After 24 games of wondering what kind of magical things might grace Georgetown if only it could consistently get the ball inside to Patrick Ewing, last night came the answer.
And this stuff was quite magical, too. Ewing made 12 of 16 shots, scoring 28 points, and the No. 18 Hoyas shot a make-'em-weep 68 percent from the field, a season high, making 38 of 56 shots.
The final was Georgetown 86, Providence 62.
"We don't consider any game an easy game," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said afterward, in gracious deference to Providence, his alma mater. Figuring out the outcome was easy enough: the Hoyas led by 13 at halftime, by 24 with 12 minutes to go.
This Big East Conference game elevated Georgetown to 18-7, a fourth-place 8-4 in the conference. What 9,749 customers at Capital Center saw was simply this:
Providence (11-16, 3-10) played a matchup zone defense that is akin to a man-to-man defense. Poor Otis Thorpe, the Friars' 6-foot-9 center, thereby covered the 7-foot Ewing underneath in a man-to-superman defense. Sometimes, Thorpe had help from teammates. Often enough, that help didn't suffice.
"It's so hard to block Pat's shots," Thorpe said. "Pat had a terrific game. I played behind him and he kept scoring on those turnarounds."
As Georgetown freshman David Wingate noted, smiling like a man speaking a certainty, "Nobody can cover Patrick one on one."
When Ewing wasn't driving Thorpe daffy underneath, guard Gene Smith (14 points) was running the Hoyas' transition game with maximum efficiency. David Wingate (15 points, on seven for 10 shooting), Michael Jackson (11 points, on five for seven) and reserve guard Horace Broadnax (12 points on six for 10) shot marvelously from afar.
"We had the ball moving better than in a long time; we've been practicing that all week," said Ewing, who also had seven rebounds.
Even the Georgetown press, which hasn't impeded too many offenses lately, worked last night. "The Georgetown press is okay, but not that good," said Providence Coach Joe Mullaney, 17 turnovers later. "We should have handled it a lot better,"
The Hoyas led, 27-24, with 6:45 left in the first half. When Jackson scored on a drive from the left side, was fouled, then completed a three-point play, the Hoyas' lead increased to 30-24 with 4:42 left in the half.
This began a 14-4 Georgetown streak--which ended, nuttily enough, with Broadnax's 22-footer taking a lap around the rim, then falling in at the buzzer--and the Hoyas led by 41-28 at halftime.
Early in the second half, Ewing kept scoring from inside, the Georgetown press kept Providence miserable, Broadnax put in a couple of neat jumpers, and the Hoyas' lead circled the galaxy.
Thompson added, "As I've told you before, a lot of people are ready to put us in the grave . . . I think they are making a mistake."