Georgetown defeated George Washington last night, easily. The reason was its press. Georgetown shot a school record 68.6 percent last night. The reason was its press.
George Washington had almost no chance to win last night. The reason was the Georgetown press.
The final score, before 8,695 in Capital Centre who waited in vain for this to become a Georgetown-GW classic of years past, was 61-48. The margin at halftime was 12 and it never got closer than eight during the second half.
"I thought we made a pretty good run when we cut it to eight with what? six minutes (actually, 12 minutes) left," said GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob. "Then Mike Brey got called for traveling. If we had cut it a little further, we would have been right back in the game."
Perhaps. But if this ever had become a contest, Georgetown's height, quickness and strength probably would have taken command again. The Colonials played hard, scrapped and never gave up. But they were overmatched from the start.
"We did have a lot of trouble with their press," Gimelstob said. "But that's a team that may have as much talent as anyone in the country."
Georgetown Coach John Thompson played only eight men for a second straight game as his team won its fifth straight this year, its fourth straight in this rivalry and raised its record to 6-2. But he got a genuine contribution from every man who played.
Eric (Sleepy) Floyd led the scoring with 17 points, making seven of 10 shots. Mike Hancock got all 12 of his points in the first half, going five for five, then never shot again. Eric Smith had 11 and Patrick Ewing had nine points, five rebounds, several intimidations, a few elbows and a couple of arguments, one with GW freshman Mike Brown -- his team's leading scorer with 14 points -- the other with Penny Elliott.
"I thought Patrick did well tonight," Thompson said. "I've always said he's special and he did some things that way tonight. I had to sit him down a couple of times because he got too excited."
Early, Ewing just played basketball and had a lot to do with the quick start that put the Hoyas in control. They had a 10-2 lead before the game was six minutes old, Ewing dominating the inside and playing intimidator in a zone that kept the Colonials outside (they shot only 47 percent) all night.
GW (3-3) closed to 16-11, the closest it got the rest of the game, then the Georgetown press went to work.
Smith picked up a loose ball at center court and turned it into a three-point play, then got another layup when William Martin and Anthony Jones managed a steal and slipped him the ball underneath.
Smith then stole the ball himself and fed Hancock for a dunk and it was 23-11. The Colonials settled long enough to close to 27-18, then the press went to work again. Floyd stole the ball for a layup, Jones stole the ball and fed Hancock for another dunk and, when the frustrated GW bench reacted, it was hit with a technical. By now it was 32-18 and the Colonials were not likely to make up that kind of margin.
"The press was the best its been all year," said Thompson. "They seemed to be trying to move the ball laterally instead of looking down court and our kids were anticipating the passes quite well."
"It gave us momentum," Floyd said. "That's what good defense is supposed to do."
"No question, the turnovers killed us," Gimelstob said. "When we got our defense set, I thought we did well. But when we gave the ball up, that gave them easy transition baskets. You can't give those up against a team like this."
The Colonials tried briefly to make it a game, cutting the lead to 44-36 on a jump shot by Wilbert Skipper (10 points) with 12:41 left. But, after Thompson called time to tell his players to quit walking the ball upcourt, Floyd scored on a drive and Martin came up with a steal and a dunk before Floyd's jumper made it 50-36. GW never again got closer than 10.
For Gimelstob, the bright spots were the way his team hung in the second half and the play of Brown, the muscular 6-foot-9 newcomer who stood in with Ewing, trading elbows and words all night.
"I told him I wasn't going to let him take advantage of me," Brown said. "Intimidation is his game. I've seen him do it before."
Ewing also got into it with 6-9 Penny Elliott a couple of times. "I told him, 'Ewing, you don't have to prove yourself to me,' " Elliott said. "I guess he was just trying to salvage some ground."