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Georgetown Basketball: January 2002 News Archive

Samnick Out For Season 1/28/02

According to a pre-game announcement before the Syracuse game, junior forward Victor Samnick is out for the season after foot surgery Monday. Also, injured sophomore RaMell Ross has still not begun practice with the team, according to the pre-game notes for the West Virginia game.

Samnick's injury leaves the active roster with nine scholarship players and two walk-ons.

Georgetown 75, Syracuse 60 1/28/02

Just when you thought that they were out...they pull us back in!

Jan. 28--Thought by many to be on NCAA tournament life support, the Georgetown Hoyas thoroughly dominated the #10 Syracuse Orangemen 75-60, before a national TV audience and 14,889 at MCI Center. In six previous games against top 20 opponents this season, the Hoyas were 0-6, but took apart the Orange inside for its first win over a top 10 team since... well, since the Hoyas beat Syracuse on this same MCI floor on Feb. 24, 2001.

The first half was a struggle for both teams. Georgetown shot 36% in the half, while Syracuse's Preston Shumpert was only 1 for 5. A Tony Bethel three pointer broke a 25-25 tie, and a late three by Kevin Braswell gave the Hoyas a 37-30 lead at the half. Shumpert was bothered by an abrasion to his cornea and played only 19 minutes, only one minute in the second half.

"The first half, it was pretty bad," Shumpert told the Syracuse Daily Orange on the eye problem. "The second half, it just wasn't there. I can't play if I can't keep my eyes open. It's almost like your eyes work together. For you to have one eye closed and one eye open, it's impossible."

Georgetown got its offense going early in the second and the Orangemen had no answers for Mike Sweetney (18 points, 13 rebounds) inside. Time and again, Georgetown fed the ball inside, and the Orangemen could do nothing more than sending Sweetney to the line, where he responded by a 10-11 clinic at the line. (In his last four games, Sweetney is 41 for 47 (87 percent) from the line.

Early Syracuse fouls and lots of free throws powered GU to a 47-34 lead in the first five minutes of the half. Time and time again, the Hoyas pounded inside, owning 22 offensive rebounds and shooting 25 free throws. With superb defense, Syracuse had no consistent scoring options, missed 10 of 12 three point shots, and trailed by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Ironically, both teams shot 25 field goals--but the G-men were 25-33 from the line versus only 8-18 for their opponents. At one point, Syracuse was only 2 of 10 from the foul line.

Mike Sweetney led all scorers with 18, followed by Kevin Braswell with 16, Harvey Thomas with 14, and Tony Bethel with 14. The key stat was rebounding--Georgetown outrebounded Syracuse 47-22.

Here are the post game recaps:

Sweetney: I'll Be Back 1/28/02

For those who missed it, sophomore Mike Sweetney said that he is "definitely coming back to school next year", ending any rumors about an early run at the NBA. The story is found in this link to Barker Davis' weekend column for the Washington Times.

Pittsburgh 67, Georgetown 56 1/27/02

Employing a visible slow-down strategy in the second half, Pittsburgh's Panthers pulled away in the second half to a 67-56 win at Fitzgerald Field House.

Georgetown opened the game with a strong outside shooting effort. The Hoyas connected on five three pointers, including three from Tony Bethel and led by as many as ten at 27-17. Much as was the case last week versus the Panthers, Pitt went on a run to tie the game at 29-all with 3:56 to play. Struggling with early foul troubles (three fouls on Harvey Thomas, two each on Kevin Braswell, Drew Hall, and Tony Bethel), the Hoyas kept things close and led at the half, 35-33.

After shooting a 58 percent in the first half, the Panther defense shut down the Hoyas early in the second. Pitt employed a slow down offensive strategy that froze the ball until the last ten seconds of the possession, and with a respectable 41 percent shooting effort in the second half, began to put points on the board. Georgetown could not say the same. As Mike Sweetney was double and triple teamed, rendering him ineffective, the Hoyas went on a shooting clinic not seen since the 1st round of last year's Big East tournament. By the time the outcome was in hand, Georgetown managed three field goals in the first eighteen minutes of the second half, and missed 22 of 27 shots, 14 of which were from three point range.

Mike Sweetney was held to one field goal and finished with six points. Tony Bethel scored a career high 20 points for the Hoyas.

Here's a quick recap to illustrate the cold shooting:

1st half 2nd Half
Georgetown FG: 14-24 (58%) 5-27 (19%)
Georgetown 3FG 5-8 (62%) 2-16 (13%)
Pitt FG 14-29 (48%) 9-22 (41%)
Pitt 3 FG: 1-5 (20%) 5-11 (45%)

And another quick stat: In the last two games Georgetown has won, its bench averaged 23 points per game. Today? A total of five points in 39 minutes of action.

Needless to say, the next three home games will tell the course of the season.

Game recaps follow below. The Washington Times did not post Barker Davis' story on its web site Sunday.

Alumnus of '43 Final Four Team Dies 1/21/02

Dr. Vincent (Lane) O'Donnell, a member of Georgetown's 1943 Final Four team, died Monday at the age of 78. An obituary is found at this link to the Washington Post.

