Georgetown had a perfect tuneup for its critical Big East game Monday night against Syracuse, routing a decimated Seton Hall team, 113-73, yesterday before 11,850 at Capital Centre.
The Hoyas (18-5 overall, 7-3 in the Big East) forced the Pirates into 16 first-half turnovers, stopped conference scoring leader Danny Callandrillo early, and ran their fast break splendidly in taking a 46-20 lead with just under seven minutes left before intermission.
Three Pirate starters, 6-foot-9 Howard McNeil, 6-7 Darryl Devero and 6-6 Clark Young, were declared academically ineligible two weeks ago. Without them, Seton Hall had no chance.
"When Georgetown gets its press going and we turn the ball over like we did, you're going to be out of the game in a hurry," said Seton Hall Coach Hoddy Mahon, whose team has lost nine straight games after winning nine of its first 10. The Pirates are 1-7 in the league.
"We were hoping to get behind their press so Danny could shoot, but they got back quickly and got a lot of steals," Mahon said.
The Hoyas didn't have any problem scoring in the arena where they have won 12 straight games, 10 this season. Six players finished in double figures, freshmen Anthony Jones and William Martin leading the way with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Eric Floyd scored 17, Pat Ewing 13, Mike Hancock 12 and little-used Ron Blaylock had 11, including the basket that sent the Hoyas over 100 points for the first time this year.
As usual, the Pirates were led by Callandrillo, who came into the game having scored 30 or more points in five of his last six contests and averaging 27 points. He finished with 27 points on nine of 24 shooting from the floor.
"He's a hard man to stop," said Hoya Eric Smith, who started off guarding Callandrillo. "You want to keep him from getting the ball. If he gets it, you have to play good defense on him."
The Pirates won the tip and Callandrillo, 6-2, attempted his first shot with Smith's hand in his face. He missed, and went on to miss five of his first eight. He had eight turnovers in the half.
The Hoyas then went up, 6-0, as Smith sank two free throws and Mike Hancock made two short jumpers before the game was a minute old. Callandrillo forced up enough shots--17 in the first half--to score 15 first half points. But all the Hoyas were scoring almost at will, especially during a 3 1/2-minute period when they outscored the Pirates, 15-2, to take a 27-12 lead.
Hancock had all 12 of his points in the first half and Floyd and Martin had eight each as Georgetown simply ran around, past and, in some cases, over the flustered Pirates. Ewing's presence kept the Pirates from coming into the lane and he finished with seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
"We were very intense early and we were able to get ahead and relax," Hoya Coach John Thompson said. "I was afraid we might be looking ahead to Syracuse, but overall we had the type of game I would have wanted. I just wanted to get this one over."
Except for a sloppy six minutes when the Pirates scored 11 points to cut the Hoya lead to 53-33, Georgetown was never in any danger.
"When you get up like that, you have a tendency to let up a little," Smith said. "You don't like to to happen, but it does sometimes."
Unfortunately for the Pirates, Georgetown came out as strong as ever in the second half. So for another 20 minutes, the Hoyas inflicted the same punishment. More fast break layups, more steals and more intimidation from Ewing.
Just after Blaylock's shot made the score 101-69, Hoya fans began chanting "We want Syracuse (a 75-70 winner earlier this season)."
They'll get their wish Monday night.