It was at least a half-hour after Georgetown had whipped Iona Saturday and Hoya Coach John Thompson was just getting worked up over his team's most impressive game in a month.

"This is the most life we've shown since the Indiana game," he said. "We'd been too conservative."

At this point, for emphasis, the 6-foot-10 coach threw a punch aimed only at air and added: "They were aggressive. They went out after them."

Tonight, Georgetown (9-3) faces St. Joseph's in the 7 o'clock opener of a doubleheader at the Philadelphia Palestra. It was St. Joseph's last season that showed the Hoyas just how much conservative play can hurt them.

The Hawks handed the Hoyas one of their four regular-season defeats, a 37-36 verdict in which St. Joe's played a lot of four-corners and lulled Georgetown to sleep. No Georgetown team had scored as few points in 33 years.

Only point guard Luke Griffin returns as a starter from that Hawk team. They started slowly this year, but are 6-5 after Saturday's 52-51 upset of Old Dominion in Norfolk. Coach Jim Lynam's "four to score" offense was prominent in that game and, he said yesterday, will be the weapon employed against Georgetown -- most of the time.

"That's what makes it even more effective, interspersing some plays in there to generate a quicker offensive score," Lynam said. "Anytime you do something over and over, it makes it easier to cope with."

The idea -- as it was last season -- is that the pace of the game will destroy Georgetown's concentration.

That is what Georgetown has to guard against, in addition to being patient on offense.

Lynam does not expect as low-scoring a game as last season, when the teams had only four possessions each in the final 7 1/2 minutes.

"Fifty to 60 would be my guess where we'd like it to be," Lynam said.

A St. Joe's star who did not play against the Hoyas last year was 6-foot-8 center Bob Williams, who was injured. He is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds over the past eight games.

For Georgetown, the Iona game reversed a number of Hoya shortcomings this season -- lack of scoring from the small forward position, few contributions from the reserves and poor free throw shooting.

Thompson says he will continue to start Al Dutch at small forward in place of Eric Smith as long as teams figure to play zone defense against the Hoyas. He also is hoping the Hoyas keep their accuracy at the foul line.

"If we're not shooting free throws well, we're not going to be a good team," Thompson said. "We like to control the game. You have to make your free throws to do that."

The second game tonight sends Temple against Penn in a Big Five matchup.