John Thompson was almost apologetic. He kept coming up with reasons why his Georgetown Hoyas aren't as good as they appeared to be in their 30-point victory over St. John's Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
"I still feel we have a long way to go," Thompson insisted. "Our offense still hasn't caught up to our defense. It's still early January. We aren't the king of anything yet."
He could have fooled a full house at the Garden, St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca and Wichita State Coach Gene Smithson.
"If a team could have a perfect game, I mean one you could use as a clinic, then Georgetown had it," Carnesecca said of the 72-42 Hoya victory. "Their performance was something every coach would like to store and go back to when he needs it. I mean for passing, shooting, screening, quickness, defenses, shot blocking, rebounding and everything."
The Hoyas came out in a full-court press, blocked St. John's' first two shots and built a 41-9 lead on the way to their 11th straight victory, and 12th in 14 games.
Smithson, whose Shockers are final four prospects if they can avoid probation, was almost as impressed as Carnesecca. Wichita State beat Iona, 97-78, in the first game of the Garden doubleheader and Smithson stayed to watch the second game.
"I'm glad we weren't playing them (Georgetown)," he said. "Their quickness is amazing and they play so well together. I was awestruck by their performance. I knew they were good, but what they did out there was ridiculous."
"What we showed against St. John's isn't what we can do every game," Thompson said yesterday. "I've got some game films to prove that. We were just lucky that we jumped on them early and they couldn't get back in the game. You've got to remember, we're talking about kids here and it could have just as easily gone the other way if they had jumped out ahead of us.
"We still need offensive fluidity. We're still doing a lot of our scoring off our defense."
His players echoed their coach.
"We still made a lot of mistakes," said Eric Smith, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. "Our defense is still way ahead of our offense. It's starting to catch up, but we still aren't smooth, yet."
"It was just another game," said Eric (Sleepy) Floyd, who had 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists, "and we have to keep it in perspective. We're becoming more comfortable on the floor, but we still have a long way to go."