Even though Georgetown has dominated in winning its last six games, including a 76-52 rout of Nevada-Las Vegas on Saturday, Hoya Coach John Thompson insisted yesterday those victories may be somewhat misleading.
"Anytime you win games, mistakes are more easily overlooked," Thompson said last night as his team began a light workout in McDonough Arena. "Progress is being made, but not as rapidly as has been implied by our winning games. People might think I'm saying that just to hear myself saying it, but it's true."
Since losing two of three games to open the season in the Great Alaskan Shootout, the 19th-ranked Hoyas have not come close to losing. Georgetown has beaten two top-20 caliber teams -- UNLV and San Diego State -- plus American and George Washington.
A major reason for Georgetown's improvement, as Thompson points out, is the team's gradual adjustment to playing with 7-foot freshman Patrick Ewing, who is shooting 73 percent since the Alaska tournament.
All-America guard Eric Floyd, after a slow start, is shooting 51 percent and averaging 15 points per game. The team also is playing strong defense, even without its best defensive player, guard Gene Smith, who is out with a broken right foot.
"We're getting transition baskets and playing good defense," Thompson said. "But still, I look at the game films and see a lot of mistakes, and a lot of room for improvement. Mainly, I want us to sustain the defensive and offensive consistency over a longer period of time. We have done very well in spurts, but we've been sloppy at times.
"I also want the offense to be run more fluidly. We're still struggling. I've had teams that played offense a lot easier than we are right now. We're not relaxed yet. Some players are still learning the system and aren't expressing their individual talents. Anthony Jones is becoming more relaxed and that's why his talent (outside shooting, among other things) is becoming more obvious. But we have to get more of that."
In past years, Thompson has worked his teams toward peaking in February, but he said yesterday he hopes this team can reach its potential earlier.
After Tuesday's game against Western Kentucky in the Capital Centre, Georgetown has two games against mediocre opposition in the Rochester (N.Y.) Classic -- from among Columbia, Utah and Niagara -- Dec. 29-30. The Hoyas open the Big East season in New York against St. John's on Jan. 6.
"We're pretty much where I thought we would be," Thompson said. "But I think we will still have some bumps. I don't want to get to the point where we don't dissect the rough spots just because we may win the game. We might have done some things better in Alaska, but because we lost games the mistakes were magnified. It's just important, especially early in the season, to keep things in perspective.
"I would be misleading people if I said we were 'there,' " Thompson said. "You can only mature with time."
Nationally, three teams ranked in the top 10 lost Saturday night: No. 3 Louisville, No. 6 Iowa and No. 7 De Paul.
UCLA trailed by as many as 11 points before halftime, but surged to an 87-75 victory over previously unbeaten De Paul in Los Angeles behind Kenny Fields' 24 points. The Bruins made 17 of 18 foul shots in the second half; the Blue Demons made only three of eight free throws the entire game.
In Tokyo, 20th-ranked Oregon State made up a 14-point deficit in the last 12 minutes to upset third-ranked Louisville, 62-56, and win the Suntory Ball Tournament.