Alley-ooping all evening long, No. 19 Georgetown defeated Pittsburgh, 62-54, in a Big East game last night before 9,955 at Capital Centre.
Consequently, the Hoyas high-lobbed to 12-4, 3-1 in the Big East.
"Really, it wasn't our game. Nobody was exceptional," said Coach John Thompson. For once, Thompson's postgame modesty was well-founded.
Mostly, it was a plain game with plain facts: Patrick Ewing had 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, which is standard stuff.
The Hoyas led, 27-26, even after playing the first half poorly. Once, Pitt led by five, 26-21.
"We were searching then," said Thompson, who used many different lineups during that half.
Georgetown finally unearthed momemtum early in the second half. With freshman guard Michael Jackson scoring eight of his 11 points in a 10-2 streak, the Hoyas pulled from a tie at 30 to a 42-32 lead with 12:52 left.
Beyond this point, only cool Clyde Vaughan, a 6-foot-4 Adrian Dantley type, kept the Panthers (7-7, 0-4) from kneeling in subservience. Vaughan scored 21 points, making 10 of 18 shots.
"Give him daylight, he'll pull the trigger," said Georgetown forward Bill Martin, who had 14 points himself.
After Vaughan scored twice on long-range jumpers, then guard Billy Culbertson followed with a scoring drive, the Panthers had closed to 50-46 with 5:42 left.
Here, the Hoyas slowed the pace, moving to a spread-out offense. Meanwhile, their defense continued to make Pitt, which shot 40 percent, take shots from somewhere near the Pennsylvania border.
Back in the saddle again, the Hoyas gained control: Martin made two free throws, then a jumper, Jackson sank one free throw, Ewing two and the lead was 57-50, with victory preserved.
Now, about those alley-oop passes.
Most of the 12 or so high lobs were intended for Ewing, four inches taller than Pitt's tallest starter. However, most of the alley-oops ended just that way: "Oops!"
"We stopped the alley-oop pass a lot of times," said Vaughan.
Some of them passes worked, though. Ewing, who began the game wearing goggles to protect eyes that were poked several times against Connecticut last Saturday--"But they fogged up so he took them off," said Thompson--likes the concept of the alley-oop pass.
"It's part of my game," he said. "I'm glad Coach put it back into our game.
Thompson said, "I'm starting to emphasize it (the alley-oop) more. But it can't be done as regularly as the kids attempted it tonight."
Fred Brown, Georgetown's junior guard, agreed. "At one point in the game, we started thinking about throwing the alley-oop pass every time down the court."
"But Patrick was always open," said Martin, rationalizing. "They were playing a 1-3-1 zone and the guy in the back was a little guard."
That guy in the back--Culbertson, Pitt's 6-1 junior guard--said of the air raid that took place over his head, "That's the most lobs anyone has ever tried against us."