Somebody from the Southern Connecticut bench should have thrown a white towel to midcourt a halftime when the Owls were trailing Georgetown by only 21 points. Instead, the overmatched, undersized Division II owls took it on the chin last night, 84-41, before 3,321 restless fans at McDonough Arena.
It is to the credit of Southern Connecticut Coach Arthur Leary III that the Owls didn't surrender. He wouldn't let them. Trailing by 45 points with only four minutes left in a game Al McGuire would have labeled a "lollypop," Leary called time and drew a play in the huddle.
The game was actually over 30 minutes earlier when Georgetown (11-7), playing without starting forward Eric Smith, took a 9-4 lead on its way to a 43-22 halftime bulge.
The blowout allowed Hoya Coach John Thompson to experiment with several different lineups and give several seldom- used reserves playing time.Seven-foot center Mike Frazier played the fewest minutes -- six -- but had eight points off the bench. Starting center Ed Spriggs, who had ankle problems, got the rout started with seven quick points before retiring to the bench.
That left 6-9 freshman Ray Knight to score 10 points (three of four from the field) over an elfish Southern Connecticut team, missing two 6-6 starters with injuries. The Owls started 6-7 John Davis at center and four munchkin guards.
The Owls' leading scorer, Tony Gonzales (19.6 points per game), sank only six of 21 shots for a team-high 14 points. None of his teammates had as many as four field goals and the team shot 25 percent for the game. That total included making six of 34 field goal attempts in the second half for 17 percent.
Georgetown did not desire to lose to this bunch after being embarrassed Monday night by woeful Providence, also at McDonough Arena.
"We lost a 43-41 heartbreaker to our arch rival, New Haven, Monday," said Owl Coach Leary, "and I raced home to see the Georgetown game on ESPN. I was praying that every Georgetown shot went in because I just didn't want to play them here after a loss, especially without two starters (John Conlin and Al Howard, who have averaged a total of 20 points per game).
"I could have slowed the ball down and kept the score closer, but the kids wouldn't have learned anything from that. They thought they were good. But tonight, they saw they weren't Division I players. It was hard for them, but a good lesson, nonetheless."