O'Donnell was a two sport letterman at Washington's Gonzaga College HS and played one year on the Georgetown varsity during the Hoyas' Final Four run. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown, served in the Air Force, and practiced medicine in Bethesda from 1951 to 1986.

Georgetown 83, Notre Dame 7 1/21/02

Five players scored in double figures as the Georgetown Hoyas put together a solid effort on both sides of the ball, resulting in an 83-73 win at Notre Dame Monday.

With Notre Dame's Harold Swanagan sitting due to injury, the Hoyas went to an inside strategy right from the start. The result was a resurgent Wesley Wilson able to assert himself down low, while Mike Sweetney had no peer inside. Sweetney had a double-double in the first eleven minutes of the game, and finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. The front line contributed 17 of Georgetown's first 22 points as the Hoyas took a ten point lead, 22-12. Defensively, the Irish missed nine straight shots as the Hoyas built a 41-24 lead with 3:54 to play in the first half. Then, much as it did against Pitt, the Hoyas' offense cooled, scoring one field goal into intermission while Notre Dame closed the lead to 44-33.

The drought continued into the second half, with the Hoyas' first basket coming two minutes into the half. The lead hung around the 10-11 point margin early in the half, which grew to 14 on a Gerald Riley 3 as the shot clock was about to expire, 59-45. With 8:25 to play, Georgetown had extended its lead to 70-52, but the lead was soon to be tested.

Notre Dame began to chip away at the lead as Georgetown struggled through some poor decisions. With 6:04 to play, Kevin Braswell's inbound pass was thrown to nobody, whereupon ND raced down the court and was fouled on the shot. With 2:29 to play, the lead was down to nine at 72-63, and further damage was averted on a big tip-in by Gerald Riley.

The final minutes became a free throw shooting contest. After missing only one free throw for the first 37 minutes, the Hoyas missed five of six down the stretch, and the lead shrank to 77-70 with 1:02 to play. After a presumed non-call off a missed free throw, ND coach Mike Brey was called on a technical foul (the first of his ND career), and additional free throws soon extended the Georgetown lead to 11 at 81-70. The lead looked safe... until Gerald Riley fouled ND's Chris Thomas on a three point attempt with :35 to play.

The Irish closed to 81-73, but Tony Bethel sealed the verdict with two free throws to close out the scoring. A final Irish three sailed wide, and the Hoyas ran out the clock.

The win was a true team effort. In addition to Sweetney's efforts, Wesley Wilson played very well, while bench contributions from Courtland Freeman and Harvey Thomas gave Georgetown a consistent defensive pressure throughout. Freshman Tony Bethel, defending ND star freshman Chris Thomas, played a solid defensive game. And after collecting a season low 27 rebounds on Saturday versus Pittsburgh, the Hoyas out rebounded the Irish 54-41.

In a series which has seen the road team win the last five, the Hoyas have improbably evened its Big East record to 3-3 and earned its 12th win of the season. For Notre Dame, it's the first three game home losing streak in eight seasons.

Game recaps follow below.

Pittsburgh 68, Georgetown 67 1/19/02

Little things mean a lot.

For Georgetown, an exciting 16 point comeback in the last eight minutes came down to needing one defensive rebound or one last second shot, neither of which came to pass. A one point lead fell away with a Pitt rebound, while a game winning Georgetown shot that rattled the rim. Each allowed Pittsburgh to escape with a 68-67 win at MCI Center Saturday before 8,589. The win came one day short of one year since Pitt ended Georgetown's 16 game win streak with a 70-66 win at MCI Center.

The game was a series of streaks between the conference's #1 offense and the conference's (and nation's) #1 defense. With good inside play early, Georgetown erased a 19-10 deficit and led 32-21 entering the last two minutes of the half. The Panthers managed a field goal and six free throws down the stretch, cutting the lead to 32-29 at the break.

Pitt's move to a smaller lineup and a rare zone defense caused lots of problems for the Hoyas in the second half. Pitt guard Julius Page, who has a growing library of highlight reel performances against the G-men, sparked a run that saw Pitt go up 59-43 midway through the half. To their credit, Georgetown slowly and methodically chipped away at the deficit, and took the lead 67-66 on a free throw by Mike Sweetney. Although the crowd groaned when Sweetney missed on one of the two shots, he had hit 13 straight in the half heading into the final two free throws.

On Pitt's last possession, down one, the Hoyas held Brandin Knight to a long three point shot which sailed left, but forward Jaron Brown snuck past Gerald Riley, caught the errant shot and laid it in with under seven seconds left. A minute earlier, Brown missed two free throws shot against the backdrop of the Georgetown student section.

Racing down the floor with about four seconds left, Kevin Braswell passed the ball off to freshman Drew Hall, whose three pointer rattled the rim but bounced wide. "Drew was wide open on the left," said Braswell, known for taking his share of last minute shots. "It was a good shot. The ball went all the way down and came up. I'll live with that."

