The biggest surprise of the day at Capital Centre yesterday was that Georgetown Coach John Thompson still had his voice after his team's two-hour run-and-press basketball game with Providence.
Ultimately, Thompson was pleased with Georgetown's 110-79 victory over Providence, in which Reggie Williams led the 11th-ranked Hoyas with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
But no player, not even Williams, was exempt from the coach's yelling. From tipoff to final buzzer, Thompson was screaming and exhorting his players.
With the intimate gathering of 6,869 rarely creating anything louder than a murmur, every Thompson criticism -- some of them not for family consumption -- could be heard clearly.
With Georgetown (10-2, 1-1 in the Big East) having lost consecutive games to Texas El-Paso and Pittsburgh, Thompson didn't feel it was a good time to sit back and stay quiet.
"I felt I had to get into it emotionally," Thompson said. "Any time you lose a couple of games back to back, it's time to really get involved.
"We couldn't afford to lose three in a row. This was really an important victory for us. You can't keep feeling good about yourselves when you end up losing."
Georgetown, in scoring 100 points for the first time since 1982, dominated in all the important areas against the Friars (8-4, 0-2), who had taken St. John's into overtime on Thursday before losing, 95-90.
"It helped us an awful lot that Providence went into overtime with St. John's," Thompson said. "That scared them (his players) even without me talking about it."
It also helped that the Hoyas shot 62 percent from the field in a full-court transition game and held the Friars to 36 percent.
Freshman Georgetown forward Jaren Jackson scored a season-high 18 points on seven-for-10 shooting, and had three steals. At one point, when Thompson wanted his team to work the clock and look for good shots, Jackson pulled up and made a long jumper.
Thompson jumped up ranting and nearly threw Bobby Winston to the scorer's table to check in for Jackson.
But before there was a stop in action, Jackson had pulled up for another jumper and made that one, too.
"I had to laugh," Thompson said.
Even though Michael Jackson had 16 points and eight assists and Ralph Dalton had 10 rebounds and played good inside defense, Thompson was not laughing most of the afternoon.
Georgetown didn't break the game open until the second half when Horace Broadnax scored six of his 13 points and led the Hoyas to a 65-47 lead.
All 12 Georgetown players who got into the game -- forward Victory Morris didn't play -- scored and had at least one rebound. Thompson felt he had not given enough players enough playing time in the losses to Pitt and UTEP.
"They way we play, that will wear us down," Thompson said. "I was defeating my own purpose playing four people 35 minutes. That's highly unusual."
So yesterday, Thompson threw his freshmen in the game early and kept putting them back in.
"But they didn't understand that in a running, pressing, uptempo game, that five or six bad shots in a row and they're back in the game with 10 or 11 minutes left," he said.
So Thompson screamed. Loudly.
"I've been too calm," he said. "I'm getting old and I can't kill myself with this stuff. But they know me to be an emotional person.
"And when I am not an emotional person it has an effect on my team. They probably resent the hell out of it most of the time. But they take a cue from me. If I'm sitting back, suave, that's not me. They want somebody cussing them out in the locker room.
"The last two games I had leveled off a little bit. I had to be emotional today. I had to be a lot more, because we had lost. This game was very important."
Michael Jackson, who has seen a lot of such emotion through four years, said: "He's always emotional to me. Earlier in the year, we were beating teams by a wide margin so he didn't have to be as emotional. If he was more so today, I didn't notice it."
Dalton, another senior, said: "It might have an effect on some of the younger guys. We try to listen to what he's saying, but we don't pay attention to how much emotion. It's every game if you ask me."
Some might have questioned the strategy of Providence's new coach, Rick Pitino, who had his team running with an opponent obviously superior in talent.
Three Friars scored in double figures, led by Billy Donovan with 21 points. Providence committed an amazingly low total of 14 turnovers and took 80 shots.
Pitino said he didn't think slowing the tempo would do much toward beating the Hoyas.
"I'm from the other school," he said. "If you aren't as talented and you slow it up, all you have is a chance of coming close and losing by eight or 10. We didn't come to play close."