Georgetown Comes to Life; Blowout Begins Early against Michigan

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Byline: Barker Davis, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

After taking an emotional pass on Saturday's opener, the nation's No. 5 team finally showed up at Verizon Center.

Authoring the kind of tip-to-whistle beatdown that left nobody in the building searching for Jeff Green, Georgetown manhandled Michigan 74-52 last night. Looking nothing like the somewhat disinterested bunch that slogged to a 15-point, opening-day win against William & Mary, the Hoyas (2-0) erupted out of the locker room against the young Wolverines (2-1), bolting to a 43-19 halftime lead before cruising to the final margin behind a slew of reserves.

The Hoyas now enjoy a minor break before returning to the court Wednesday at Ball State.

"This was a bit of a mismatch here tonight. ... Georgetown is absolutely terrific," said Michigan coach John Beilein, who lost 71-53 to Georgetown at Verizon Center last season while coaching West Virginia "You just sit there and watch them play and see how beautifully they play this game. ... You've certainly got to admire what you've got right here because I think you're certainly back to sustaining great teams like you were when John Jr was coaching."

In its 68-53 win over William & Mary, Georgetown's offense was halting, its defense sluggish. The only smooth cog against the Tribe was senior All-American center Roy Hibbert, who singlehandedly took over the game down the stretch. Last night's performance was almost the exact opposite.

Shredding Beilein's signature 1-3-1 zone defense with the kind of crisp, dizzying passes that carried last season's squad to the Final Four, the Hoyas earned shot after uncontested shot in the game's opening minutes. With an impressive mix of slashing layups and 3-pointers, the Hoyas stormed to leads of 12-0, 15-2 and 28-7 against the overmatched Wolverines.

That final spurt came courtesy of a new star on the Hilltop as coveted DeMatha recruit Austin Freeman made consecutive 3-pointers to put the Hoyas ahead 26-7 with 12:14 remaining in the first half. In a game in which Georgetown's John Thompson III was able to clear his bench early and experiment with different lineups, Freeman and fellow blue-chip local freshman Chris Wright each scored 10 points.

But the biggest disparity between the opener and last night's game came on the defensive end, where Georgetown smothered a Michigan team that features just one senior contributor and a dual-freshman backcourt of Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady. Last night, Grady scored 16 points and Harris 13.

Employing a stifling man defense in the determining opening minutes, Georgetown refused to allow the Wolverines an uncontested look at the basket. …