Georgetown Coach John Thompson and 7-foot freshman center Patrick Ewing, miles apart in basketball knowledge and experience, were in agreement that the Hoyas' key Big East defeat at Boston College Wednesday night was largely because of poor defense.

"It was one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive games we've played all year," said Thompson, still unhappy with his team's performance in the 80-71 defeat. "Defense is our strength and we allowed them to get inside and post us for easy baskets. We knew BC would try to get the ball inside. If a team is hitting from the perimeter, that's one thing. But they scored most of their baskets inside. We're a good defensive team, but that was inexcusable."

The 13th-ranked Hoyas (20-6, 8-4 in the Big East), who dropped a game behind Villanova (9-3) in the league, were almost helpless against Boston College. The Eagles, playing their overall game this season, made 25 of 35 field-goal attempts, limited all-America guard Eric Floyd to seven-of-20 shooting accuracy and easily broke Georgetown's full-court press.

"We just let them come down the middle and we didn't help out on defense," said Ewing, who scored a career-high 23 points in his homecoming. "BC is a tough place to play, and it was cold. There's no one thing you can put your finger on, we just didn't play good defense."

Ewing, who played at Cambridge's Rindge & Latin School and narrowed his final college choices to Georgetown and Boston College, was the target of taunting by fans of the Eagles. But he played well.

"He handled the situation much better than I thought he would," Thompson. "He played well but I think Patrick will feel the same way I do. None of us will brag about our play against BC."

Said Ewing: "I expected them to be hostile. I could hear some of the things they said but I just laughed. I didn't go out trying to have a big game, I just wanted to win up there.

"Some people don't think I have offensive capabilities, but I can score," Ewing said. "But that's not my role. If I average 12 points and do the other things I'm supposed to do and we win, that's fine. I didn't get the ball early in the game. Maybe if I had and scored a couple, things would have opened up for Sleepy (Floyd) and the other guys because they pushed a lot and beat me up. But the game is over and we have to forget it."

Both Ewing and Thompson insist the team's flat performance had nothing to do with Saturday's nationally televised game against fourth-ranked Missouri at McDonough Arena.

"No, I don't think we were looking ahead to Missouri," Thompson said. "Maybe because of our bad game, we might be a bit more concious of our defense now. We'll reemphasize a few things in practice. I'm not a great believer in changing things."

Ewing said the Hoyas will have to play stronger defense and concentrate on fundamentals against Missouri. "We haven't been thinking about them (the Tigers) at all, until now. I don't know anything about them."

Maryland also had a rough night, losing at Clemson, 75-66, and what Terrapin Coach Lefty Drisell said was a "longshot chance of an NCAA bid."

"I'm disappointed at the way our team played but I think Clemson had a lot to do with that," Driesell said. "We didn't make any adjustments in the second half (when Maryland cut a 12-point lead to three), Clemson just didn't play with the same intensity it had in the first half. I never had the feeling we were ever in control."