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Oh brother: Hoyas romp

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The court case of Thompson v. Thompson produced a decisive blue-and-gray verdict.

The 18th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas of John Thompson III made quick work of Ronny Thompson's Ball State team last night as the elder brother captured the first meeting between the siblings 69-54 at Verizon Center in a game never remotely in doubt.

"That whole brother thing, I forgot about that until the horn went off," said 40-year-old John after besting 37-year-old Ronny, who is in his first season as head coach at Ball State (2-4). "I've said all along that my focus is always on us, on the way we play and handle ourselves. Afterward, sure, I feel for Ronny, because they've lost like three or four straight. They're going through a rough patch, and that's tough because he is my brother. But during the game, it's business."

Georgetown (4-1), which plays host to Oregon in a quick turnaround tomorrow night, handled that business better than in any other game this season. Perhaps all the Hoyas needed was last week's 13-point kick in the chops from Old Dominion and a second consecutive slap from the Associated Press Top 25 poll, which dropped the Hoyas from 14th to 18th yesterday. Because after opening the season with a No. 8 ranking and a handful of sluggish performances, Georgetown finally looked like an elite team.

Among many positives, perhaps most meaningful was the return to form of junior forward Jeff Green. The 6-foot-9 Green, who recorded just two field goals in ugly efforts against Old Dominion and Fairfield, erupted early against overmatched Ball State, torching the Cardinals for 14 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Hoyas' best opening half of the season.

Behind Green's emergence and seven first-half assists from sophomore guard Jessie Sapp, Georgetown waltzed to a 40-28 halftime lead.

"I was aware of the fact that in the last few games, I got in early foul trouble and our team couldn't do as well with me off the floor," said Green, who either scored or was credited with an assist on five of the team's first six scoring possessions. "We knew Coach Ronny would have his team amped up to come in here and play, so he could say he beat Coach's team on his own floor. We knew we had to match that intensity and jump on them early."

The Hoyas did just that, putting together a clinical first half in which they shot 56 percent from the field and recorded 12 assists on 14 field goals.

Sapp was a big reason why. His assists helped boost freshmen forwards DaJuan Summers (12 points) and Vernon Macklin (10).

"I've always wanted to be a leader. I've never wanted to follow anyone," said Sapp, who finished with six points, eight assists and no turnovers. "I have to be a coach on the floor, like Jon [Wallace]. I have to be that leader, and I'm just thankful that my teammates believe in me."

Ronny had teased Sapp saying he had told his team there was no need to guard the erratically shooting Georgetown sophomore. But Sapp had the final word.

"When I hit that one [3-pointer] in the first half, I looked over at [Ronny] and smiled, and he just smiled back," Sapp said with a grin.