As Georgetown used it decisive edge in quickness to run out the final minute of last night's 60-54 victory over Indiana. Hoya fans among the crowd of 7.800 at Capital Centre gave their undefeated team a standing ovation.
"It's not the championship." Georgetown Coach John Thompson warned a few minutes later. "It's the fourth game of the season. Those who celebrate winning in the middle of the season wind up losing everything . . . But, being an independent and beating an ACC team and a Big Ten team, gives us negotiating power at the end of the season."
In these first two weeks of the season, Georgetown freshman guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd has played magnificently. Last night he scored 21 points and when he faltered. Steve Martin showed why Thompson calls his captain 'the silent partner of our team . . . People forget about him."
With Georgetown holding a 39-38 lead. Martin took advantage of a defensive mismatch against bulky Indiana forward Mike Woodson, scored 10 of the next 12 Hoya points and Georgetown had control of the game, 51-44.
Bobby Knight, who coached Indiana to the 1976 NCAA championship, again refused to talk to the press afterward. But, in a five-line mimeographed statement, he called that stretch of the game "the turning point."
Georgetown, still trying to develop depth, and again opted for a slow tempo and, defensively, packed its defence in the middle, offering the Hoosiers good, open shots from 16 to 20 feet. Indiana, now 2-3. obliged by missing, including a five-for-15 shooting night by Woodson.
The effect of the tightly massed zone was to limit Indiana to one shot, which the Hoyas did most effectively with a 2-3 alignment in the second half. Indiana got only one offensive rebound after center Ray Tolbert fouled out with 14:06 to play.Craig Shelton led Georgetown with a career-high 15 rebounds.
Fouls played a big part in this game. Georgetown making its last 15 points from the free-throw line and getting whistled for only 12 fouls by the threeman ECAC officiating crew, compared to 28 for Indiana. However, the Hoosiers did not claim a jobbing.
Knight's team are known for excellent, aggressive man-to-man defence. The Hoosiers did not give a clinic in it last night, despite contesting practically every pass the Hoyas Threw.
"We got in a lot of foul trouble," said Indiana backup center Steve Risley, "because we weren't moving our feet. We were just reaching for them."
A friend of Knight reported the Hoosier coach said the same thing.
In his mimeographed statement, Knight called the game even, except for the Georgetown surge led by Martin.
Just before it, Floyd became uncharacteristically shaky, after scoring 17 of the Hoyas' first 35 point, usually on long jump shots. Then he unleashed a poor shot from nearly 30 feet and an underhand shot that Thompson later described as "a shake-and-bake" attempt.
"I was glad to see a freshman make some mistakes because I was beginning to think he was inhuman." Thompson said. "I'm glad to see it happen. It gives me somthing I can fuss to him about."
At this stage, Indiana was overplaying Floyd, trying to keep the ball away from him, Martin was the forgotten man on the other side of the court..
They were overplaying Sleepy, so I had to get it to the other side." said point guard John Duren.
Martin responded by shaking Woodson and hitting a 15-foot jumper, 41-38. Next possession, two free throws. 43-40. Then Shelton missed a shot, Martin sneaked around Woodson, recovered the offensive rebound under the basket and made the layup, 45-42.
His two free throws made it 47-42, as the Hoyas scored their last 15 points at the foul line. Two more free throws, following a air by Shelton after a nifty offensive rebound, gave Georgetown a seven-point lead, 51-44.
Afterwards, Thompson agreed that Woodson, a forward, defending Martin, who is really a guard, was a mismatch.
"It's not so much a conscious effort as the kids recognizing to exploit the guy who can get it done." Thompson said. "Not that Woodson's a bid defensive player because he isn't, but Steve is geared toward handling the ball and toward mobility. He's guard to me, instead of a forward, I've just had to use him at forward."
After that, with 6-foot-11 center Tom Scates clogging the middle, Georgetown was uncatchable.
It's tough to get a second shot against our 2-3 zone," said Scates, "especially after we get a little lead."
Georgetown made 17 of its last 19 free throws to finish the night 24 for 34.