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John Thompson said the problem with the NCAA tournament was the "time between games." He said his Georgetown players could find "nothing to do." He said that's why they were "climbing the walls." Why of course. The West Regional was in tedious little L.A., not some cultural paradise where the Hoyas could visit a library or go to a museum or something. So what did the pent-up Georgetown players do but turn into Dirty Harrys once again and take it out on the opposition. UNLV? Make my night. Pow! 62-48. Dayton? Make my day. Bam! 61-49. The press? Make my career. Acka-acka-acka-acka!
While his Hoyas were romping roughshod through UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, Thompson himself was taking magnum-force aim at published criticism, describing it as "fiction" produced by "herd mentality" and "Johnny-come-latelies." He explained he wasn't some "helluva nut," that he was proud of America's armed services and that he even actually liked some members of the media, invoking the name of his "very, very good friend, Dan Rather" and a certain writer. "Yeah, as a matter of fact, the whole team had dinner at a writer's house out here in Malibu," said Thompson. "Blatty. [ Georgetown graduate] Bill Blatty. Yeah, he's a writer."
If you like terror.
It figures. From Regan (remember The Exorcist?) to Roosevelt. In the West final on Sunday the Hoyas exorcised Roosevelt Chapman from Dayton's attack as effectively as Blatty rid his little girl of all those demons.
In Dayton's three tournament upsets, the 6'4" Chapman had gone for 92 points and had scored 13 of the Flyers' 33 through nine minutes of the second half against Georgetown. Backing in for the basket that would have cut the Hoyas' 38-33 margin to 38-35, Chapman was stripped of the ball by Georgetown's Gene Smith, and the steal was turned into a Hoya meal when Patrick Ewing caught Michael Jackson's alley-oop pass and rammed it home while being fouled. Ewing's three-point play came in the middle of an 11-3 run that wound up with Georgetown leading 45-33. Chapman didn't score again, and the Flyers spent the balance of the game being traumatized by Ewing (15 points, seven rebounds, three blocks)—"frightening, very mammoth, an octopus," said Chapman—and by some rough stuff from Michael (Crack 'Em) Graham.
One of these was vintage Bobo Brazil, Graham following his own dunk with a whirlybird, pile-driver body slam of Dayton's Sedric Toney. "Bizarre, uncalled-for, a dirty player," said Toney. "There's such a thing as playing dirty, but when he's deliberately trying to hurt me, that's different."
Ewing began taking command of the regional on Friday night shortly after the Georgetown- UNLV first half, from which the Hoyas had escaped with a 22-21 lead. This was Georgetown's third stinko half of the tournament, reason enough for the frustration displayed by Jackson while going for a loose ball early in the game. A bantam at 6'1" and 172 pounds and normally the Hoyas' most pleasant fellow, Jackson delivered a nasty push to the Rebels' Eric Booker. Immediately the two woofed and tweeted nose to nose, following which Booker reached out and, as if lip-synching the lyrics to Beat It, gave Jackson a nasty push back. No harm, only a technical foul on Booker. After that Georgetown roared to a 13-5 lead, but then a funny thing happened. Over the next 10:34, Georgetown missed 10 shots and made six turnovers, while the Rebels played savage defense and scored 16 points to the Hoyas' paltry two free throws. Now UNLV led 21-15. With possession. Less than three minutes to intermission. Time to hold the ball and draw Georgetown out of its zone, right? Wrong. Hark the Tark. " Ewing was on the bench [with two fouls]," said coach Jerry Tarkanian. "I want to play with Ewing on the bench, not hold back. Anyway, Georgetown guards us tougher in man defense than in zone."
Which is what happened. But not before Vegas ruined a fine 17-minute first-half effort by rushing up some iron-clanging 20-footers and allowing the Hoyas to score seven straight points to regain the lead. Still, Thompson was angry while crossing the floor, flinging his trusty shoulder towel over the lens of a TV minicam whose operator was trying to obtain a closeup of him.
In the locker room Ewing said, "Look, I can eat my man up. He's overplaying. I can beat him to the shot." "Him" would be John Flowers. In Vegas' two-point overtime loss to Georgetown last December, J.C. transfers Ed Catchings and Richie Adams had combined for 25 points while transfer Rowers had nobly challenged Ewing. ("I love transfers," says Tarkanian. "Their cars are already paid for.") But now Ewing transformed the transfers, Flowers turning into tulips and daffodils. As the 7-foot Ewing leaped, swatted, deflected and discouraged trespassing at the defensive end, Georgetown's Reggie Williams, Bill Martin and Horace Broadnax took care of the offense with 19 second-half points. Horace Who-ax? Well, Broadnax is merely the Hoyas' fifth guard, a sophomore who scored nine points in 17 second-half minutes, including the jumper that got the Hoyas winging on a 10-2 spurt at the outset of the period. If that didn't end matters, surely the lob from Jackson to Ewing with 10:28 remaining did. Jackson's pass became a thundering, pavilion-rattling two-hand slam by Ewing.
This devastating jam left Georgetown with a 39-29 lead and convinced Tarkanian that doom was nigh. He had said the Rebs would have to play "over our heads," but that's precisely the territory Ewing controlled with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. "Patrick's the best I've ever played against," said Tark.