Connecticut Coach Dom Perno figured he had a choice. Since no team in college basketball has been able to defend against all the Georgetown Hoyas, he would have his team defend the biggest, Patrick Ewing, the one with the 70 percent shooting accuracy and demoralizing dunks.
Perno's team did what he wanted; the Huskies clogged the lane last night at Capital Centre and held Ewing to five shots. But four other Hoyas scored in double figures, and Georgetown made 66 percent of its shots in the second half to overcome frisky Connecticut, 79-66, and remain undefeated through 18 games this season.
Senior forward Bill Martin led the top-ranked Hoyas with 19 points and eight rebounds. Reggie Williams made nine of 13 shots and scored 18 points. Michael Jackson made six of nine to score 13 and David Wingate also ended with 13.
"You've got to give up something," Perno said. "We packed it in pretty well, which does make you a little vulnerable on the outside. I'd rather play it the way we did. They just hit those deep Js (jumpers); it was amazing."
Connecticut did something that was pretty amazing, too. The Huskies (6-8, 2-4 in the Big East) shot 52 percent from the field, the best mark against the Hoyas (18-0, 7-0) this season.
Earl Kelley, a 6-foot guard, led Connecticut with 18 points. And forward Ray Broxton made six of nine shots for 12 points. The Huskies played Georgetown to a 33-all tie at halftime, and led several times in the second half, including 49-47 with 12:04 to play on a free throw by Alvin Frederick.
But, as usual, Georgetown put together its burst. It came later than usual, but the Hoyas finally stepped up the defensive pressure, outscored Connecticut by 27-11 and pulled away for their 29th straight victory.
Williams tied the score with a jump shot. When Kelley missed an off-balance jumper, Horace Broadnax responded with a 20-footer that put Georgetown ahead for good, 51-49.
At that point, Coach John Thompson had Ewing and four guards in the game -- Williams, Wingate, Broadnax and freshman Kevin Floyd, whose defense is earning him more playing time.
Broxton made a bad pass inside that wound up in Williams' hands for another jumper that made it 53-49. Floyd stole the ball immediately and hit a free throw for 54-49.
Terence Warren ended a four-minute Connecticut stretch without a basket by scoring a jump shot that cut the deficit to 54-51. But Martin slid down the base line for a two-hand reverse drop, then hit the foul shot for a 57-51 Georgetown lead with just more than eight minutes left.
Ewing finished with nine points, six under his average. But his defense in one stretch was as telling as any offense.
Georgetown led, 61-56, and Connecticut got the ball after Martin was called for traveling. Tim Coles, Connecticut's 6-7 forward, came flying inside, only to have his shot snuffed by Ewing. Warren got the offensive bounce, but Ewing blocked his shot, too.
Georgetown's ensuing possession finished with Martin hitting a short bank shot for a 63-56 lead.
Martin scored 11 points in the 27-11 Georgetown run, and six other players scored the other 16.
"That spurt is what really hurt us," Perno said. "They keep firing the troops in and they always have that spurt. Every game, there's always something that gets them over the hump. They get you tired, then your concentration falls off."
Thompson had the four quicker players in the lineup with Ewing to apply more defensive pressure, especially when it came to getting around the Huskies' screens. Sensing that was accomplished, Thompson said he told his players, "Now, let's go after them."
Ewing played more than usual because senior reserve center Ralph Dalton missed the game due to flu.
Martin said he could tell what Connecticut was doing defensively. "There's no question they were sagging a lot on Pat, double- and triple-teaming him. It left the perimeter wide open for jump shots, especially along the base line."
One thing that hurt Connecticut was going into halftime tied after taking a 33-29 lead with less than a minute left before intermission. Ewing made two free throws and Jackson forced a steal off the inbounds pass, then hit a jumper to tie.
"They're just not the type of team to fall flat because you make a run at them," Kelley said of Georgetown. "They're too good for that."