Gerogetown came as close as it could to a perfect performance in vanquishing stubborn Connecticut, 84-64, in a Big East game yesterday before a regionally televised audience and 4,502 fans at McDonough Gymnasium.
The Hoyas, in improving their conference mark to 3-1 and overall record to 15-5, thrashed the Huskies in every important statistic. With Craig Shelton grabbing 11 rebounds, Georgetown dominated both boards, 37-21. Shelton and Eric Floyd each scored 22 points to help the Hoyas shoot 61 percent from the field.
Employing a combination zone press defense with a sagging 2-3 zone and a tenacious man-to-man, the Hoyas sucessfully cut off the Huskies' inside attack and forced the usually poised visitors to shoot from far out.
The Huskies committed 15 turnovers, nine in the first half when the Hoyas broke away from a 16-16 tie to grab a 42-30 advantage at intermission.
Corney Thompson scored Connecticut's first six points and, along with Jim Abromaitis and Mike McKay, managed to keep the rebound-hungry Hoyas off the board long enough to stay in the game in the opening minutes.
After Abromaitis' layup knotted the game at 16, the Hoyas began to do the things they do best -- run, and run some more.
"We were running today; we got a chance to get inside for followup shots and use our quickness," said Hoyas forward Al Dutch, who scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds. "We just tried to box them out and change defense to keep them off balance."
The Hoyas were just a bit too quick and slick for UConn, now 3-3 in the Big East and 13-6 overall. With John Duren running the show, every whiteshirted Hoya became an actor in Georgetown's award-winning performance.
Shelton got inside for three baskets,Floyd hit one of his patented high arching jumpers and Dutch dashed down the lane for two short bank shots to send the Hoyas roaring to a 37-26 lead with 2:09 left in the half.
The Hoyas got another good game from 7-foot center Mike Frazier, who came in to score five points in the first half and congest things in the middle for the Huskies.
With a comfortable lead, the Hoyas put the brakes on and went to a spread-to-score offense. And the instant the flustered Huskie chase-defense relaxed, Floyd zipped down the middle for a three-point play and a 40-28 Hoyas lead with 25 seconds to play in the half.
"They just had it going then," Connecticut Coach Don Perno said. "We didn't want to run up and down the floor with them but when you're 12 points behind, what choice do you have? Georgetown played a great game.
The Hoyas hardly relaxed in the second half, pounding the offensive boards for second shots. Connecticut hung on only because of the leaping McKay, who had 17 of his game-high 29 points in the final 20 minutes.
Thompson went to the bench with his fourth personal foul and the 6-8, 230-pound mountain of a player watched for three minutes. He reentered with his team still trailing, 58-43, with 12 minutes to play.
Thompson was no factor in the second half, getting only one basket and two rebounds, to finish with 12 points and four rebounds.
The Hoyas were even gentlemanly in their tough treatment of their guests, giving the Huskie players a pat now and then or pausing to assist a fallen player.
But that didn't detract from the business at hand. With Thompson afraid of getting his fifth foul, Georgetown went inside at will. Shelton and Floyd accounted for 15 of the Hoyas' points at one point to help Georgetown take a 69-47 lead with just over six minutes to play.
"The kids played very loose, the way we have to," said pleased Hoya Coach John Thompson. "We were able to do a lot of the things we have to do to win."