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Despite easy win, Thompson peeved

- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2008

Georgetown coach John Thompson III celebrated Saturday's 24-point rout of American by swilling a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.

The fifth-year mentor of the 20th-ranked Hoyas was utterly unimpressed by his charges' 73-49 victory against the Eagles on Saturday at Verizon Center. He was unmoved by the swarming defense that turned American's first eight possessions into a case study in futility, yielding seven turnovers and a blocked shot by Georgetown freshman Greg Monroe. He shrugged his shoulders at the fact that his Hoyas took a 40-12 lead into intermission after allowing an opponent fewer points in a half than any other Georgetown team since at least 2000.

"It's hard to come out of a half where they scored 12 points and be upset, but I was," said Thompson, whose Hoyas face Savannah State on Monday in a final tuneup for next weekend's showdown with No. 18 Memphis. "Overall, we did not play well. It's about us. It's not about the opponent. It's about us trying to get better, trying to improve. Regardless of the numbers or the score, I'm a little disappointed in how we played. ... The flow was not there today."

What was there were Georgetown's smothering defense and prowess from behind the 3-point arc.

Perhaps the curse of directing a group of five starters who can shred the nets from the perimeter is the blurring of the line between what is and is not a quality shot. The Hoyas' first shot against American (4-4) was a fall-away 3-pointer from deep in the corner by senior guard Jessie Sapp as the shot clock expired. That set the tone for a game that saw the Georgetown trio of Sapp (14 points), Chris Wright (22 points) and DaJuan Summers (14 points) hit nine of 12 attempts from behind the arc.

From Thompson's perspective, the negative was that Georgetown's torrid shooting, coupled with American's absolute anemia at the offensive end, led the Hoyas to largely abandon the hard cuts, constant motion and patience that normally define their offense.

"We didn't get a lot of the looks we typically do or typically get," Thompson said. "We have guys who can make shots. We have guys who, when they throw it up there, it's going to go in. But we have to continue to focus on how we execute and what we're looking for on both ends of the floor."

The Hoyas (5-1) recorded exactly two buckets on backdoor cuts, both in the first half, despite the fact that American employed a man-to-man defense throughout. Ordinarily, such a strategy by an inferior opponent would yield a bonanza of backdoor buckets - not for a Georgetown bunch that looked relatively uninterested after jumping out to a 13-0 lead less than five minutes in.

"We wanted to force them to beat us from the outside," American coach Jeff Jones said. "When they shoot it the way they did from the perimeter in addition to the movement, they are really tough to defend. ... But their defense was the thing that completely stifled us."

But even the Hoyas' defense disappointed Thompson. After completely suffocating the Eagles at the outset, Georgetown seemed to lose its edge in intensity in the final 30 minutes as Thompson gave 74 minutes of work to his reserves. The Hoyas did hold American leading scorer Garrison Carr (nine points) 10 points below his season average on 2-for-17 shooting, but even that statistic displeased Thompson.

"Some of those shots he got were good looks that just didn't go in," Thompson said. "For him to get off 17 shots and 11 3s when we were trying to defend the arc says a lot. ... That's not good on our part. That's too many."