Rice University's D'Wayne Tanner came into last night's game against Georgetown with a name. He left it with the Hoyas referring to him only as "the little guy" or "22." And when their full-court pressure kept the little guy from ball handling, 15th-ranked Georgetown was well on its way to a 90-63 thrashing of Rice before 4,477 at Capital Centre.
Perry McDonald scored a season-high 19 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Hoyas (7-1), who put the Owls away with a 9-0 run to end the first half and a 7-0 run to start the second.
Five Hoyas scored in double figures -- McDonald, Mark Tillmon (17), Anthony Tucker (15), Charles Smith (12) and Jaren Jackson (11). David Willie led the Owls with 15 points and Ronald Robertson added 13.
Tanner had caused Georgetown problems in the first half by breaking its press and scoring eight points. In the second half, the Hoyas overplayed and double-teamed Tanner in the back court, and their man-to-man press forced 10 turnovers, including four early in the half.
"We said, 'We have to stop the little guy, the little point guard, from breaking the pressure so easy,' " said McDonald, who hit eight of 13 from the floor.
"Tanner was doing a very good job of getting the ball in his hands and getting down the court real fast," Hoyas Coach John Thompson said. "Plus the fact that all of it looks good when you make the shots at the end of it, and that's what they did."
Georgetown started the second half up by 11, having shut out Rice (2-5) over the last 4:13 of the first half. They did the same over the first minute of the second, scoring seven quick points.
McDonald started the second half with an offensive rebound of a Dwayne Bryant miss. McDonald scored and was fouled by Robertson, and his free throw put Georgetown up by 14. He then stole the ball in back court and canned an eight-footer for a 49-33 lead.
After a Rice miss, the Hoyas came downcourt and Bryant took a driving jumper. He missed, but Anthony Allen was there for the follow and an 18-point lead with 19:02 to play. The Owls never got closer than 14 again.
"Georgetown is very team-oriented," said Rice Coach Scott Thompson. "One guy will always pick up the slack at various points of the game."
Tanner tried to break downcourt, then back to the ball, but if the Hoyas didn't have him doubled, they overplayed the passing lanes and helped themselves to easy steals.
"We had to," Smith said. "We were trying to deny him the ball because he was hurting us in the first half . . . We had to overplay him because he was the key to the team."
"They did a very good job of that," said Tanner, who only scored two points in the second half. "Every time they scored, they had two men overplaying me where I couldn't get the ball."
Rice was not bashful about shooting the three-pointer, throwing up nine in the first half. The Owls used the three-point shot to get back in the game after Georgetown went on a 13-0 run to move from an 8-3 deficit to a 16-8 lead.
With the Hoyas up by 10, Mike Girardi hit a three-pointer, then Dave Mlachnik canned one from the left side to bring Rice within 26-20. They got as close as 30-28 when Tanner hit a 16-footer off a screen with 6:30 left in the half.
McDonald scored five straight points to get Georgetown out of immediate trouble. But the Owls got back to 35-33 when Tanner scored his sixth straight point on a free throw with 4:19 to go.
But that was Rice's last point of the half, as the Hoyas scored the final nine.