The gap between the top and bottom of the Big East was never more in evidence than last night at Capital Centre. Providence College never scored two straight baskets. It was a moral victory for the Friars to just get the ball across midcourt.
Top-ranked and undefeated Georgetown got 21 points and 12 rebounds from all-America Patrick Ewing and took a 85-44 victory before 10,634.
"It was an annihilation," Providence Coach Joe Mullaney said. "We hate to have an exhibition like that. Before the game, I said we needed to handle Georgetown's press and remain patient on offense.
"We didn't handle the press, which surprised me, and we started rushing our shots," Mullaney continued. "The combination of the two was a disaster, just atrocious."
The Friars made just 18 of 59 shots, and it seemed that fewer than 10 of those shots came from inside. Brian Waller, a 6-foot-5 forward from Landover, led his team with eight points.
It was the 27th straight victory for Georgetown (16-0 this season, 5-0 in the Big East), and it was the Hoyas' most one-sided victory of the season.
It could have been a lot worse for Providence because Georgetown didn't play very well the first half, when the Hoyas still led, 35-20. As freshman forward Ronnie Highsmith said, "(Coach John Thompson) was a little dissatisfied with our defense at halftime. We tried to come out in the second half and apply pressure the way we should."
The Hoyas picked up the pressure just the way Thompson wanted after intermission, and Providence (8-8, 1-4) couldn't withstand it.
Georgetown scored 10 straight points to start the second half. Reggie Williams (10 points, five rebounds) hit a jumper for 37-20. Billy Martin's steal led to a basket by David Wingate for 39-20. And a missed shot by Friars guard Bill Donovan (zero-for-five shooting) led to Williams' fast-break reverse layup for a 41-20 lead.
After a pair of free throws by Michael Jackson (seven assists, no turnovers), Wingate got another steal, leading to Ewing's turnaround jumper, and the Hoyas' lead had reached 45-20.
Ewing wasn't finished. Earlier in the game, he had one of the all-time highlight film dunks when he followed a missed shot by Wingate with what seemed like an eight-foot, tomahawk slam that sent Capital Centre into a frenzy. Several of the Providence players just shook their heads in disbelief.
After Waller broke Georgetown's run with a long jumper, Ewing scored with another dunk, then a 15-footer to put the Hoyas ahead, 51-22. His last basket was a spinning fadeaway jumper that made it 59-20 with 10 minutes remaining.
The rest of the way, Providence struggled to get the ball upcourt, then impatiently took outside jumpers. Georgetown freshman Kevin Floyd did much of the ball-hawking, lending support to the trapping defenses.
Eleven of the 12 Georgetown players scored; guard Tyrone Lockhart played but didn't shoot. Freshman Perry McDonald scored eight points, Highsmith made all four of his shots, reserve center Ralph Dalton made both of his and freshman forward/center Grady Mateen made all three of his shots and had five rebounds in 17 minutes.
But the best offensive performance of the night came from Ewing, who made eight of 10 shots. His turnaround jumper has become almost unstoppable.
"The way I feel right now is that whenever I get the ball in position, there isn't anybody who can stop me," Ewing said. "The guys have been getting me the ball in the spots I like, and it makes it a hell of a lot easier for me to score."
Ewing also blocked two shots, but the Friars didn't challenge him much. Ray Knight, the Providence center who began his career at Georgetown, missed all four of his shots and was scoreless.
"We don't really have an inside game," said Mullaney, who coached Thompson at Providence in the early 1960s. "We don't have anybody who really plays the position inside.
"We wanted to keep it wide, and open up the middle for some back doors and two-on-two situations. But we didn't move the ball enough. We didn't exhibit any patience on offense at all. We started to miss, and it almost became a disease."