John Thompson isn't about to lose his perspective or sense of humor because Georgetown has lost two consecutive basketball games.
When someone who doesn't know Thompson very well asked in all seriousness, "Coach, you've lost two straight games. What happens now?" Thompson couldn't resist.
"Hell, we're gonna quit, the season is over. We're going to just pack our bags and call it a year," he said, finally breaking into a smile. "What's wrong with Georgetown?"
Thompson figures nothing is wrong with Georgetown that can't be worked out quickly. In fact, he said the team is playing better, in some ways, than during its 29-game winning streak. He indicated he is not about to overanalyze Saturday's 66-65 loss to St. John's or Monday night's 65-63 loss at Syracuse.
"The game we shouldn't have lost was to St. John's," he said. "To beat a Big East team as good as (ninth-ranked) Syracuse -- on the road -- in my estimation would have been an upset for us."
Georgetown lost at Syracuse when Pearl Washington made a 15-foot jumper with eight seconds left. "What did I think of Pearl's last shot? I'd like to hit him," Thompson joked. "He hit a tough shot and Michael Jackson was right in his face. There's nothing you can do about that.
"We're disappointed; we lost a couple of basketball games. We've got to get back on the winning track; there's no question about that. I'm not discouraged yet. I'm always concerned when you lose a couple of ball games. But we've been in that position before, and we'll be in it again."
Becoming discouraged would be especially premature because he thinks the team is improving. "We don't want to get accustomed to losing," he said. "(But) we'll work it out. We're not ready to panic, or run home and cry about it. We might be playing better (than during some parts of the streak) and I'm extremely pleased with that.
"As I've said before, people win ball games and things don't go as well as you think they should. You lose the ball game, and it's hard to look at the positive things.
"But it scared me before when we were winning and not playing with some of the intensity I thought we should have been playing with defensively. There were a lot of things, particularly defensively, that we've been trying to step up, that we were very successful at getting done (against St. John's and Syracuse).
"We've made some mental lapses at times. We've got to work some things out, but I think we will." When asked how a coach can communicate two conflicting ideas -- improvement and defeat -- he smiled and said, "It's not tough at all for me to tell them that."
After several games that his Hoyas won, even by 20 points, he cautioned that they weren't doing certain things to his satisfaction. And every time someone asked if they were unbeatable, he said: "Absolutely not."
Now that Georgetown has lost, there will be at least one change in the way he looks at his players. "This is now this year's team," he said. "I always felt this was last year's team -- until we lost. Now we have an opportunity to be this year's team. That's very difficult to for me to explain, though."
Georgetown (18-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big East) had opportunities to win at Syracuse, before 32,229 in the Carrier Dome. Two chances came late, in the last six seconds, after Washington's jumper had erased Georgetown's one-point lead.
With 40 seconds to play, the Hoyas could have gone ahead by three. But freshman Perry McDonald threw a pass that was intercepted.
"That possession was very important," Thompson said. "We had spread out. (But) we had a freshman in that situation and the freshmen just have to learn through doing and getting involved."
Thompson also had some thoughts on the oranges that fans threw early in the game. One orange splattered the backboard while Patrick Ewing was shooting a free throw. Thompson pulled his team off the floor twice in that sequence.
"The only thing I say about the oranges -- and I think this is a great place, a great atmosphere -- is that at any place you can have a few people who lose perspective.
"As I told the guy at the microphone (who announced a possible technical foul for any further disruption), 'Technical fouls? We're talking about somebody getting hurt.' "