Georgetown University's basketball team, closing in on the school record for most victories, decimated Holy Cross, 77-61, in yesterday's last home game of the season.
"We couldn't have had a more ideal game," said Coach John Thompson."We've been saying we wanted to show people what we could do (on regional TV). It was our time to show it, and we did."
"Nail the Cross to the cross," said signs decking packed McDonough Gym. And the Hoyas, now 21-4, followed orders.
Georgetown flew to a 16-point halftime lead, built several 20-point margins in the second half and generally humiliated one of the best and most experienced teams in the East.
"We've played them t-w-o often this year," said Crusader Coach George Blaney, also remembering a 14-point loss to GU in the Holiday Festival.
"They can be patient, or they can switch tempos and run past you. They play a great zone defense and rebound ferociously."
"They're as deep as any team in the U.S. aind with the proper breaks they have enough talent to get to the final four (of the NCAA tournament)."
Since Thompson's arrival six seasons ago, the Hoyas have never revved up quite like this for postseason play.
"We've played lax down the stretch in other years," said senior center Ed Hopkins, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds. "This is the best we've ever jelled."
"You can just feel that everybody wants a piece of the action this year."
All of Georgetown's players agreed that, with the possible exception of their second-half demolition of Alabama, they have not played with as much esprit and confidence as they did yesterday.
"We just whipped it around like we knew where everybody was going to be at every second. It must have made the Cross think we had eyes in the back of our heads," said senior captain Derrick Jackson, who had a 43-game double-figure scoring streak broken as he scored only six points.
"They didn't even need me today," Jackson said with a grin. "This was a game worth watchin' and, brother, I did a lot of watching today."
Jackson was the only Hoya off his game. In truth, the three big stars of the 19-6 Crusaders all got nailed to the wall this afternoon.
Ronnie Perry, a sophomore who has gotten many times the national attention of GU soph John Duren, received an all-court lesson from the muscular Hoya.
"I wouldn't say Perry is exactly overrated," said a GU assistant, "but Duren is certainly underrated outside the D.C. area."
There was no comparison yesterday as Duren had 16 points, making seven of 11 shots, to Perry's 10 on four-for-13 misfiring. Perry became so demoralized that he got lazy, ignoring GU fast breaks in the second half until Blaney yanked him.
Holy Cross' two senior front-court hotshots, Chris Potter and Mike Vicens, got picked apart even worse by Hopkins and Craig Shelton.
Potter's six points and five rebounds were by far his fewest of the year as Hopkins fronted him on defense and denied him the ball. Vicens' three-for-15 shooting was a credit to Shelton, Hopkins and Steve Martin, who played octopus refense whenever Vicens started one of his wild-man drives.
Vicens threw up five air balls on layups.
While Holy Cross relied on 20-foot jumpers and several nice tipins by supporting players, GU was a whirlwind of fast breaks, brilliant interior shuffle passes and bounce passes through traffic. It made no difference which Hoya shot as even the big men. Hopkins and Shelton fired without hesitation the instant they received a crisp pass.
"We were out-quicked," said Blaney. "They just have so many people who hurt you."
It the Hoyas knock off 7-17 Fordham as expected in New York on Sunday, they will match the school's record for most victories set in 1942-43 when the Hoyas went 22-5.
"It feels nice." said Thompson, "to head for the postseason with a hard working club. An-honest ball club."