid all-court game, with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists. Once again - though only a soph - Dutch was Thompson's alter ego on the court, directing teammates and serving as a crucial passer against many pressure defenses.
Soph Gary Wilson drew a charging foul on 6-5 Bob Frazio, the next time down court and Dutch immediately spotted Ed Hopkins (4 points) underneath for a lonely Hoya layup that gave GU the lead for good, 69-67.
Fazio spent the night diving on the floor, running into walls and even trying to pick a fight with Tom Seates, but on one occasion hit Pier-6 style backfired.
GU seemed to have finally staved off the past Peacock comeback when Hopkins made a three-point play on a fast break for a 65-61 lead with 15 seconds left.
But, after GU conceded a layup seven seconds later, spindly Hoya ballhandler Mike McDermott was tied up for a jump ball with four seconds left.
As the crowd chanted, "Go, Peanuts, Go (a Carter administration variation on "Go, Peacocks"), the Hoyas held a disbelieving huddle.
"Mac promised me he was going to win the jump," joked Thompson, "because the other guy was white, too." But St. Peter's Vin Cronen, 6-5, smacked the tap directly to Allen, who took one quick dribble and sank the tying (shot from the right wing.
"I was calm until then," said GU athletic director Frank Rienzo, "and suddenly I was soaked with sweat. You never realize you've lost a big lead until it's gone."
Two Dutch free throws off a fastbreak drive with 2:39 left in overtime made the GU margin 71-67. The hard-charging hosts cut the lead to 71-69, but but Derrick Jackson (15 points) hit two free throws after being fouled while stalling with 56 seconds left for the eventual winning points.
Allen hit a meaningless howitzer from the corner at the buzzer for the final margin.