American University, which dared to run with Georgetown last season and lost, tried to slow it down against the Hoyas last night. The result was a blowout for the Hoyas, 86-62.
AU's game is press and run, but the loss of two key frontling players made Eagle Coach Gary Williams want the slower pace. The strategy kept the Eagles close until Georgetown exploded with 35 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
It was the most lopsided score between these two Northwest Washington schools in the past decade. It became a rout when Georgetown averaged a phenomental 1.66 points per possession for the opening 13 minutes of the second half.
One a night when star Georgetown forward Craig Shelton scored a season-low six points and two other key frontcourt players missed the game with injury, Al Dutch and Mike Hancock agumented big games by Hoya guards Sleepy Floyd and John Duren.
Floyd and Duren combined for 34 second-half points, including 21 by Floyd, who scored all but two of his points after intermission. Duren finished with 22 points.
AU forward Boo Bowers, the nation's eighth-leading scorer, faced a variety of Georgetown defenses -- all designed to keep him from getting the ball inside. He scored 25 points, one under his average, and surpassed Kermit Washington as AU's third-leading all-time scorer.
"When John and Sleepy play like that we can play with anybody in the country," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said. "Dutch did a great job on Bowers in the first half. I've all the respect in the world for Bowers. I pray he gets only 25, because he's capable of getting 50."
Georgetown played much better the final 20 minutes after holding a 32-27 advantage at intermission. The Hoyas accomplished that lead only because of their superiority on the offensive boards and the ability of Duren to beat AU down court on the fast break.
Those two factors accounted for 19 of the Hoyas' 32 points.
"At halftime, I told them everyone has to give as much as he can," Thompson said. "We can't afford to slough off because of our depleted front line."
AU (9-9) is not a bad ball club, but Georgetown made the Eagles look like sparrows with the ease in which they scored in the second half. Georgetown hit 13 of its first 17 shots after halftime break, getting a good balance of inside baskets and long jumpers from Floyd and Duren.
It was 34-31 when, without warning, Georgetown (13-5) began playing like a team possessed to get back its ranking in the wire-service polls. At the same time, AU became impatient and its long shots would not fall.
"We had a cold spell, didn't we?" commented AU Coach Gary Williams.
Duren, who had eight assists, started Georgetown on its way by grabbing a missed shot near the foul line and feeding Floyd for a layup. When Floyd, on Georgetown's next possession, converted a 12-foot pull-up jumper on the fast break, the rout was on.
By the time the onslaught was completed, the Georgetown lead was 68-46, Duren ending the streak with a three-point play.
Meanwhile, Hancock and Dutch were making the loss of center Ed Spriggs (sprained ankle) and center-forward Jeff Bulis (irregular heartbeat) more bearable for Thompson.
Dutch, an enigma for his unfulfilled promise on the Hilltop, played one of his best games. He scored 12 points, collected nine rebounds and did a good job of keeping Bowers off the offensive boards, from where the AU junior usually collects five or six baskets a game. Last night he had only one.
Without Spriggs, the two-headed Hoya center (Hancock and Mike Frazier) scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds.
"We had to shoot the ball well and we didn't," said AU'S Williams. "They did a good job of hurting us on the backboards, especially the offensive boards."
AU shot only 44 percent for the game, including three of 14 by Robin Hoey.