Hoyas Play Board Games with W.Va. Georgetown Outrebounds the Mountaineers, 49-25
Davis, Barker, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
West Virginia showed up to face ninth-ranked Georgetown last night with one very clear goal - stop Allen Iverson.
Although the Mountaineers coerced Iverson into one of his less productive outings and capitalized on an uninspired Georgetown defense, the Hoyas still thrashed the Mountaineers 91-67 before a sedate crowd of 14,303 at USAir Arena.
So much for conference parity.
The Hoyas next face another Big East newcomer, Notre Dame, on Saturday in Landover.
"Iverson is just a great player," West Virginia coach Gale Catlett said. "He went for 39 against St. John's the other night, and so we came into tonight's game with one thing in mind - we had some things rigged up to make sure he didn't get 39 against us."
West Virginia (8-10, 3-7 Big East), which took Georgetown to overtime in Morgantown on Dec. 2 before losing 86-83 in its Big East debut, held Iverson (18 points, eight assists, four steals) scoreless for the game's first 12 minutes. The Mountaineers actually led 8-0 at the 16:56 mark of the first half.
West Virginia point guard Cyrus Jones (Baltimore Dunbar High School) glued himself to Iverson's hip, holding the 6-foot sophomore from Hampton, Va., practically silent before tiring midway through the second half. Most of Iverson's points came well after the game had been decided.
The real difference was the Hoyas frontcourt. Georgetown (18-3, 8-2) had too much underneath for the Mountaineers, who sorely missed sophomore power forward Gordon Malone, suspended indefinitely last week for violating team rules.
With Malone unavailable and starting center Sandro Varejao benched for most of the second half with four fouls, Georgetown hammered West Virginia on the boards (49-25), receiving solid performances from Othella Harrington (12 points, eight rebounds), Jerome Williams (10 points, nine rebounds) and Ya-Ya Dia (eight points, eight rebounds).
"They really missed the big boy . . . Malone," Georgetown coach John Thompson said. "That was the difference between this game and the last. He's an athletic, big guy, and it hurts to lose a kid like that."
But Georgetown's second-half dominance was a far cry from its first-half performance. Georgetown started this game like it finished last Saturday's 83-72 loss at St. John's - sluggishly. The Hoyas spent the entire first half playing lazy transition defense and awkward halfcourt offense.
"I felt that we were doing a lot of standing around," said Thompson of the Hoyas' slow start. "We looked a little listless. That happens sometimes after you lose a ballgame that you think you should've won."
Despite Iverson's slow start and the poor defensive showing, the Hoyas still built a 35-30 halftime lead, largely due to some poor Mountaineer marksmanship; West Virginia shot 39 percent for the half and didn't manage a basket from outside the paint until the 10:42 mark of the second half. …