WASHINGTON - Jamion Christian was about to walk on the court when he had an urge. Mount St. Mary's was going to play Georgetown, and Christian was excited. He was going against one of the great names in coaching, John Thompson III.
Christian texted a friend to tell him, then went to the floor. Mount St. Mary's was competitive with Georgetown for much of the game, but in the last eight minutes, the Hoyas pulled away for a 72-50 win before 7,467 at the Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon.
"I was just really excited about how our team played for the first 32 minutes," Christian said.
Mount St. Mary's (1-3) trailed by just 34-32 at halftime and was down by just 50-44 with 8 ½ minutes to play, but Georgetown (4-1) ended the game on a 22-6 tear.
The Mount had a rough second half, shooting just 8-for-31 and missing nine of their 10 3-point shots.
"We played really hard. Any time we play a team like Pittsburgh or Georgetown, you've got to try to make it a money game. You've got to make it as ugly as possible," Christian said.
Only one Mountaineer, Rashad Whack, was in double figures. He had 11. Sam Prescott had nine, but he missed 10 of 13 from the field. Julian Norfleet, who entered the game as the Mount's second leading scorer, had just three.
"I definitely believe we can compete with them. The only thing different is that they're longer," Whack said.
Though the Mount has 6-foot-9 Kristijan Krajina and seven-foot Taylor Danaher, their athleticism wasn't a match for Georgetown's pair of 6-foot-8 forwards, Otto Porter and Greg Whittington.
Porter had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Whittington scored 17 and had 11 rebounds.
"Going into the game, I thought we could compete with them and actually win the game," Whack said.
The Mount forced the Hoyas into 11 first-half turnovers before Georgetown righted itself in the second half.
"They're going to have a pretty good year," Hoyas coach John Thompson III predicted.
Thompson's team has had a pretty good week. While MSM hadn't played since a five-point loss at American nine days before, the Hoyas upset No. 13 UCLA on Monday and one night later took No. 1 Indiana to overtime before losing.
It's human nature for a team that's likely to be ranked in the Top 25 next week to let down when they're facing an unknown team without boldface names.
"Yeah, but so what?" Thompson said. "They came out and played extremely aggressive. I don't know if the guys didn't believe the coaches when we told them that was what was going to happen, and we kind of came out going through the motions."
Christian, who's just 30, has looked up to the 46-year-old Thompson for a long time. As an assistant coach at tiny Emory & Henry in Virginia, Christian first met Thompson, who has won 255 more games than him.
"I remember I came up [to Washington] to recruit and Coach Thompson was in the gym, and I remember being enamored by his presence. Since then, he's been nothing but kind to me. You don't always get that from big-name head coaches," Christian said.
He tried to forget all that when the game began.
"I don't think he looked down and said, that's one of the youngest coaches in the country down there," Christian said. "I looked down there and said, we have a chance to beat some of the best."
In the end, the Mount didn't have a chance. They play their third consecutive game in Washington on Monday at George Washington. The Colonials are one of the weaker teams in the Atlantic-10.
"We've got to continue to build," Christian said. "We're getting better every game. This is the start of something really special for our group. You're not just all of a sudden to beat a great team like Georgetown unless you play well in a few games before that."