Georgetown's basketball players, embarrassed after allowing Boston College to make 71 percent of its shots three nights earlier, took out what their coach called anger and hurt against fourth-ranked Missouri yesterday.
Despite shooting 35 percent from the floor, the 13th-ranked Hoyas played dynamic defense, got Missouri center Steve Stipanovich in early foul trouble and defeated the Tigers, 63-51, before a raucous sellout crowd of 4,620 at McDonough Arena and a national television audience.
And it was easy the way the Hoyas, who couldn't beat the sixth-place team in their own conference Wednesday night, handed the Big Eight Conference champion its second loss of the season. The Tigers had been ranked No. 1 before losing to Nebraska two weeks ago. This is the highest-ranked team Georgetown has beaten since the Hoyas defeated then-No. 2 Syracuse twice two seasons ago.
Missouri (23-2), averaging 73 points a game, couldn't do a thing against freshman center Patrick Ewing and the other eight Hoyas. Their quick-reacting, sagging 2-3 zone kept the Tigers from getting started offensively. Missouri made 20 of 49 shots, had six offensive rebounds and committed 17 turnovers, 12 in the first half, when Georgetown took a 31-23 lead.
In addition, Ewing made Stipanovich disappear. The 6-foot-11 junior was called for three fouls in the game's first 11 minutes. He spent exactly half the game on the bench watching Ewing (13 points, 13 rebounds) dominate inside. Stipanovich took only three shots (making one) and finished with four points and five rebounds before fouling out with 10:41 to play.
The Hoyas went to Ewing early, and the 7-foot freshman responded with 11 points in the opening 14 minutes as Georgetown led, 21-16.
"We wanted to get the ball in to Patrick early because we knew they would try to go to Stipanovich early," Coach John Thompson said. "It depended on who got in foul trouble first. Patrick can hurt you offensively as well as defensively."
When Ewing wasn't making his short turnaround jump shot, Eric Floyd was dashing down the lane for baskets, and led the Hoyas with 16 points.
Once Ewing established himself inside, the Tigers all but abandoned their inside game. Only a strong offensive game by 6-6 forward Ricky Frazier (24) and an occasional 20-footer by Jon Sundvold kept the visitors from falling further behind.
With slightly less than 15 minutes remaining in the game, Georgetown had a 10-point lead after consecutive baskets by Ewing and Eric Smith, who played well on a sore right ankle. The Hoyas then put the game away, leading by as many as 18 points.
The Hoyas went to a more aggressive, trapping full-court press, with Smith, Floyd and Fred Brown forcing three straight ball-handling errors. In between, Floyd made an 18-foot shot and Smith a 15-footer. When Floyd drove the lane for two points and Anthony Jones made a short base line shot, Georgetown led, 49-31, with 11:33 left.
The Hoyas continually harassed the Tiger guards, who eventually didn't even look at the basket. The starters, Sundvold and Prince Bridges, shot a combined four for 18.
"I don't think this was one of our better defensive games, but we did stop them from running," Floyd said. "They also stopped attacking, which helped us a little."
With Frazier twisting through the Hoya zone, Missouri closed to within 51-39 with less than seven minutes remaining. At that point, Thompson decided he had enough points to win and ordered a delay game.
Missouri didn't come close to stealing a pass and finally had to resort to fouling. Georgetown scored its final 12 points at the free throw line, missing only twice.
Missouri Coach Norm Stewart sat passively most of the game, as if he couldn't believe how easily the Hoyas were dismantling his game plan.
"We didn't play one of our . . .better games," he said with a rueful laugh. "We've played three games in five days and are a little tired. Other than Frazier knocking a few in, we didn't have many highlights."
Elsewhere in the Big East: John Bagley's 35 points led Boston College (15-8, 6-6) to a 90-81 win at St. John's (17-7, 7-5); Syracuse (15-9, 7-5) scored an 87-81 win over visiting Seton Hall (11-13, 2-10), and Corny Thompson (17 points) was one of five players in double figures for Connecticut (17-7, 7-5) in a 90-61 victory over visiting Providence (10-14, 2-10).