St. Joseph's, employing the same strategy that failed to beat Maryland last week because of poor execution in the final seconds, lulled Georgetown to sleep with a four-corner offense and upset the Hoyas, 37-36, last night.
The Hawks had Maryland beaten in regulation, only to miss on a bonus free-throw situation and then fail to take fouls that would have run out the clock. Last night the Hawks executed perfectly and Georgetown was harnessed with its first loss in the last 21 games at McDonough Arena.
Georgetown, ranked 15th by AP and 18th by UPI, is now 9-2. The 36 points were the fewest the Hoyas scored since February 1946 as the effect of the St. Joe's offensive efforts took a toll on the Georgetown offense, which stood around at times and failed to get its usual clutch jump shots from Eric Floyd and John Duren.
Jetff Clark, who made eight straight free throws down the stretch against Maryland, came off the bench again last night and was the Philadelphians' hero. Clark passed off the Adrian Hubbard for the key layup basket, giving the Hawks a 36-34 lead with 57 seconds to play; later made the free throw that provided the margin of victory.
St. Joe's seventh success in 11 games was a cat-and-mouse operation that saw each team get only four possessions in the final 7:48, after Georgetown's Craig Shelton made one of two free throws to tie the game at 34.
The Hawks, who had played fourcorners as early as the middle of the first half, were content to play for the final shot at that point.
"It's our game. It's four to score, not four to hold," said bearded Luke Griffin, the junior guard who masterminds the Hawk four-corners so well. "It depends what the defense does. We go with our best, and it's our best."
After two minutes, the Hoyas decided to put some pressure on, attempting to overplay a pass back to Griffin. And, at 5:15, Floyd stole a Zane Major pass. So... at the other end, Georgetown immediately went into its version of the four corners.
Only the pace of this game was doing tricks to the Hoyas' concentration. A little more than a minute later, Floyd whipped a pass for Steve Martin out of bounds. There was 4:02 left and Clark replaced Major, giving the Hawks two excellent dribblers.
Georgetown decided to apply soft pressure awhile and the Hawks were content to let the clock run down. Once, Clark dribbled to the lane and passed to John Smith on the baseline; but Smith dribbled across to the corner, with 3:15 to play.
The Hawks did not look for the hoop for almost two minutes. Then Clark got a jump on Floyd and dribbled into the lane. Hoya center Ed Spriggs made the move to cut off Clark, so he neatly passed off to Hubard for the lavup on the right side.
"The defense says, 'I'm tired of playing D,'" said Griffin, "and that's when we blow by them."
"We were willing to play for the last shot," sait St. Joe's Coach Jim Lynam, who moved to the Philadelphia school form American U. this season. "We felt in that situation with the ball we were in control. We didn't want anything but what we got."
"I had the lane," said Clark. "That's the green light to shoot. Once the big man came to me, I have to pass it off."
"I don't think they liked playing that way too much," said Smith.
"It's not so much that we fell asleep," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson. "It's that we didn't react. It's question of concentration."
Georgetown had a chance to tie, but Floyd, the freshman whose play has been nearly impeccable all season, missed a 22-footer with 27 seconds left. The Hoyas had to take the outside shot, because the collapsing Hawk zone had cut off Shelton inside.
The Hoyas started giving fouls, in an attempt to steal inbound passes. But Floyd, trying to draw an offensive call on Clark, instead pulled down the Hawk guard and was socked for an intentional foul, presenting Clark two free shots with 12 seconds to play.
He made one of them.
Floyd retorted with a baseline jumper to make it 37-36 and Georgetown stopped the clock with its final timeout, :005 left. With Georgetown not guarding the inbounds passer but all receivers, St. Joe's was forced to call time.
When play resumed, Smith lobbed the ball to Norman Black. Martin, acting as center fielder, tried to intercept or take an offensive foul; he was called with a black.
Black went to the foul line with four seconds left. He missed the front end of a bonus opportunity but the Hoyas, with possession but out of timeouts, could not get off a desperation shot.