Georgetown took control on a technical foul and six points late in the first half against Boston College last night and won its 20th game of the season.
The final margin was 84-81 after a late flurry by the Eagles, who had trailed, 80-68, with three minutes to play.
The six points, the result of a technical foul on Boston Coach Tom Davis, gave Georgetown a 36-29 lead in a good defensive contest before a sellout crowd at McDonough Arena.
The Eagles were forced to try to catch up the remainder of the game. And they found that a difficult task because three starters had four fouls before the midway point of the second half and because Georgetown was able to spread its attack.
Georgetown's usual four scorers all came through in double figures again, led by Eric (Sleepy) Floyd's 21 points. And reserve center Ed Spriggs contributed 10 points in one of the 22-year-old freshman's best games of the season.
He was involved in the beginning of the two plays that gave the 16th-ranked Hoyas six points and enabled them to win 20 games at the earliest point of any season in the school's basketball history.
Davis' strategy was to concentrate his zone defense and take Craig Shelton out of the Georgetown offense. It was working well until John Duren hit an 18-foot jumper, Floyd followed with an 18-footer and Duren swished a 20-footer to give Georgetown a 30-29 lead.
Boston College called time and, when play resumed, the Eagle defense was a little looser. The Hoyas got the ball to Shelton and he fed Spriggs under the basket.Rich Shrigley went up and got a hand on the ball, but was called for a foul by referee Tom Adam.
Shrigley argued the decision as Adam went to the scorer's table to report the infraction. At that point, Davis came a couple feet onto the court and Adam assessed the technical.
After Spriggs made both of his free throws, Duren sank the two technical free throws. The Hoyas got the ball at midcourt and freshman reserve Jeff Bullis hit a jumper from the left side.
Davis did not complain about the officiating, remembering perhaps that his Eagles got similar breaks in the game last year at Newton, Mass.
"We played hard and well, especially for being on the road," Davis said after his sixth road loss in seven games. "They hurt us with their power, with their perimeter shooting and with their speed. They have a lot of dimensions. They're better than last year."
Boston College, on the other hand, is known as a one-man team of flashy guard Ernie Cobb, although forward Michael Bowie proved last night the Eagles also can score from other positions. The 6-foot-6 senior had a gamehigh 25 points.
Georgetown's active zone defenses caused Cobb, a 5-11 senior, to force up too many shots when it mattered.
He finished with 18 points on seven-for-17 shooting before fouling out with slightly less than six minutes to play. He also committed Boston's most expensive turnover of the second half, when the Eagles had closed to 51-48 and had the ball.
But when Vin Caraher hesitated on his break from the baseline, Cobb, on the urn, passed the ball into the seats.
Georgetown responded by scoring on its next three possessions for a 57-50 advantage with 11:26 left. Spriggs made two free throws after Georgetown broke Boston's press. Floyd followed with a short jumper. Then Steve Matrin, who hit 10 of 11 second-half free throws, was good on his one-and-one.
The Hoyas had only two more anxious moments. But Martin and Spriggs came up with big plays to thwart the Eagles' effort. Martin's three-point play following Duren's air ball gave the Hoyas a 62-59 lead. Spriggs just about clinched the win by blocking Joe Beaulieu's shot, with Shetton's layup putting Georgetown ahead, 66-58.
Georgetown (20-4) stuttered early as Boston took a 9-0 lead that the Hoyas offset a few minutes later with an 11-point run.
"Once a team has won 20 games, a team gets a tendency to relax and play," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson. "That same pressure was on us to win our 20th tonight.
"I was very pleased with the way we played, especially Spriggs. He did a sensational job."
It was the final home game for seniors Tom Scates and Martin, who were presented commerative bowls in pregame ceremonies. The crowd chanted "Tommy, Tommy" at the end, wanting one last appearance by the 6-11 Mount Scates.