Tonight in the incredible roar of the Special Events Center, Georgetown lost a nonconference game for the first time since December 1983 -- 38 games ago.
Texas-El Paso, charged to a surreal level by a full house of 12,222, defeated fifth-ranked and previously undefeated Georgetown, 78-64. It was the most lopsided defeat for the Hoyas since 1982, when Alabama beat the Hoyas, 94-73. It also was the first time an opponent outside the Big East claimed victory over Georgetown since De Paul won, 63-61, before Christmas in 1983.
"We're not ready to close up camp and quit," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson. "I'm not going to beat the kids or make them run up the mountains. It's not a question of how bad we were; it was more that UTEP played better tonight."
It was the 450th career victory for UTEP Coach Don Haskins, and it was one of the school's biggest victories since its 1966 triumph in the NCAA title game over Kentucky.
Haskins said, "We played as good a game as we possibly could play."
Quintan Gates led the Miners (9-1) with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Georgetown suffered all the problems it usually inflicts upon opponents. The Hoyas (9-1) were whipped decisively on the boards, especially on the offensive end. They missed free throws that could have forged a comeback and couldn't work the ball inside with any sustained success. In another rarity, Georgetown committed more turnovers than its opponent (20-18).
"All the stuff that usually happens to the other team happened to us this time," said Georgetown's Reggie Williams, whose 20 points led the Hoyas.
Williams, however, made only three of 13 shots from the field, and his teammates weren't much better. For the game, the Hoyas made only 35.5 percent of their attempts from the field. No Hoya who took more than one shot made 50 percent.
The 59 percent foul shooting wasn't enough to dent UTEP's lead in the second half. And the Miners' surprising rebounding edge (35-29) extended Georgetown's frustration.
UTEP took the lead for good, 39-36, on a three-point play by Gates with 17 minutes to play.
Georgetown got within 47-45 on a foul shot by Ralph Dalton (nine points, 11 rebounds), and 49-47 on a pair of free throws by Williams with 10 minutes left.
But with Georgetown trailing, 53-47, Williams (14 for 18 from the line) missed two foul shots, and Georgetown's misfortunes began.
UTEP's Hernell Jackson shot an air ball that landed in the hands of Gates, who put in the layup for a 55-47 lead.
Georgetown's Michael Jackson then missed a one-and-one. Miners center Dave Feitl (14 points, five rebounds and a first-half skirmish with Dalton) missed a shot, badly, but the rebound slipped out of Grady Mateen's hands, out of bounds. Wayne Campbell wound up scoring to make the lead 57-47 with eight minutes to play.
What hurt Georgetown thereafter was missed foul shots and letting UTEP rebound its own missed free throws.
"We weren't blocking out," Williams said. "If we did, they would have had to come over the top and commit fouls."
Michael Jackson added: "And you can't complete a comeback when the guy you plan to foul misses a free throw, a good free throw shooter grabs the rebound."
Thompson pointed out that some of the time he chose to go with a smaller, quicker lineup to chase. And those players were bound to be outrebounded.
The Miners also controlled the ball. Usually, the Hoyas' press causes turnovers, which lead to easy Georgetown baskets, a dramatic change of momentum and a demoralized opponent. Tonight, that never happened.
"Their spurts usally come as a result of their press," Feitl said. "But tonight they only got two or three turnovers off the press instead of the nine or 10 they're used to getting."
The UTEP effort was even more impressive considering that Juden Smith, one of the Miners' best players, was in the game for only 13 minutes and fouled out with 11 minutes left.
As Thompson pointed out, however, it is easy to overanalyze what happened here tonight. "We're always ready to dissect ourselves too much to the extreme," he said.
"We'll be a good team when it counts. I'm not overly concerned." Sugar Bowl Tournament
Charles Smith scored 24 points to lead Pittsburgh (7-2) to a 79-62 victory over Texas A&M in an opening-round game in New Orleans.
Don Marbury led the Aggies (6-5) with 18 points.
In the second game, Randal Smith hit a pair of free throws with two seconds left in the second overtime to lift Southwestern Louisiana over Tennessee, 79-78.
Southwestern Louisiana and Pittsburgh meet for the tournament championship Saturday night, and Texas A&M and Tennessee play in the consolation game.
The second game was knotted at 62 at the end of regulation and at 70 at the end of the first overtime.
Tennessee had taken a 62-60 lead with 24 seconds left in regulation on a 12-foot jumper by Tony White.
With six seconds left, Southwestern's Brian Jolivette got off a bad pass that was picked off by Tennessee's Fred Jenkins. Jolivette fouled Jenkins, turning the ball over to Tennessee.
But Jenkins missed a 10-foot shot with four seconds left on the play and Marcus Hamilton grabbed the rebound and called timeout. However, his call was not recognized until time expired, and the officials had to put four seconds back on the clock.
Hamilton took the inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court and sank a 12-foot jumper as time expired. Lobo Invitational
In Albuquerque, N.M., guard Scott Skiles made 11 of 17 shots and scored 25 points to lead Michigan State to a 93-45 rout of Massachusetts in an opening-round game.
Michigan State will meet New Mexico (8-2) in the tournament's championship game Saturday.
Skiles and Larry Polec each scored 12 points in the first half when the Spartans (8-1) shot 65 percent to gain a 43-20 lead.
Forward Johnny Brown scored 17 points as New Mexico rallied to beat unheralded Kent State, 52-40, in their opening-round game.
Seven straight points by New Mexico late in the game finally subdued the underdog Kent State team. The Golden Flashes led through most of the first half by using a patient offense that consistently worked for high-percentage shots.
Kent State was still in it, trailing by 38-36 with 5:05 left in the game. But a three-point play by Brown, a layup by forward Kelly Graves and a turnaround jumper by center Shawn Brooks gave the Lobos a safe 45-34 lead. Rainbow Classic
Guard Keith Morrison scored 22 points and Chris Winkler came off the bench in the second half to finish with 13 to lead Washington State to a 74-71 victory over Wake Forest in the opening game of the tournament in Honolulu.
Joe Wallace of the Cougars chipped in with 19 points, 10 in the first half, to help Washington State improve its record to 6-5. Wake Forest fell to 5-6