WASHINGTON -- John Thompson III always gets more jittery than usual headed into Georgetown's annual exam week game. The practice schedule is sporadic. Not everyone can attend. The school has a well-deserved reputation for rigorous academics that it wants to protect, even when it comes to the players on its Top 25 basketball team.
It's a perfect week to host a team like Loyola of Maryland from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.The Hoyas (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) didn't need a regular week of preparation to handle the Greyhounds, shooting 78 percent in the first half in a 99-75 victory Saturday."I was extremely nervous coming into this game, just because of exams," Thompson said. "I wasn't sure how sharp we were going to be."No need to worry. The Hoyas (10-1) led by 15 points after 10 minutes and by 23 at halftime. They made 18 of 23 shots in the first half -- and four of the five misses were 3-point attempts. Austin Freeman broke out of a shooting slump to score 14 points. Hollis Thompson also had 14, Henry Sims added 12, and Chris Wright scored 11."School is tough," said Wright, whose scruffy beard gave him the look of someone who hasn't shaved in a week. "As you can see, I don't have no haircut. I've been in the books. It's tough, but it's part of what we've got to do and we have to do it."Such things even out, though, because Loyola has been having exams as well."It looks like Georgetown studied a little harder than we did -- at basketball," Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said. "They came out more prepared for us mentally. ... I thought we may catch them sleeping, to be honest with you, and I think they caught us a little on our heels."Justin Drummond scored 21 points for the Greyhounds (4-6), who shot 29 percent in the first half of a game that reinforced the mammoth gap in talent between a low-level MAAC team and a top-notch Big East program. Loyola is 0-22 all-time against teams ranked in The Associated Press poll, losing all 22 games by double digits.Loyola used to beat Georgetown once in a while, winning nine of 44 games back when the schools met regularly from 1909-74. The series was renewed this season after a 36-year break as part of the Greyhounds' series of games against Jesuit schools; they have already lost to Saint Peter's and Fairfield and have four more on the schedule.The Greyhounds managed to outhustle the Hoyas on the boards -- outrebounding Georgetown 36-31 -- but there were only so many missed shots to grab. Freeman, the preseason Big East player of the year, had shot only 41 percent over his previous three games, but he went 5 for 6 on Saturday before he sat down for good with 13:37 left in the game.Sims went 5 for 5 from the field -- two dunks, two layups and a jump-hook shot. Even with the huge lead, the Hoyas didn't cool off much, shooting 53 percent in the second half to finish at 64 percent for the game.Afterward, not everyone could celebrate. There were more exams to come."We've got a couple of guys who have tests tonight," Thompson said during his postgame news conference, "so let's speed this up."