Family bragging rights will be on the line Monday night when John Thompson III and No. 14 Georgetown host brother Ronny Thompson and Ball State.
The siblings—the sons of Hall of Famer John Thompson, the former Hoyas coach—are the second set of brothers currently coaching in Division I along with James Jones of Yale and Joe Jones of Columbia.
John Thompson III is in his third season at Georgetown (3-1), where he is 45-24. The 40-year-old Thompson has previous experience as a head coach, guiding his alma mater Princeton for four years before he took the Hoyas job.
Ronny Thompson, who’s 37, was hired on April 6, 2006 by Ball State (2-3) for his first job as a head coach. He played for his father at Georgetown from 1989-92 and was an assistant at several schools before taking over the Cardinals.
The only previous time the two brothers met in their coaching careers came in the 1999 NIT, when John Thompson III coached Princeton to a 54-47 win over Georgetown, when Ronny was an assistant.
The Hoyas, who have never faced the Cardinals, will travel to Ball State next season as part of the arrangement for this series.
The older Thompson made a bit of an adjustment Wednesday to help Georgetown bounce back from its first loss of the season. He employed a smaller lineup for most of the night, and the Hoyas rallied for a 73-60 victory at Fairfield.
Georgetown, which lost 75-62 to Old Dominion last Sunday, usually employs a big frontcourt of 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert and 6-9 forward Jeff Green for the majority of the game.
Hibbert took just one shot before halftime and finished the game with nine points in 21 minutes. The Hoyas’ leading scorer had averaged 17.0 points through three games.
“I thought we were better smaller today,” Thompson III said. “Once we get experience, I think we can be a multidimensional team. Hopefully we’ll be able to play fast, play slow, be big, be small. I just thought we were better off small today.”
Freshman forward DaJuan Summers was the beneficiary of the change in plans, scoring 17 points in 31 minutes. Summers played a total of 34 minutes in the Hoyas’ first three games and scored seven points.
Ball State has lost three straight after falling twice over the weekend in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Cardinals were defeated 64-46 by No. 10 Kansas on Friday and lost 76-66 to Western Kentucky the next day.
Ball State surrendered the final seven points of the first half Saturday to fall behind 29-21 and was never able to recover.
“We started the game way too flat tonight,” Ronny Thompson said. “We were just too flat, especially on defense which just isn’t how we play. When we were able to cut the lead, we didn’t do the little things that you have to do in a close game.”
The Cardinals have made five of 58 3-pointers (9 percent) over the last three games.