- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

JT3 certainly has an enigmatic streak.

Last week, his Hoyas stumbled through a season-opening home victory over lowly Hartford (69-59) in a game in which a can’t-shoot/don’t-shoot defensive stopper led the team in field goal attempts, and the third-year Hilltop mentor had few pointed words for his charges in his postgame interview session.

Wednesday night, the Hoyas (2-0) marched into Vanderbilt, came within a point of matching last season’s best offensive output (87 points vs. Duke), decimated an SEC team 86-70 which beat them in their own building last season, and Thompson seemed completely unsatisfied with the performance.

“I better go back and watch the tape, because I feel like I saw a different game than you guys did,” said Thompson after fielding a third straight question about the Hoyas’ impressive offensive effort. “I don’t think our offense was good at all. We’re not there yet. We’re not smooth at all.”

Geez, coach, it could have been a lot worse. Try calling Bill Self — his No. 3 Jayhawks were beaten handily by an outdated televangelist on Wednesday. Actually, ORU’s Caleb Green is a heck of a player, but we digress.

The Hoyas certainly made their share of errors against the Commodores, committing 13 turnovers and shifting into a showy, ragged all-star mode with the game well in hand down the stretch. But Georgetown also shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and gave its Princeton offense a nice workout courtesy of Vanderbilt’s ill-advised man-to-man defense.

Despite Thompson’s take, 13 of Georgetown’s 18 second-half field goals came on layups or dunks — that’s a pretty decent Princeton primer for the second game of the season, particularly given the team’s relatively inexperienced backcourt. Juniors Jeff Green (19 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and Jon Wallace (16 points, three assists) both played spectacular on the offensive end, sprinkling in a series of two-man games (give-and-go, back cut, screen-curl-handoff) amid the team’s overall attack.

But the ultimate positive from Georgetown’s trip to Nashville was that Thompson was able to give extensive and invaluable playing time to youngsters Marc Egerson (33 minutes), DaJuan Summers (17), Patrick Ewing Jr. (15), Vernon Macklin (12) and Jeremiah Rivers (12).

And all of the above responded with flashes of brilliance.

Egerson did a nice defensive job on dangerous Vandy sniper Shan Foster (0-for-5 from the field), though Foster’s poor night had less to do with Egerson than with Foster’s gimpy right ankle.

Summers and Ewing showed their inside-outside games, as both finished in the paint for one score and buried a long jumper for another.

Macklin dropped in a nice hook shot early in the second half and showed the kind of outstanding athleticism for a 6-foot-10 player that made him a major blue-chipper.

And Rivers posted the first points of his GU career with serious panache, intercepting a pass and finishing his steal-and-score with a run-out jam.

If anything, Georgetown’s defense, not its offense, was suspect against the ‘Dores, allowing Vandy far too many layups and playing vertical instead of horizontal; the Hoyas (particularly Ewing) routinely left their feet, instead of sliding them, on Vandy shot fakes, leading to a galling 29 free throws for the home team.

But it’s hard to argue with an 86-point offensive effort in which you shoot better than 50 percent and all four of your first-year players score … on the road.

Unless, of course, you’re a perfectionist trying to outstrip your Hall-of-Fame father.

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