Consider the issue settled, at least for this week. Georgetown, once again, has to be considered the best team in all of college basketball after blasting top-ranked St. John's, 85-69, and shocking 19,591 here in Madison Square Garden tonight.
Patrick Ewing, Georgetown's 7-foot all-America, played one of the best games of his career. His 20 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots led the second-ranked Hoyas and destroyed the Redmen on very real and psychological levels. And Ewing had plenty of help from sophomore Reggie Williams, who scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
St. John's (24-2, 14-1 in the Big East) came here with a 19-game winning streak -- 13 of them with Coach Lou Carnesecca's lucky sweater -- and ran into a Georgetown team that was fabulous in every way.
The Hoyas (26-2, 13-2) hit eight straight shots at one point in the second half and smothered St. John's with an impenetrable defense.
The Redmen were led by all-America Chris Mullin's 21 points. But when the Redmen desperately needed him to score, he had shots firmly rejected twice by Ewing.
Georgetown, which has won eight straight, will finish the regular season Sunday at home against Syracuse. About the only positive thing for the Redmen was that St. John's should still win the Big East regular-season title by beating Providence Saturday.
There was a pregame ovation when Georgetown Coach John Thompson walked onto the court, opened his silver suit coat and uncovered, yes, a sweater. Just like the one Carnesecca has.
Thompson walked to each end of the court, sticking out his chest, and the Georgetown players raised their fists in the air.
More ovations would follow. When the players were finally introduced, no fewer than five certain first-round NBA draft choices -- Ewing, Mullin, Walter Berry, Bill Wennington and Williams; probably six when you add Bill Martin -- ran onto the floor.
Martin, as it turned out, scored the game's first basket, on a medium-range jumper from the left base line after Mike Moses missed a jumper for St. John's on the opening possession.
Moses, the Redmen point guard who doesn't shoot that often, missed another jumper the next time down. The Hoyas, following Ewing's second rebound, pushed the ball upcourt quickly and got a 20-foot jumper out of the left corner from Reggie Williams that made it 4-0.
Knowing how Georgetown is capable of running away with a game in an instant, Carnesecca called time out just 93 seconds into the game.
It didn't help. Michael Jackson came up with a loose ball and went in for the layup that made it 6-0. And Williams, following another turnover by Moses, made one free throw for a 7-0 lead before Chris Mullin finally got the Redmen on the board with a forced jumper off glass.
Georgetown would extend its lead to 15-6 when freshman Perry McDonald tipped a pass away from Mullin and went the three-quarters of the court for the layup.
The Redmen could get no closer than seven until Berry, who wasn't visibly involved in the first eight minutes of the game, got inside for a layup and subsequent foul shot that put St. John's within 19-13 with 11:32 to play in the half.
The Hoyas' early lead didn't last long, and it evaporated on a bizzare five-point play for St. John's.
With the Hoyas leading, 22-17, David Wingate missed a shot for Georgetown. A long pass downcourt to Mullin was nearly intercepted by Michael Jackson. But Mullin came up with the loose ball and made the short shot.
Television replays showed that Mark Jackson of St. John's cleanly shoved Michael Jackson into Mullin. But the officials called Michael Jackson for the foul, sending Mullin to the free-throw line and Thompson into a frenzy.
Thompson, who was standing right in front of the play, came out of the coaches' box and was hit with a technical foul.
So Mullin made three free throws -- his own from being fouled, plus both technicals -- to tie the game at 22 with eight minutes left in the half. The Redmen actually took the lead with 7:09 left on a pair of free throws by Wennington.
But then, Georgetown went on a tear, as Ewing took over the game offensively. After having a shot blocked by Wennington, Ewing sank a sweeping hook, a one-handed jumper from 13 feet and a dunk that put the Hoyas ahead, 30-26.
Georgetown got itself into trouble by taking -- and missing -- long jumpers. But in this 18-6 streak, the Hoyas kept getting inside. Mark Jackson's two missed free throws led to a layup by Ronnie Highsmith, who benefited from a flashy wheel-and-deal dishoff from Wingate.
Ralph Dalton hit a short hook, and Williams stripped down Willie Glass in the open court and went in for the dunk that put the Hoyas ahead, 36-28. Williams would score six more points and put Georgetown ahead, 44-31, before Mike Moses hit a jumper just before the halftime buzzer.
St. John's had disintegrated after the five-point play. Mullin didn't touch the ball again. Berry, who made one of only three shots the first half, looked like he wasn't ready for the game. And Glass' halftime linescore -- one point, one rebound and five turnovers -- told how ineffective he was. St. John's had 11 turnovers to the Hoyas' three.
Georgetown, meanwhile, got 15 points and four assists from Williams in the half, plus five-for-six shooting from Ewing.
St. John's ran off a miniflurry and got within seven, 50-43, when Mullin hit a jumper. Thompson called time out to prevent any further slippage.
It appeared the Redmen would cut their deficit to five when Glass stole the ball from Wingate and started in for the layup. But Michael Jackson, the last man back for the Hoyas, ran in front of Glass as soon as he left his feet, and Glass -- his timing interrupted -- missed the layup.
Dalton wound up making one of two free throws at the other end and Georgetown held a 51-43 lead. Then came what might have been the biggest play of the game.
Mullin took a pass on the left base line, about eight feet from the basket, and attempted to turn and shoot. He shot, all right, but Ewing blocked it straight down to the floor. And in the ensuing break, McDonald made a reverse layup for 53-43.
The Hoyas immediately forced the Redmen, who obviously were rattled, into another turnover. Dalton missed his hook shot, but Ewing jammed from behind his head -- without looking -- for a 55-43 lead.
The Hoyas' lead would reach 61-47 on Ewing's fadeaway jumper and 65-50 on Michael Jackson's steal and layup. There wasn't much hope for the Redmen thereafter; the sweater couldn't do St. John's a bit of good, unless it could stop Ewing and shoot a jumper.