Georgetown University held an exhibition in its noisy old Hall of Basketball last night.
The young masters who hung their hoop paintings on the walls during this 78-64 Hoyas victory over Manhattan College were John Duren, Criag Chelton and Eric Floyd -- Ba Ba, Big Sky and Sleepy, respectively.
Those who say that midseason slaughters have no purpose did not see this minor beauty of a blowout.
Manhattan, a 2-10 team playing without its best scorer, lost its ninth straight game and merely played the role of passive foil for the Hoyas, who led by 25 points before mercifully putting in the bench.
This was a night for admiring the Dunbar power tandem of Juren and Shelton and marveling at the way they have enouraged a freshman -- Floyd -- to upstage them if he can.
Duren had an absolutely flasless game, scoring 16 points, passing for a career-high 11 assists (eight in the first eight minutes), while adding six rebounds, three steals and no turnovers.
Shelton was a monster underneath, making eight of nine ahots for 16 points while playing the vital pressure point on the Hoyas' 3-1-1 full-court zone trap defense.
Georgetown, now 12-2, slapped its suffocating press on Manhattan in three crucial blitzes of 10-0, 18-2 and 12-0 that knocked the Jaspers dizzy.
While Duren and Shelton were power, Floyd was finesse, hitting eight of his first nine shots, scoring 19 of his 21 points in the first half, and chipping in with six assists.
"We've played several of the better teams in the East to close games -- Temple, Rhode Island, Rutgers," said Manhattan Coach Brian Mahoney, who was without injured 25-point scorer Jo Jo Walters. "Georgetown's probably the best.
"The final score was much too close They made us look like we'd never seen a press before. Their big kids are so quick. And they're killers at home.
"Shelton and Duren are big, strong and experienced, but they're so unselfish they give the ball up to that baby Floyd and he sticks it in like he's been playin in college all his life."
The Hoyas' three big spurts -- aggre gate damage 40-2 -- were marvelous whirlwinds. Floyd and Duren threw in 20-footers with impunity, while Steve Martin joined that pair in seeing who could pick the Jaspers' pockets fastest in the GU version of the clean and press.
Shelton slammed down four dunk-you-very-muches worthy of Darryl Dawkins of the NBA. Center Tommy Scates, GU's 6-foot-11 "goaltender" as the back man in the press, had one of his best games of intimidation. Mount Scates, as is often the case, had minimal statistics and a strong game.
"I think this feam plays pressure defense better than any I've ever had," said Thompson. "Shelton's like an octopus attacking the ball. Sleepy (Floyed) is quick and sneaky. Martin's even sneakier. Duren is smart and anticipates. And Scates is the ideal goaltender."
Twice GU had a three-basket flurry in 20 seconds. Once they had back-to-back steals and dunks within five seconds.
The indiputable center of the Hoya hurricane was Shelton. The second he left the game with foul trouble, the GU press burst like a pricked balloon. His Sky Wars as he encircled ballhandlers was The Force at the back of most Jasper turnovers.
Depite all this, Thompson was far from happy, despite a 19-point firsthalf lead and a safe 66-40 margin with 10 minutes left. You see, his suspect bench played like "a dern circus.
"I was hard on a couple of 'em," said Thompson "It's so easy for them to turn into mop-up clowns to please the audience. Well, if they do that now, what are they gonna do if I really need 'em in a big game.
"Craig and John and Steve include Floyd in the offense because he's proved to them that he has good sense. But these other guys are just going to find themselves isolated in crucial situations because my big horses are too smart to trust them wih the ball in pressure spots.
"I'm mad because my bench has too much talent for me to think of them as 'bench.' I'd rather think of them as a vital part of the team.
"Forcing a fast tempo is crucial to us being successful, and we need a deep bench to do that cosistently and deep bench to do that consistently and
Last night GU needed no bench to look superb. Many times they will.