If Georgetown was still thinking about its disheartening two-point loss to St. John's last week, U.S. International was the perfect opponent last night to make the Hoyas quickly forget.
Georgetown played the gracious host for nearly 12 minutes before going on a rampage to take a 22-point halftime lead en route to an easy 107-79 victory last night at McDonough Gymnasium.
The Hoyas (12-5) shot a respectable 57 percent in the first half and used a combination of defenses to confuse the first-year Division I school from San Diego.
The feisty Gulls hung tough in the opening minutes. Layups by Larry Holliday, John Greer and Mark Bryant kept the Gulls in the game until the Hoyas got serious.
After Bryant's layup cut the Georgetown lead to 23-22 with 8:34 left in the first half, USIU went silent. The 2,823 fans had just about figured out what a U.S. International was when the Hoyas ran off a 12-0 blitz to go ahead, 35-22, with 5:24 left in the first half.
"With eight minutes to go, we were right there," said Gull Coach Freddie Goss, a former star at UCLA." At that point, I thought the officiating took a little away from the game. His (John Thompson) kids could have beaten us by themselves. They are a very good team. t
But even so, this is my first year and we'll be better. When you've lost as many as we have, it's tough. We've played better than we played tonight. But on different nights, you do different things."
For nearly a seven-minute stretch, the Hoyas did everything right and USIU everything wrong. The visitors committed three straight turnovers, missed six consecutive shots and stood by helpsessly as the taller hosts began to control both boards.
Craig Shelton (23 points) tossed in 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in that period to spark the Hoyas to their commanding halftime lead. Shelton, who is now the seventh-leading scorer and rebounder in Georgetown history, threw down a two-hand backwards dunk to capa a 9-0 spurt and give Georgetown a 48-27 lead with 1:33 to play before intermission.
"They had good talent. They have the type of team that could give you a long night," said Hoya point guard John Duren, who had 16 points and 10 assists. "We changed defense quite a bit, pressed some, used some man to man and zone. We did different things to confuse them. We got our break going near the end of the half and that spurt sort of wore them down."
Holding a comfortabale lead the Hoyas, who face cross-town-rival American Saturday, were more than content to trade baskets for the final 20 minutes.Thompson, who admitted he was a bit worried about the run-and shoot Gulls because of the absence of injured players Ed Spriggs and Jeff Bullis, was especially pleased with the play of reserve center Mike Frazier and guard Terry Fenlon.
"When they came in the game in the first half, the complexion changed," said Thompson. "Mike has to play longer because of our injury situation. We need him in there."
The 7-foot Frazier, who turned in a good effort against St. John, scored only three points and grabbed five rebounds but earned an "A" for intimidation. Fenlon had six points.
Joining Shelton and Duren in double figures were Eric Floyd (16) and Al Dutch (12). The Hoyas shot 60 percent from the floor and hit 27 of 36 free throws.
The Gulls (3-13), who would get no closer than 20 points the entire second half, were led by Holliday (15), Wayne Wirth and Al Brown, both with 11.