Georgetown easily defeated Wisconsin, 71-43, tonight in the first game of the Winston Tire Classic, but the victory was tempered by the news that Coach John Thompson's mother, Anna, had died.
Thompson had flown back to Washington late Monday night when he learned his mother was seriously ill.
Thompson was replaced at the game by assistant Craig Esherick. The players were not told of Mrs. Thompson's death until after the game.
Esherick, with assistants Mike Riley and Norman Washington, will coach the Hoyas again Wednesday night when they play for the tournament championship against Alabama, which beat Southern California, 74-61, in the second game.
Wednesday night, the Hoyas also will be without starting forward Anthony Jones, their fourth-leading scorer. Jones separated his left shoulder midway through the first half, when he collided with Wisconsin's Rick Olson while driving to the basket.
Tonight, in Thompson's absence, the 10th-ranked Hoyas were on automatic pilot.
Wisconsin shot 10 percent in the first half, allowing Georgetown to score 16 straight points en route to a 35-9 lead at intermission. The Badgers didn't have a chance. Four minutes into the second half, the Hoyas led by 45-11.
Sophomore forward Bill Martin led Georgetown with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard David Wingate and sophomore center Patrick Ewing each scored 11 points.
Earlier in the day, at Wisconsin's customary game-day shoot-around, first year Coach Steve Yoder had expressed how proud he was of his improved Badgers (5-3) and the Big Ten Conference, which was 67-12 going into tonight's games.
But when this game began, the Badgers certainly played far below Big Ten standards.
Not one scored in double figures. Leading scorer Cory Blackwell missed 13 of 16 shots. Second-leading scorer Brad Sellers missed nine of 11. Both had nine points. Olson missed eight of nine. And Wisconsin shot 25 percent for the game.
"I don't have any excuses," Yoder said. "I don't understand what happened. We certainly were tentative on offense. We had played pretty well up until this time.
"I never could have thought this would happen, though. We had a 'we can play with them'-type conversation among the players before the game. But it doesn't take much to figure out what type of performance we had on the floor. It just wasn't a good effort on our part."
Freshman guard David Miller, who had a shooting streak of sorts when he was two for four from the field, said he didn't think the Badgers were overconfident, but added, "Coach told us, 'It's not what you say, it's what you do on the floor.' "
Miller scored all five of his points in the first half and cut Georgetown's lead to 14-7 with 11 minutes to play in the half. The only other Badger points came off Miller's free throw with 9:18 left and a field goal by Blackwell with 8:28 to go.
Wisconsin missed every conceivable shot: dunks, layups, jumpers, banks.
"We missed a couple of shots and the team just fell apart," Miller said. "Guys were just letting them go. Nothing was working."
Meanwhile, Esherick substituted freely and insisted on good defense. Esherick played for Thompson in 1974-78 and became a part-time assistant in the 1980-81 season. He became Thompson's top assistant this summer after graduating from Georgetown Law Center, replacing Bill Stein, who left to become director of athletics at St. Peter's.