- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 30, 2005

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — For the first time all season, Georgetown played like a team picked to finish 11th in the Big East.

The Hoyas spent the first half of the conference season making a mockery of preseason expectations. But last night, unbeaten and eighth-ranked Boston College handed the young Hoyas a brusque wake-up call with a 64-49 romp before a rowdy crowd of 8,606 at Conte Forum.

Quite simply, Georgetown (13-6, 5-3 Big East) didn’t come prepared to match the Eagles’ combination of intensity and execution. And by the time the Hoyas awakened, BC (18-0, 7-0) already had its clutches around their throats.

The Hoyas will have several days to chew on the beating before playing Seton Hall on Wednesday night at MCI Center.

“They’re a good team,” subdued Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of BC after watching his squad lose its composure for the first time since a season-opening 18-point loss to Temple. “They are a very good defensive team, but at the same time we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do.”

That might qualify as the understatement of the season. There’s no way to sugarcoat what happened to Georgetown in the first half. The entire 20 minutes featured an offensive performance malfunction for the Hoyas, who likely would have set a handful of program records for futility were such statistics kept.

After guard Ashanti Cook opened the scoring with a 3-pointer from the right wing on Georgetown’s first possession, the Hoyas proceeded to scramble haplessly for more than 15 minutes before making another field goal.

They finished the half with more turnovers (14) than points (12), a stat stunner rarely encountered beyond elementary school play. They eclipsed their season average for turnovers (13.4) on a wild giveaway in the lane by sophomore guard Ray Reed with 2:54 remaining in the half, made just five of 19 shots (26 percent), suffered a scoring drought of nearly 13 minutes within the field goal drought and looked alternately confused, frustrated, overwhelmed and incompetent.

When freshman center Roy Hibbert ended the drought with a third-chance dunk to cut the lead to 18-6 with 4:05 remaining in the half, the crowd erupted in mock approval.

“It felt like we had six points [all half],” said Thompson, who entertained questions at the postgame podium for about three minutes. “The points that we did get we stumbled into. They didn’t come as a result of our offense.”

Every player in the rotation, with the notable exception of freshman reserve Tyler Crawford (12 points, six rebounds), earned his share of culpability.

Juniors Cook and Brandon Bowman looked ruffled, perhaps too excited by the matchup against former high school rival and Boston College big man Craig Smith (20 points, eight rebounds) to function effectively within the parameters of Thompson’s exacting Princeton offense.

Hibbert and freshman frontcourt standout Jeff Green (five points, five rebounds) took turns unraveling in the crucial high-post trigger position of the Hoyas’ offense, combining for nine first-half turnovers. Both looked rattled by the hostile crowd and BC’s frenzied defense that challenged every pass and shrugged off every screen.

And freshman point man Jonathan Wallace continued to struggle mightily with his shot, missing all three of his first-half attempts en route to earning an early seat on the bench along with the rest of the starters. Perhaps the only thing more incredible that Georgetown’s first-half anemia was that the Hoyas trailed by just 24-12 at intermission.

Thanks largely to Crawford and nice comeback second-half performances from Bowman (16 points) and Green, who had six assists after the break, the Hoyas battled back within five on Crawford’s layup with 7:00 remaining.

But just as they have done for the undefeated Eagles all season, Smith and sophomore swingman Jared Dudley (13 points, five rebounds) took charge down the stretch, one or the other scoring on five straight possessions to put the Eagles ahead 48-39 with 4:45 remaining. And Prince George’s County product Louis Hinnant (Gwynn Park High School) put the finishing touches on the victory with a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired at the 2:52 mark to give the Eagles a 55-41 lead.

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