Hoyas too tall an order for Providence


LANDOVER -- There was no safe passage to the Georgetown basket last night. For Providence, there was no such thing as an easy bucket.

Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning, 14 feet of Twin Tower intimidation, saw to that.

When Mutombo and Mourning finished pulverizing Providence for a combined 14 blocked shots, 35 points and 24 rebounds in a 79-65 rout at the Capital Centre, all Friars coach Rick Barnes could do was concede the obvious.

"You look at the score," Barnes said, "and it's no indication of how badly we were beaten."

Here's one indication of how badly the Friars were beaten: the Hoyas went six minutes in the second half without scoring a point, 11 minutes without a field goal, and still they won by 14 points.

Here's another: Providence launched 25 more shots than Georgetown, and made two fewer field goals.

"I don't think people have had a chance to see how good this team can be," Barnes said of the Hoyas (14-6, 6-3 Big East).

That's because Mourning, Georgetown's 6-foot-10 center, has been hobbled by an injured arch that cost him nine games this season. That and the fact the Hoyas were forced to start three freshmen is why they're an un-Hoya-like 20th in the national AP poll.

But the disconcerting news for the rest of the Big East is that Mourning is working his way back into shape, and Georgetown coach John Thompson couldn't ask for better timing.

"This was one of the better games Alonzo has played," Thompson said. "He's geting his game conditioning back. He blocked six shots, so that's coming back, too."

Mourning's line read 15 points, 10 rebounds and six rejections in 28 minutes. On a night when he got his second wind, he passed Paul Tagliabue to move into 14th place among the school's all-time rebounders. Tagliabue, better known as the commissioner of the NFL, is little known for the 584 rebounds he took as a Hoya.

Meanwhile, the other half of the Twin Towers, the 7-2 Mutombo, had 20 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks in 37 minutes. "It was Dikembe's usual game," Thompson decided.

Last night the game was intimidation. When Mutombo started rejecting shots early in the first half, the Friars (13-8, 4-6) took notice. And they had long memories. That much was obvious when Marques Bragg (15 points, 11 rebounds) banged an uncontested dunk off the iron with eight minutes left in the first half. He wasn't the only Friar whose shot was shortened, either.

"It has to have an effect," Barnes said of the intimidation factor.

"They took us out of what we wanted to do. Fourteen blocks is big. You have to give them credit. They play great defense. They're the best [at post defense] and they're only going to get better."

The same applies in the backcourt, where freshman point guard Joey Brown supplied solid perimeter defense and a shooting touch of his own. Brown held the Friars' Eric Murdock, averaging 28.9 points, in check in the first half while the Hoyas got rolling. Murdock scored a season-low seven points in the first half, five against Brown. The Providence sharpshooter got untracked in the second half with 18 points, but it was too little, too late.

In addition to his defense, Brown contributed a season-high 17 points and seven assists.

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