Georgetown Men 76,
For the Georgetown men's basketball team, playing Fairfield at MCI Center yesterday afternoon was a rather different experience than traveling to Oregon or to 11th-ranked Illinois, as the Hoyas did in the past nine days.
But their 76-51 victory over the Stags in front of a home crowd of 6,518 still provided some valuable learning opportunities: Senior forward Brandon Bowman got to work his way out of an early-season slump, freshman guard Jessie Sapp got his first extended chance to run the offense, and the Hoyas (4-2) finally got an easy victory.
"It feels good, without a doubt," Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said. "You go through a tough stretch and you can sit and debate and make snide remarks about the schedule we've played, but to come in and execute. . . . Our guys did a good job of sharing the ball and it kind of opened them up a little bit. We made a few shots."
Georgetown made a season-high 12 three-pointers and 13 players scored, as it overwhelmed the Stags from the start. The Hoyas led by 19 points at halftime and were up by 29 with 6 minutes 30 seconds left in the game when Thompson turned to a lineup of four freshmen and one seldom-used junior (fan favorite Sead Dizdarevic).
Fairfield Coach Tim O'Toole seemed a little shell-shocked after the game and was surprised at how quickly his team -- which had previously lost to Providence by three and played No. 12 Iowa close before falling by 16 -- was taken out of the game. He said Georgetown is the best team the Stags (1-6) have faced so far.
The Hoyas' advantage was apparent as soon as they stepped onto the court; Fairfield didn't have a single starter taller than 6 feet 4. But the Stags decided to take away the inside and let Georgetown -- which entered the game shooting 32.6 percent from beyond the three-point line -- shoot from the outside. The Hoyas attempted 34 three-pointers, tying the school record.
Bowman had his best shooting performance of the season; he made 4 of 6 three-point shots and scored 16 points, only the third time he has scored in double-digits. As a junior, Bowman shot 50 percent from the floor and led the Hoyas in scoring, but so far this season he has struggled. In his previous two games, he had as many turnovers (four) as field goals.
He said he was looking forward to yesterday's game because he viewed it as an opportunity to get into a rhythm shooting the ball. He has been trying to figure out what caused the slump.
"Coach tells me that I haven't been working as hard as I can, and that has something to do with it, so he's been constantly on me about that," Bowman said. "You start missing some shots in practice or whatever and you start thinking about it more and more. I guess that's what happened with me. I'm just trying to get out of it, and this game is going to help."
All 15 players played for the Hoyas, and freshmen Josh Thornton and Tay Spann got onto the floor for the first time. Thornton, a guard, scored seven points in just six minutes.
Sapp, an All-Met from National Christian, is usually the second player off the bench for the Hoyas. He looked comfortable running the offense, and finished with four points, two assists, two steals and no turnovers in a season-high 22 minutes.
"That was the onus put on him, to run the team, get your team organized," Thompson said of Sapp. "I think [he] did a very good job of keeping the group out there, when he was running the show, focused. That was a large part of what today was about, to get him that experience. I thought he did a very good job."