- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Georgetown has a new starting five. And if yesterday’s exhibition is any indication, that unit opening could well become known as the “Thompson .45.”

John Thompson III pulled the trigger on the inevitable starting lineup change yesterday, replacing senior Patrick Ewing with freshman Austin Freeman. The No. 7 Hoyas (10-1) rewarded their coach by ventilating Fordham with an offensive assault.

In the first 7:20, Georgetown’s starters made 12 of 15 shots on 10 assists, bolting to a 29-8 lead over the Rams (6-6) en route to an 82-55 victory.

“They just made everything they threw up,” Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg said. “We got hit in the mouth and never recovered.”

There’s no doubt that Fordham has struggled despite returning five starters from last season’s 18-12 team. But for 7:20 yesterday, the Hoyas played the kind of hoops that almost qualifies as art.

“We did a fairly good job of moving the ball today,” Thompson said. “Our kids shared the ball. I’ve said over and over again there is no need for anyone on our team to take a bad shot or a contested shot, because the next person you pass the ball to is very competent at putting the ball in the basket.”

That wasn’t always true when Ewing was on the floor. Ewing routinely missed open looks in his 10 games as a starter.

Freeman (12 points), on the other hand, exits the game shooting 60 percent from the field. So, there is no lesser evil to choose from with the starting five of Freeman, Jon Wallace (19 points), Jessie Sapp (11 points, six assists), DaJuan Summers (15 points, nine rebounds) and Roy Hibbert (11 points).

“It makes it fun, because we do have so many options,” Sapp said.

The lineup change appeared to also improve Georgetown’s rebounding. After two atrocious rebounding straight performances, the Hoyas eclipsed the 30-rebound mark (33) for the first time since their Dec. 15 win against visiting Radford. Summers lead the way with a team-high nine rebounds.

“There were several times when you saw DaJuan rise up out there among other guys and grab rebounds with two hands instead of just swatting at the ball,” Thompson said.

Hibbert looked far more composed yesterday than in recent games. His four assists in 18 minutes are a testament to his comfort level amid the opening flurry.

Freeman once again belied his age with his fourth double-digit scoring performance in the team’s last five games.

Wallace buried his first two 3-point attempts during the opening onslaught to pass Kevin Braswell and become the program’s all-time leading in 3-pointers with 192.

“Wallace is absolutely terrific,” Whittenburg said. “He runs that team beautifully, and he just does not miss. He makes it all go.”

And it was all going on both ends of the floor for Georgetown yesterday.

On offense, the ball hardly touched the floor and shots hardly touched the rim. And on defense, Fordham was afforded few open looks and fewer second-chance attempts, finishing just 18 of 66 from the floor.

Yesterday at Verizon Center


Georgetown senior Jonathan Wallace became the program’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (192).

“It’s a blessing to have that record at Georgetown,” Wallace said. “A lot of good shooters have come through here, with [Allen] Iverson, Kevin Braswell and Dwayne Bryant. [Bryant] talked to me before and said ‘You’re never going to break that record,’ but it finally happened and I’m thankful for it.”

• Speaking of 3-pointers, center Roy Hibbert made the first 3-pointer of his career on his first attempt, bringing the crowd to its feet.

“It’s not a surprise,” coach John Thompson III said. “Now, we’re not going to be running screens to free him up out top, but it’s a shot that he can consistently make. And if people back off him, then it’s a shot he can consistently take.”

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