John Thompson didn't sound like a man whose bubble could be about to burst.
The Georgetown coach was downright upbeat on Monday night after his Hoyas lost their fourth of five, 68-58 to No. 17 St. John's.They didn't shoot well (19-for-50), but that's not exactly news as the Hoyas are at 41 percent for the season with only three games all year where they shot better than 50 percent.
Alonzo Mourning had a foul-plagued six points with his only field goal in five attempts coming with five seconds to play. That was unexpected since the junior forward had seemed to shake off a woeful two games against Connecticut and Seton Hall with strong outings against Pittsburgh and Connecticut.
The second Connecticut game was a 20-point, 13-rebound effort for Mourning and the only win of late for Georgetown (16-10, 8-7). Mourning has gone from the solid choice to anchor any all-star team to a player who is suddenly having to prove his way back onto All-America teams and NBA lottery lists.
"What Patrick was at our school, what anybody of that name is going to be, is a target and that comes with the territory," Thompson said in reference to Ewing, the player whose T-shirt Mourning is still trying to fill. "But if you're not playing that well, that tends to build onto it. But he'll get through it. He'll get through it next year for certain. He'll be free."
That was a reference to Dikembe Mutombo, the 7-foot-2 center big enough to move Mourning to power forward, a position he doesn't want to play. Mutombo's presence could be as big a factor in Mourning's quiet 15.3 and 7.2 averages as the strained left arch which kept him out of nine games. He started the season with four 20-plus outings, including 22 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Duke.
"Zo has tried to do everything we have asked of him this year," Thompson said. "He's worked like heck and just got himself to a point where he's tight about things when they go wrong for him. Physically, he's fine. It's more mentally what happens that gets to him."
Thompson admits it hasn't been easy for the two big men to play together.
"Two thumbs on your right hand makes it stronger, but it doesn't make it function better," he said without pointing fingers.
Thompson has watched his three freshmen starters grow this season, and he's seen them each have good games, although rarely together.