Joe Kleine is 6 feet 11, 255 pounds and every ounce is either muscle or mean. He's built along basic Moses Malone, Jeff Ruland, Bill Laimbeer lines except he has red hair and a soft jump shot.

Kleine plays the pivot like a crazed claustrophobic busting out of a telephone booth with his elbows.

Someday, the Arkansas Razorback is going to make millions in the NBA, where felony manslaughter is its own reward.

Yesterday, Kleine, who played on the '84 U.S. Olympic basketball team and is a prime all-America candidate, met up with Patrick Ewing and Georgetown.

Kleine had the game of his life.

The worst game of his life.

Mr. Kleine came to Washington averaging 22 points. At Capital Centre yesterday, Kleine played 38 minutes.

He scored three points.

One basket. Five turnovers. No assists. No blocked shots. No steals.

Kleine couldn't even get in foul trouble and make it back to the bench.

After Georgetown had won, 56-39, Arkansas Coach Eddie Sutton said, "Kleine looked like the ball in a pinball machine.

"I told him to forget about it. Everybody has bad games. And he had a horrendous one today."

"The coach told me that if this was the worst thing that ever happened to me, I'd have a great life," said Kleine, who didn't seem entirely convinced that this could be the case.

What Kleine endured was such cruel and unusual punishment -- Ewing to the back of him, a forward to the front of him and Horace Broadnax trying to de-kneecapitate him -- that GU Coach John Thompson apologized to Kleine after the game for playing a zone defense.

"I think Joe Kleine is excellent," said Thompson. "This was not reflective of his ability. Patrick Ewing didn't stop him. No one person did. Our zone defense stopped him . . . I sympathized with him because that (zone) is what happens to Patrick all the time . . . . A big man is in a dependent position."

For many the most memorable aspect of this meeting between two of the nation's best college centers (Jon Koncak of Southern Methodist being the other) was the mixture of violence and sportsmanship between Ewing and Kleine.

From the opening tip until they parted company and trotted to their benches with 20 seconds to play, they bludgeoned each other in ways that made the NBA meeting between Rick Mahorn and Robert Parish at the Centre the evening before seem meek.

Yet moments after the final buzzer, Ewing and Kleine (teammates at the Olympics) gave each other a spontaneous bearhug and exchanged best wishes.

"I honestly and sincerely hope that all those folks who were talking about hate and bitterness (last year) saw Patrick and Joe Kleine embrace each other at the end," said Thompson, whose two pet peeves in life are the phrase "Hoya Paranoia" and the charge that Ewing is a dirty player.

"I hope you literary geniuses capture that moment. Now that I've got that off my chest (let's start the postgame interview)," said Thompson, showing his knack for telling the truth and not making friends at the same time.

Certainly Kleine and Sutton can be called as character witnesses if Ewing is ever brought into court for reckless rebounding or driving to endanger.

"I love playing against Ewing," said Kleine. "He's not dirty. He's great. He gets banged and he bangs back. That's all. . . .

"There are no hard feelings. We're good friends. . . .(Anyway) I consider him a friend of mine and I hope he considers me a friend of his. . . .

"He's not easy to get to know, but I don't think I am either. It was hard for us to come together at first," said Kleine, recalling the scuffles that he, Koncak and Ewing had at the U.S. Olympic trials. "But after a while, talking with him was like talking to one of my (Arkansas) teammates."

"I don't think Ewing is a dirty player at all," said Sutton. "That was a very physical game and he showed no temper."

Perhaps Ewing had the most succinct comment on Kleine's rugged play.

"I didn't notice," he said.

What Ewing and Georgetown did to Kleine and Arkansas yesterday showed how little bearing the Hoyas' two losses last week might have on their chances of repeating as national champions. "I voted for Georgetown No. 1 last week (after the losses) and I'll vote for them No. 1 this week," said Sutton.

Sutton paid Georgetown a kind of ultimate compliment when he called a timeout 13 seconds into the game with the score 2-0, explaining simply, "I didn't like what I saw."

What he saw, both early and late, was panic in his ballhandlers' eyes and intimidation in the herky-jerky moves of his big men under the basket. While Sutton got further dismal confirmation today that he lacks the shooting guards to play on equal terms with the best teams, Georgetown got more evidence that it might have the heart to rebound with the roughest foes.

Even in the Final Four, the Hoyas (whose most obvious limitation might be lack of rebounding bulk) will face few, if any teams with a more rugged front line than Arkansas. Kleine has a 6-11, 225-pound buddy named Andrew Lang and 6-6 Charles Balentine is legit.

When Kleine retired from combat in the final minute, dragging his sweat-soaked frame to the bench, his teammates commiserated with pats on the back and solicitous arms around the shoulder.

Kleine shouldn't feel too bad. Lots of teams pack back in a zone defense against a great center and, in effect, build a house around him.

The difference yesterday was that Georgetown also had Ewing.

And he was the roof.