Detroit Coach Willie McCarter did not start his two best players last night against Georgetown because they had missed curfew Thursday night. Keeping them benched would have been tantamount to conceding the game.
The Titans have no bench -- their sixth man averages two points per game -- and play little defense. By the time McCarter decided his two seniors had paid for their sins, Georgetown had a 17-6 lead and was well on its way to an 88-83 victory at McDonough Arena.
But Georgetown's eighth straight victory was never assured until the final minutes because the two players disciplined, Earl Cureton and Willie McCormick, scored 26 and 18 points, respectively, and the Titans connected on 21 jump shots from 20 feet or longer.
"They're the best outside shooting team we've played against," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson. "If they all shoot like that out there, I'm going to have to start recruiting in Detroit."
Coming off Tuesday's upset of No. 2-ranked Syracuse, Georgetwon was most impressive on offense, committing only seven turnovers and shooting 54 percent.
As he did against Syracuse, Eddie Spriggs, Georgetown's regular center just coming off an ankle injury, contributed the big second-half plays as a reserve, augmenting the playmaking of John Duren (eight assists) and the scoring of Eric Floyd (22 points) and Craig Shelton (21).
Spriggs finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-9 sophomore twice came through in the final minutes when Detroit needed to stop the Hoyas to have a chance at pulling the upset.
It was 83-77, with 3 1/2 minutes to play, when Spriggs converted a Duren miss with two free throws and a 85-77 lead. On the ensuing possession, Spriggs stole a McCormick pass. But Floyd missed the first of three one-and-one situations the Hoyas would blow in the final three minutes.
When Jerry Davis connected on still another 22-foot jumper, Detroit again was within six. The Titans pressed. The Hoyas broke it easily.
From midcourt, Eric Smith whipped a pass to Spriggs and he dunked the ball for an 87-79 lead with 2:06 to play. Despite missing a free throw when fouled by Cureton, Spriggs had given Georgetown a big enough margin to guarantee the Hoyas' 19th victory in 24 games.
Detoirt dropped to 11-12 despite 59 percent accuracy from the field. However, Georgetown had a sizable advantage going to the foul line and scored 13 more points there.
McCarter, Detroit's first-year coach, had every reason to be upset with the officiating. However, he should be more upset at the way his team plays defense.
Midway in the second half McCarter continually intoned from the bench, "Let's play a little defense."
Detroit had taken advantage of a sluggish Georgetown start at the beginning of the half and crept within 71-67.
Duren then took control of the Georgetown offense. He found Shelton nearly wide open in the lane. Shelton, a normal 61-percent shooter who made only seven of 16 last night, missed a short shot but was fouled by Clarence McNatt.
Shelton converted both free throws and Cureton came back to score at the other end. But again Duren found Shelton inside and Cureton again fouled. Again Shelton made both free throws. It was 75-69.
Duren then stole the ball from Dave Niles, one of Detroit's outside sharpshooters, and made a breakaway basket for a 77-69 lead.
Detroit never came closer than six points until the final minute as Georgetown was missing five of its last six free throws.
Georgetown, which clinched at least a tie for the Big East Conference championship earlier yesterday when Syracuse nipped St. John's has two regular-season games remaining, both at home, against George Washington Wednesday and Holy Cross Saturday. ent-controlled newspapers, falsely labeling Blancornelas as a CIA agent,