Nevada-Reno took advantage of Georgetown University's early foul problems to Craig Shelton and John Duren and turned back the previously undefeated, 14th-ranked Hoyas, 87-77, tonight in the final of the Wolf Pack Invitational basketball tournament.
Reno, 7-1 and unranked in the wire service polls but rated no. 18 by The Sporting News, took early control and led by as many as 21 points early in the second half as Georgetown Coach John Thompson continually shouted at the officials concerning inconsistent refereeing.
Later, Thompson said: "I'm not going to say anything. You saw it. There is an old street saying: 'The chances go around and nobody cries but babies.' They beat us. What can I say?"
Guard Mike (Fly) Gray led Reno with 34 points and center Edgar Jones added 24, playing the final 12 1/2 minutes with four personal fouls. They shared the most valuable player trophy. Shelton scored 17 second-half points to tie Steve Martin at 19 as top scorer for Georgetown, 7-1.
Before the game, Thompson also was concerned about the WCAC style of officiating, which allows what Eastern Kentucky Coach Ed Byhre called "assault and battery" after Reno worked over the Colonials, 116-84, in the first round. Reno's physical play cost Eastern Kentucky two starters and Byhre said today he almost pulled his team off the floor with six minutes left in the first half.
"We've got to play a smart game," Thompson said. "We have to keep our poise and concentration. They can blow a team out fast. It probably will be the toughest atmosphere for us to play in this season."
Georgetown trailed, 38-25, at half-time. The Hoyas did a reasonbly good job of controling the tempo with a 2-3 zone defense. But offensive problems and what Thompson called inconsistent officiating were the major factors in Reno's 13-point lead.
Georgetown's two best players-forward Craig Shelton (at 13:23) and John Duren (at 3:42)-went to the bench with three fouls in the first half.
Shelton sat down after delivering an elbow into Reno center Edgar Jones' midsection, an obvious enforcer-type retaliation after Johnny (Sky) High delivered a shoulder bump into Eric Floyd and no foul was called on the previous possession.
"Come on," Thompson shouted at officials Ben Polk and Fred Goreham as he leaped his feet. "What the (bleep) is going on?"
Shelton had two walking violations in the early going and the Hoyas appeared to be intimidated. Floyd, the freshman who leads the team in scoring, managed only two points in the half and was pulled by the coach after a traveling violation, Georgetown's 12th turnover of a 32-possession half.
Also, Shelton scored only two points in the half, Duren led Georgetown with 10 points in the half.
Reno's three-man show of center Edgar Jones (12), High (11) and guard Michael (Fly) Gray (10) had all but five of Reno's points.
The Georgetown turnovers helped the Wolf Pack produce 14 points on transition. The main damage against Georgetown's zone was done by High. He was deadly from the corners and the top of the key.
Georgetown fell 16 points behind, 41-25, before making its first field-goal of the second half. Jones made one of two free throws, then Gray turned a Hoya turnover into a 10-foot jumper.
High collected his third and fourth fouls in the same Hoya possession, going to the bench with 18:23 to play. But Georgetown could not capitalize immediately.
Reno surged to a 51-32 lead in the next 3 1/2 minutes. Gray took over the playmaking chores, and the shooting as well, hitting three straight baskets, the last following a steal from Martin. Another Gray jumper, on a fast break, gave Reno 20 transition points and a 21-point lead, 53-32.
The next possession after Gray scored his 10th straight point, Jones picked up two quick fouls, giving him four with 13:41 to play. But he remained in the game.
With Georgetown forced to go man-to-man in its catchup effort, Jones scored two straight baskets from the inside and also blocked a Georgetown shot.
Georgetown closed within 16, but Thompson was complaining. "Call a foul," shouted Keith Hughes, a Fresno State assistant coach watching from the press table.
High returned at this point, but he fouled out in less than a minute.
Georgetown closed the gap to 11 points, 65-50, before Reno ran off eight straight points, including a spectacular slam dunk by Jones and a free throw for a 69-50 lead with eight minutes to play.
Former Maryland player James Tillman fired a tournament record 36 points to lead Eastern Kenturdy over Fresno State in consloation action, 84-78.