Caught up in its second straight slow-paced basketball game, Georgetown reversed gears at the start of the second half with an all-out, all-court press and the ensuing 35-6 blitz carried the Hoyas to a 73-50 victory over Sanford last night.
The visitors from Birmingham, Ala., held the ball without shooting for almost four minutes at the start of the game, and at the half were tied at 23, mainly on the outside shooting of freshman guard Steve Barker.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson was worried, because his players were moving letharfically and playing at the pace the Bulldogs wanted. But in the next nine minutes, Georgetown executed at a level that Thompson said a coach hopes for all the time, but rarely gets.
The Hoyas forced eight Sanford turnovers in the next 19 possessions and shot with uncanny accuracy, as guards John Duren and Eric (Sleepy) Floyd made 12 straight shots.The Hoyas were in control, 58-29.
Duren finished with 23 points, on 11-for-13 shooting, plus six assists and three steals. Floyd made good on eight of 12 shots, scored 19 points, contributed four assists and made three steals as Georgetown improved its record to 10-2.
The Hoyas, ranked 12th by the AP and 18th by UPI, had lost to St. Joseph's, 37-36, in a slowdown Tuesday night. Because of his team's youth, Thompson was not sure how the Hoyas would react to defeat or another slowdown. In addition, he was worried he had tired them, by practicing too hard during the holidays.
The loss in McDonought Arena left Samford, a Division I club in the new Trans America Conference, with a 6-5 record. And Thompson was even apologetic -- with sarcasm -- over pressing an obviously outmanned foe so extensively.
"Maybe I left the press on a little too long," Thompson said, "bue I had thoughts in my mind of that delay game. You've got to make some people pay when they have a delay game."
After the Hoyas' two losses, Thompson had not criticized his players. Last night, however, he was unhappy after watching the first half.
"The way we played was two different parts of the spectrum," Thompson said. "It was as good as we can play when we needed it, because we had to get fired. It was the best we've played after playing so poorly."
The Hoyas were so sluggish in the first half with their normally aggressive zone defense that Barker was left continually open on the wings, about 16 feet from the basket, and responded by making his last five shots of the half, for 10 of his 22 points.
"Then we got basketball fever," said Georgetown captain Steve Martin. "We had to go out, play our game, and play it tough.You can't lay low. You have to attack. If you're not careful, you go to sleep with them... Our press did wonders for us tonight."
After Duren converted the second of two offensive rebounds into a three-point play on Georgetown's first possession of the second half, Floyd stole a pass near midcourt. He fed Duren for a breakaway layup and the Hoyas had a 28-23 lead before Samford got off its first shot of the half, awakening the crowd of 1,475, smallest of the year at McDonough.
After a Barker basket, his sixth straight shot without a miss, Georgetown went on a 19-2 binge and that was the game.
Shortly after Duren reached his season-high point total, midway in the half, Thompson began to bench his starting team. He announced afterward he would give them today off.