Georgetown's inside-outside combination of Craig Shelton and John Duren worked their magic early tonight and the Hoyas muscled their way past stubborn Seton Hall, 81-67, before 3,300 screaming fans at tiny Walsh Auditorium.
"Duren is a No. 1 draft pick for someone," said Seton Hall Coach Bill Raftery, minutes after watching the pair take his team apart. "And Shelton is not too far behind."
The Pirates, now 1-5 in the Big East Conference and 10-11 overall, were in the game until Duren began hitting from outside the Seton Hall zone. Duren, who had 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists, potted three straight jumpers to rally the Hoyas from a 21-13 deficit to a 27-27 tie with six minutes left in the first half.
Seton Hall's fortunes began to go downhill midway in the first half when its leading rebounder, 6-9 Howard McNeil, drew his third personal foul and adjourned to the bench. Until then, the smaller Pirates had done a decent job on the boards against Georgetown.
Once NcNeil was gone, the Seton Hall inside game disappeared. Shelton, with 19 points and 13 rebounds, began to swallow up everything off the board and the Hoyas were off and running. Mike Frazier, the 7-foot lumbering giant, also came off the bench to score 10 points, grab four rebounds and scare the daylights out of the guard-oriented Pirates.
"Frazier definitely gave us a lift. The ability to score off the alley-oop pass is a luxury we haven't enjoyed in a while," said Hoya Coach John Thompson.
After Tony Massaro's followup basket put the Pirates ahead, 29-27, with 6:22 left in the first half, the Hoyas took over.
Shelton crashed in for a tipin and his three-point play out the Hoyas in front to stay, 30-29, with 5:08 left before intermission.
The Pirates, with three guards who may have been 6-1, couldn't see the basket over the Hoya quick-moving zone, much less score from outside. Seton Hall managed only four free throws in the final six minutes and trailed, 36-31, at the half.
"We felt good at that point," said Raftery. "We lost McNeil and were playing with (0-6 Daryl) Devero and four small guys. We're not a physical team to begin with and don't have much depth."
The pit-like atmosphere with the fans right on the court, didn't faze the businesslike Hoyas in the least. Before the partisan audience could utter too many unpleasantries Georgetown had run off a 12-0 spurt in the first three minutes.
Duren had two of the baskets and Frazier, leaning all over the flustered Pirate defenders, dropped in two more.
While the Hoyas were quieting the crowd, the hosts were committing six turnovers and missing their first six shots from the floor.
"The first three minutes did it, said Raftery. "Those had shots we took put us in the hole."
The Hoyas made sure they stayed there Shelton, with three breakaway dunks, and Floyd now warmed up, poured in 18 of the visitors' 21 points over a nine-minute span and Georgetown took a commanding, 69-53 lead with just over five minutes to play.
But the Hoyas, now 4-1 in the conference and 16-5 overall, relaxed too soon. The Pirates' leading scorer, guard Dan Callandrillo (18.8), who was held to six points in the first 28 minutes, began point-hunting.
Since he couldn't shoot over the Georgetown zone, Callandrillo drove through it and forced up one shot after another. If he didn't bank it off the board, he was fouled. The 6-2 sophomore accounted for 18 of his team's 22-points in one stretch, including 10 in a row. His four straight free throws pulled the Pirates to within striking distance, 74-67, with 57 seconds left to play.
"They had trouble shooting over our zone but they began penetrating it a little and making some funny shots," said Duren.
After GU's Al Dutch sank one of two free throws, Devero blew a wideopen layup. The sophomore had success getting inside for layups earlier in the game and finished with 23 points. But his lapse (he missed six layups in the game) seemed to take the fire out of the Pirates. Floyd broke free for a pair of layups in the warning seconds to assure the victory.