WASHINGTON (AP)—Georgetown coach John Thompson III usually enters the locker room at halftime with a list of things he wants his players to do better when they get back on the court.
Not on this night. Instead, Thompson told his Hoyas, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
With typically tough defense and a balanced offense paced by 12 points apiece from Roy Hibbert and Jessie Sapp, No. 5 Georgetown raced out to a big early lead and was never challenged in a 74-52 victory over Michigan on Thursday night.
“You can sit there and just watch them play and just see how beautiful they play this game,” first-year Michigan coach John Beilein said. “And maybe our team sat there and watched them play.”
Everyone got into the act early for Georgetown (2-0), which scored the game’s first 12 points and, more remarkably, grabbed the game’s first 11 rebounds.
All of the first-half numbers were rather out of the ordinary, including this unofficial stat: Michigan (2-1) put up five airballs in the opening 20 minutes while falling behind 43-19.
Thompson was pleased by the way his team shared the ball at one end and attacked it at the other, so his talk at the break didn’t consist of the usual fare.
“Usually, I go through and come up with a million different things that we need to do tactically. Not a million, but a few things that we need to change, we need to tweak, we need to adjust,” the coach said. “But that first half, we got what we want. We did a good job of stopping them.”
When Jeremiah Rivers—son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers—made a 3-pointer just under 4 minutes into the game, Georgetown led 12-0. Michigan was 0-for-3 on field-goal attempts plus two turnovers to that point.
It never got better.
The Hoyas hounded an inexperienced Michigan team into shooting under 30 percent at 8-for-27, including 3-for-11 on 3s, in the first half. Michigan finished the game 21-for-57 overall, 37 percent.
“I don’t think people understand how good they are defensively,” Beilein said.
The Wolverines entered shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc, and they led by at least 15 points at halftime in each of their first two games. But those were both at home, and against the Big South Conference’s Radford and the Ivy League’s Brown.
Thursday’s game was a little different—against the Big East’s Georgetown and on the road, no less.
Just ask DeShawn Sims, a sophomore forward who scored a career-high 23 points in Michigan’s season opener against Radford and earned Big Ten player of the week honors.
He missed all four shots he took Thursday and finished with one point.
“We wanted to get out on those guys early,” Sapp said.
His layup pushed Georgetown’s lead to a whopping 28-7 only 8 1/2 minutes in. That run included consecutive 3s by Austin Freeman; the hosts made six of their first eight 3-point tries and finished 10-for-19.
Freeman and another freshman, Chris Wright, each scored 10 points, and Patrick Ewing Jr. contributed six, including the first two baskets of the night after he went scoreless in the team’s opener.
Thompson liked seeing plenty of help for Hibbert, the 7-foot-2 center who was the Big East preseason player of the year. He took a while to get going in Game 2, just as he did in Game 1, but his teammates stepped up, hitting jumper after jumper.
“I love that,” Hibbert said. “We can wear you down from inside or we can wear you down from outside. We’re versatile like that.”