Hollis Thompson, Georgetown increase UConn's woes

WASHINGTON -- One game later, Georgetown's defense was back.

Of course, it helped that Connecticut was having its worst offensive night since the last millennium.

The 14th-ranked Hoyas held the Huskies to 30 percent shooting Wednesday night in a 58-44 win, UConn's fourth straight loss and a nice bounce-back for Georgetown after a bad loss at Pittsburgh.

"We did respond really well," said Jason Clark, who scored 11 points for the Hoyas. "We know what we did wrong in the game to lose at Pitt. We didn't want the same thing to happen."

Coach John Thompson III had called the defensive performance "awful" after Pitt shot 52 percent, the best by a Georgetown opponent this season. It's not often a team can improve in that category by 22 percentage points in one game.

"Just because you know what they're going to do doesn't mean you're going to stop it," Thompson said. "We were fortunate enough that we knew what they were going to do, and were successful in slowing them down just a little bit today."

But Georgetown (17-4, 7-3) happened upon Connecticut at a good time. The Huskies (14-7, 4-5) are slumping badly. The 44 points were their fewest since a 59-42 loss to Syracuse on Feb. 1, 1999. The shooting percentage hadn't been as low since a 23.8 percent effort against Syracuse on Feb. 8, 1997.

"Right now," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said, "we're stuck in mud. And our wheels are spinning, particularly offensively."

The numbers tell only part of the story. The Huskies look like a team that's lost some focus. They were gambling on defense when they didn't need to. Shabazz Napier, who's out of a starting job, is 0 for 16 from the field in his last two games, and his body language shows it.

"I'm going to keep pushing them. We're going to keep pushing," Calhoun said. "Tomorrow (practice) is going to be longer. We're going to go after them. We're going to find people who want to do what they can do. We're not the most talented team in America. ... What I don't like to see is people mentally not stay in the task at hand."

Hollis Thompson regained his shooting touch to lead Georgetown with 18 points and nine rebounds. The Big East's top 3-point shooter went 3 for 7 behind the arc, matching the number of 3s from his last three games combined.

Henry Sims added 13 points for the Hoyas, who led by 10 points at halftime and didn't allow the Huskies to get closer than six the rest of the way.

Even a shake-up in the lineup didn't help the Huskies. After scoring 48 points against Notre Dame on Sunday, Calhoun started freshman Ryan Boatright and sophomore Roscoe Smith in place of Napier and Alex Oriakhi. Calhoun was hoping for more quickness and speed, but the Huskies didn't score any fast-break points in the first half and had only four for the game.

Boatright went scoreless, and Smith finished with just two points. Oriakhi came off the bench to commit three of UConn's six first-half turnovers.

The usually reliable Jeremy Lamb had a tough game, shooting 1 for 9 at in the first half and 4 for 18 for the game to finish with 14 points.

The spark for the Huskies was provided by freshman Andre Drummond, who had 18 points and was unstoppable for the first 4 minutes. He dominated the paint for eight quick points to give UConn a 13-7 lead.

Then the Huskies went cold, missing 13 straight shots and 17 of 18. Georgetown took advantage, albeit slowly, meandering its way through a 24-8 run that really didn't get going until the final minutes of the half. A layup and a 3-pointer from Thompson, and a jumper and a layup from Sims helped put the Hoyas up 31-21 at halftime.

"Our offense started out great," Calhoun said, "and ended up very poor."

Thompson's 3-pointer gave Georgetown a 13-point lead early in the second half, and only then did UConn start to show signs of an organized offense. Dunks by Drummond and Lamb and a layup by Drummond off an alley-oop pass cut the lead to eight.

DeAndre Daniels' driving layup made it 45-39 with 7:43 to play, but that was as close as the Huskies would get in the second half. Georgetown responded with a 10-2 run led by Clark and Sims.

"We had people who felt down nine with 12 to go, the game's over," Calhoun said. "So they're going to gamble. Bang! You're not down nine anymore; you're down 11."

The play that probably served most to restore Georgetown's momentum was a driving dunk by Sims over Lamb, giving the Hoyas a 12-point lead with 5:43 remaining.

"Everybody was just like -- Whoa! -- on his head," Hollis Thompson said. "It was a great dunk."


Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP