- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2008

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. | The battle for bragging rights inside the Beltway was a beatdown.

In just the third meeting between the teams since 1981, No. 21 Georgetown humbled Maryland 75-48 on Sunday in the third-place game at the Old Spice Classic.

The game was expected to be a passionate struggle between the area’s two most storied college hoops programs, albeit 900 miles from the District. Apparently the Terrapins (4-2) didn’t get the memo.

The Hoyas (4-1) dominated Maryland in every conceivable category at the Milk House, authoring the most lopsided victory in the halting history of the series since Maryland’s 104-71 win in 1974.

“The stars just aligned themselves well for us today,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, whose Hoyas next face American on Saturday at Verizon Center. “It was a good win against a very good team.”

The game was so ugly that after the Hoyas pulled ahead 73-38 on a slashing layup by Bowie native Chris Wright with 7:28 to play, Thompson pulled most of his starters and spent the remainder of the game experimenting with lineups that included rarely seen reserves like Nikita Mescheriakov (12 minutes).

It wasn’t a huge surprise that Georgetown enjoyed considerable success inside against the undersized Terps, outrebounding Maryland 39-26 and posting a 38-26 edge in the paint behind 6-foot-11 freshman Greg Monroe (12 points, six rebounds).

What was a stunner was how completely the Hoyas stifled Terps leading scorer Greivis Vasquez. Two nights after joining the program’s 1,000-point club, the 6-6 junior guard played possibly the worst game of his college career. Entering the game averaging 20 points, the gritty slasher from Caracas, Venezuela, didn’t scratch the scoring column until only 9:48 remained in the game.

Georgetown harassed him in both man-to-man looks and its signature zone, constantly running guards Austin Freeman (18 points), Jessie Sapp (10 points) and Wright (five assists) at Vasquez. As a result, Vasquez finished the game with only two points on 1-for-7 shooting and four turnovers, marking his worst scoring night since midway through his freshman season.

“There wasn’t much talking at the end of the game,” said Sapp, referring to Vasquez’s penchant for chatting to the opposition. “It was an emotional game for us, I’m not going to lie. This game was about bragging rights. We know those guys, and we’re friends with them. But not tonight. We didn’t look at them as friends. When they walked on that floor, they became our enemies.”

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Maryland’s poor performance was that the Terps didn’t match the Hoyas’ passion and intensity, a true shocker given the rarity of meetings between the rivals.

“We didn’t play tonight,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose Terps face Michigan on Wednesday at Comcast Center in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. “I’ll take responsibility. We weren’t ready to play. I thought we looked slow. We weren’t aggressive. We weren’t talking. Against a good team, you pay the price for that. It’s very disappointing.”

The Terps have struggled at times on offense this season. But as always under Williams, their frenetic defense had been the one constant. Not against the Hoyas.

Just three days removed from Maryland’s smothering performance against No. 5 Michigan State in an 80-62 victory, Georgetown’s offense had few issues with the Terps’ patented pressure; the Hoyas committed the bulk of their 16 turnovers in garbage time. And any shot at any time seemed available to Georgetown, which ran its motion offense to perfection, shooting 52 percent en route to building a 38-20 lead at halftime.

Mitchellville’s Freeman led the Hoyas in scoring from his swingman spot, but Baltimore native DaJuan Summers (14 points) was equally impressive. After sitting out the bulk of the first-half fun in foul trouble, Summers erupted out of intermission. The 6-9 junior scored seven points in the first four minutes of the second half, raining down consecutive 3-pointers at one point and doing all of his scoring damage in only 17 minutes of playing time.

“I think our team improved this week,” Thompson said of Georgetown’s 2-1 experience at Disney World. “I think we learned from the [90-78] loss to Tennessee. I think that showed today. I think we took steps toward learning how to grind out wins.”

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