SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP)—Sophomore guard Jason Clark scored a career-high 14 points in Georgetown’s easy win over Savannah State on Saturday. Hoyas coach John Thompson III called it “irrelevant.”
That’s because Thompson figures this is really just the beginning for Clark. If he’s right, this could be a very successful season for the No. 19 Hoyas, who rolled to a 63-44 win.
“The number of points Jason scores is irrelevant,” Thompson said. “He plays great defense and he’s a very unselfish player. He’s at the core of what we’re doing this year. He’s going to have a lot more than 14 as we go along.”
Greg Monroe added 13 points for Georgetown (3-0). Austin Freeman had 12 and Chris Wright added 11 in a game that gave the Hoyas a much-needed breather after they squeaked past Temple 46-45 on Tuesday.
Darius Baugh scored 10 points to lead Savannah State (2-2), which hit only 13 of 48 field goal attempts.
The highlight for Savannah State came when the Tigers shocked the crowd and the Hoyas by jumping out to a 7-0 lead. That prompted Georgetown to call a timeout, and it was all Hoyas the rest of the way.
The first of Clark’s four 3-pointers started a burst that quickly tied the game. A few minutes later, Wright scored seven consecutive points to help open a 10-point lead and the Hoyas led 34-20 at the half.
“That was a good timeout for us,” Thompson said. “Chris had a very good stretch. We settled down after that.”
The second half was more of the same. Monroe, a 6-foot-11 sophomore who was rookie of the year in the Big East last season, scored all seven points in a run that produced the game’s biggest lead, 50-29, with 9:47 left to play.
Still, it was better than last season, when Georgetown hosted the Tigers at the Verizon Center and cruised to a 100-38 victory.
This is the time of year when major programs beef up on opponents that are willing but overmatched. Savannah State is happy to face the Hoyas because coach Horace Broadnax played for the 1984 Georgetown team that won the NCAA championship. That team was coached by John Thompson, father of the Hoyas’ current coach.
“For us to come down here was for Horace as much as anything else,” Thompson said. “He’s Georgetown to us as much as Savannah State.”
Savannah State was the joke of the college basketball world a few years ago, losing all 28 games in 2004-05. Broadnax came on board the following season.
The Tigers, with one of the smallest athletic budgets in the country, have shown steady improvement under Broadnax, compiling a 15-14 record last season.
“This program is going to grow,” Broadnax said. “If we’re going to compete with the Georgetowns of the world, then we’ve got to step it up.”
Savannah State became a Division I program in 2002, playing as an independent with no conference affiliation.
Broadnax took over one of the country’s worst programs, a school that went 9-102 from 2001-05 and once shot 1-for-23 in a half against Kansas.
This was a rare opportunity for Savannah State to host a Top 25 team at 6,000-seat Tiger Arena, which appeared about half full on an afternoon when many college football rivalry games were on TV. The announced attendance was 3,176.