There were none of the inconsistencies of youth for the Georgetown basketball team in the third-place game of the Great Alaska Shootout today. The Hoyas were consistently awful. Rebounds were as rare as silver coins in vending-machine change.
The final score of 76-67 against a revamped Louisiana State team was hardly indicative of the rout in which Georgetown had only three rebounds in the first 14 minutes, fell 19 points behind in the opening 16 minutes, fell behind by 22 in the second half and still trailed by 18 with five minutes to play.
"Ask me some intelligent questions," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said to start his postgame press conference, "because after that exhibition, I don't need anything stupid. . . We came up here to get baptized under fire and we got the full christening."
Later, North Carolina, the team with a veteran starting five and two freshmen, was christened champion with a 64-58 victory over Arkansas on the strength of its inside game.
The match-up between these two quick, balanced teams was even until Arkansas center Scott Hastings fouled out, picking up two fouls on the same possession with 10:30 to play. At this point the score was 42-all with Hastings having 20 points. After that, James Worthy dominated. His blocked shot and pass to Matt Dougherty for a breakaway layup gave the Tar Heels a 50-45 lead and made them uncatchable.
Compounding this Georgetown embarrassment was the third straight subpar game by guard Eric (Speepy) Floyd, his school's preseason all-America selection. He had just one basket -- and seven misses -- and three points in the first 33 minutes of a game in which LSU played well.
Floyd finished with 14 points, but in three games here, the 55 percent shooter of last season was only a 42 percent marksman, and committed 12 turnovers. Floyd told Thompson that he thought he was pressing, and the coach told his guard he was trying to do some unnecessary things to get this young team going.
So, now, this team takes an early morning 4,500-mile flight home to work out its problems -- basically the inside game and the offense -- in trying to replace forward Craig Shelton and guard John Duren, both chosen among the top 30 players in the last NBA draft.
"It's no time for us to panic now," Thompson said. "We understand our problems, but we don't like them magnified that greatly. . . We haven't played that consistently bad since Detroit (a 91-71 shellacking in the 1978-79 season), where we couldn't put the handle on things at all."
What Thompson liked in the tournament was the competitiveness of his three freshman recruits: guards Fred Brown and Gene Smith and forward Ray Knight, all of whom logged considerable playing time here, especially since 7-foot senior Mike Frazier is not yet in playing condition and 6-7 forward Mike Hancock became sick during today's game.
The major problem inside is rebounding, as shown when LSU built a 25-9 first-half advantage, with Georgetown getting just three in the first 14 minutes. At that stage, the Hoyas trailed, 37-20, and LSU's Durand (Rudy) Macklin and Tyrone Black were dominating the foul lanes.
It frustrated Thompson. But that was not the reason he received two technical fouls. Strictly psychological, he said. At least, the first was. "I told him (the official), 'Why don't you call the second?' So he did. I also asked him if this was 'on-the-job training.' Maybe that's why I got the second."
The officiating was universally poor the entire tournament and certainly had no effect on the outcome of this game. But the lack of rebounding did, just as it did in the second half of an 83-71 semifinal loss to North Carolina.
"I heard once, in a women's game, the coach felt so frustrated that she put herself in," said the 6-10, 300-pound Thompson. "I thought a little bit about that today, and I did yesterday, too."
However, Thompson is not comtemplating a change to a bigger lineup, he said, because it would negate the style of play -- pressure and quickness -- that has catapulted the Hoyas to among the nation's college basketball elite.
Nor will he change the offense. What he seeks to correct is impatience, leading to too many perimeter shots and ball-handling mistakes, as occured today when, from 8-all in the early going, the Hoyas made just seven of 20 shots, committed seven turnovers and trailed, 41-22, with about 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
LSU had played just as badly against Arkansas in the semifinals, Coach Dale Brown benching all his seniors when the Tigers trailed by 18 points in the second half. He played three freshmen and two sophomores from there, almost pulling out the victory. Today, Macklin returned, but guard Willie Sims remained on a folding chair at Fort Richardson's Buckner Fieldhouse. Sophomore Howard Carter scored 19 points, while seniors Ethan Martin added 17 and Macklin 16.