For all those Georgetown fans who thought this season's Hoya attack would consist only of Eric (Sleepy) Floyd launching jump shots from the Whitehurst Freeway, they were wrong.
Floyd, as usual, got his points last night, a game-high 20, on seven for 11 shooting. But the 4,106 fans in McDonough Arena, watching Georgetown's 94-58 win over Wheeling College, noticed that swingmen Fred Brown and Eric Smith are also capable of taking over basketball games for the Hoyas this season.
Brown, the freshman from the Bronx, ran Coach John Thompson's controlled, fast break offense and managed to score 11 points, pull down six rebounds and wheel and deal some acrobatic passes for five assists -- all in only 21 minutes of floor time.
Smith, the 6-foot-5 junior from Potomac who starts at forward, had equally impressive numbers: 16 points on eight-for-10 shooting, three steals and two assists. The Hoya victory over the Cardinals (a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member) became lopsided near the end of the first half, and Georgetown coasted to its third victory in five games.
As a result, Thompson was able to substitute freely and experiment with a three-guard lineup that included combinations of Gene and Eric Smith, Floyd, Brown and Ron Blaylock. The strategy was effective against the small but quick Cardinals, who weren't fast enough to keep up with the Hoya break, which produced transition baskets in bunches.
"I'm happy with the way the three-guard system worked tonight," Thompson said, "but to win big you have to have the big guys playing well."
It was suggested that this was probably the Hoyas' best overall performance this season. "But I'm not evaluating it as such," Thompson said. "We still have to get our timing down."
The loss must have been extremely frustrating for the Cardinals, who fell behind, 47-29, at halftime, despite hitting 13 of 27 field goal attempts.
But Georgetown hit a sizzling 17 of 29 attempts for 59 percent. The Hoyas shot 17 free throws (they made 13) to Wheeling's five. The Cardinals, behind the long-range jump shots of 6-4 forward Paul Renowicz, who had 18 points, kept the game close in the early minutes.
Georgetown's 2-3 zone, which has frustrated many opponents into taking low-percentage shots or shooting off balance, did not thwart the Cardinals early. Guards Rod Samuta, Ron Ferguson (12 points) and forward Phil Lewton (11 points) took their time whipping the bal around the perimeter until Renowicz or Lewton was open to shoot up to 25-foot jumpers over the Hoya zone. The Cardinals cooled off in the second half, however, hitting only 13 of 33 shots for 34 percent.
"Wheeling shot very well tonight," Thompson said. "But that was good because it scared us. We have to take more pride in boxing out and executing defensively."
Wheeling stuck close until Brown scored nine straight points near the end of the first half on two three-point plays and three more free throws. "I'm demanding that Fred learn to pace the game," Thompson said. "He's got a lot to learn yet about what I want done on the floor, but what freshman doesn't?"
Sophomore Kurt Kaull, in his longest stint of the young season, hit five of six shots and totaled 11 points.