- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

New Georgetown coach John Thompson III and his Princeton-style motion offense will be put to the test from the start.

Thompson, the eldest son of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, and the Hoyas open their season tonight at MCI Center against Temple (0-1) and its vaunted matchup zone defense.

In a little more than a month of practice, Thompson said the Hoyas have made progress with the disciplined offense. However, he quickly added there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“It’s not where I want it to be, but it’s where I expected it to be,” Thompson said.

Opening against John Chaney’s Owls is not the ideal way to unveil a new offensive philosophy. Temple’s rotating zone takes away the middle and backdoor cuts.

“This is an opponent that doesn’t play traditional defense,” Thompson said. “You have to make shots because you don’t get good shots against them.”

In order to beat Temple, teams have to be able to shoot over its trademark zone. In the Owls’ 80-78 loss to Auburn on Friday, Jeff Lebo’s Tigers made a school-record 18 3-pointers.

Thompson said he wasn’t ready to divulge his lineup against Temple. However, it’s safe to assume forward Brandon Bowman, Georgetown’s top returning scorer at 15.9 points a game, point guard Ashanti Cook (9.2 points), and swingman Darrel Owens, who made 43.7 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, are among the starting five because they all can shoot from the outside.

Temple has one of the tallest teams in the Atlantic 10. Keith Butler, a 7-foot-1, 250-pound junior, and 6-11 sophomore center Wayne Marshall give the Owls great size inside.

Thompson was reluctant to say he whether he will start Roy Hibbert, Georgetown’s 7-2 freshman center, to counter Temple’s size in the paint. Jeff Green, a 6-8 freshman forward, is another option. Thompson also can open small with a three-guard look by inserting Ray Reed next to Cook and Owens.

In Friday’s loss, four Temple players scored in double figures, led by 6-5 swingman Dustin Salisbery’s 22 points off the bench. Marshall, who sat out last season because of academic problems, scored 12 points and had nine rebounds.

Critics contend Chaney’s matchup defense hasn’t been as effective the last few years because teams are finding creases in the zone when the ball rotates from side to side.

“They win games with their defense,” Thompson said. “Even without a good offense, they are able to win because of that defense.”

What Temple does give Georgetown is a legitimate opening opponent. The last five years the Hoyas have started their seasons against Morgan State, Bethune-Cookman, Division III Marymount and Grambling (twice).

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