For the Hoyas, Mike Sweetney continues to play strongly, with 24 points and 16-18 (89 percent) from the line). Tony Bethel added 14, but Kevin Braswell was 3-13, Gerald Riley 2-8, and Wesley Wilson played only nine minutes without a rebound. In his last five games, the 6-11 Wilson has totaled six rebounds. Overall, the Hoyas were out rebounded throughout the game, and one when it mattered most. Overall, no player collected more than four boards, the team collected only five offensive rebounds, and the Hoyas were out rebounded as a team for the fifth time in the last seven games. In those five games the Hoyas are 1-4.

This wasn't an "embarrassment game" by any measure, however, Pitt (16-3) is the best defensive team in the nation, and Georgetown's shooting percentage (36 percent) was right at the average for the Panthers' opponents this season. Georgetown committed only 11 turnovers and with its comeback run, put the Hoyas right where they wanted to be--with a chance to win.

The loss has put the Hoyas squarely in the lower half of the conference standings, and a third home court loss sets an ominous course for the Hoyas through the thick of the Big East race. No Georgetown team with more than three home court losses in a season has made the NCAA tournament that year.

Game Recaps:

As Kevin Braswell goes, so go the Hoyas. A brief case in point:

  • In Georgetown's wins over South Carolina, BC, and Seton Hall, Braswell shoots 52% from the field and averaged only 11 attempts per game. During those games, 24% of his attempts per game coming from three point range, with a success rate of 38% shooting.
  • In Georgetown's six losses, Braswell shoots 31% from the field and averaged 15 attempts per game. During those games, over 50% of his attempts per game came from three point range, averaging 23.9% shooting.
Georgetown 84, Seton Hall 58 1/16/02

In their best home court performance of the year, the Georgetown Hoyas thoroughly dismantled Seton Hall in a 84-58 win Wednesday night at MCI Center.

From an early 12-8 deficit, Mike Sweetney powered the Hoyas to a 10-2 run for a lead Georgetown would not relinquish. The Hoyas led by as many as 12 in the first half and nine at intermission. The Pirates played well early but could not shoot from outside, shooting 1 for 10 from three point range in the first half.

The Hoyas opened with two quick baskets to open the half and the Pirates had no answer. Runs of 16-6 and 10-1 were too much for the Pirates, who found themselves down 31 with 7:50 to play and 29 with 3:54 to play. Georgetown has been known for letting up late in games, but finished with a 28 point win.

The only excitement late in the game was exchanged between Courtland Freeman and Seton Hall's Mauricio Branwell, and both were tossed from the game. Branwell was quoted in the Newark Star Ledger as predicting to "shut down" Mike Sweetney and the Hoyas, but went 0 for 3 from the field and finished with one point overall.

Georgetown was led by Gerald Riley with 16 and Mike Sweetney with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Sweetney was rested much of the second half. In all, five Hoyas scored in double figures, also including Kevin Braswell (14), Harvey Thomas (12), and Wesley Wilson (10).

For Seton Hall, its scoring punch just wasn't there. John Allen led all scorers with 17, but the tandem of Andre Barrett and Darius Lane never got on track. After combining for 41 points against Rutgers last week, Barrett finished with 13 and Lane failed to score.

While the Pirates shot 50 percent from two point range, its three point shooting reached historic lows. Following a 1 for 10 first half effort from three point range, the Hall finished 1 for 17 (5.9%) from three and 36% from the field overall.

Post game recaps follow below:

Georgetown 70, Boston College 43 1/12/02

"This," said BC All-American Troy Bell, "was the most embarrassing game I've ever been a part of in my life".

Four Hoyas scored in double figures as the Hoyas ended a four game losing streak in surprising fashion, dominating the defending Big East champions 70-43 before a sold out crowd at Conte Forum. BC's Bell, averaging 24.0 ppg, was held to 4-16 shooting (0-5 from three point range) and a season low eight points.

In its four prior games, Georgetown was prone to starting the game in a slump--not so Saturday. The Hoyas raced out to a 12-3 lead as BC missed 10 of its first 11 shots. The Georgetown defense was keyed by a resurgent Wesley Wilson, with five blocked shots on the game. The Eagles' early hopes were damaged when guard Ryan Sydney (averaging 15.0 ppg) left the game in the first half with a sprained ankle and did not return. The Hoyas led by as many as 13 in the first half and at 11, 37-26, at intermission, thanks to 57% FG shooting compared to just 28% for the Eagles.

Another trouble for the Hoyas in recent games was allowing an opponent to sneak up on them in the second. The Hoyas opened the half on a 12-2 run to get the lead to 49-28, and the Eagles could not close the gap.

Georgetown's offense was crisp throughout the game. Michael Sweetney continues to excel, with 15 points on 6-7 shooting and 11 rebounds. Kevin Braswell turned in a solid effort with 6-12 shooting and seven assists, while Gerald Riley turned in a impressive 13 points on 4-5 shooting and 2-2 from three. Defensively, the Hoyas forced 18 turnovers and held BC (a team averaging seven three pointers a game) to 3-18 from beyond the arc and 24 % shooting overall.

"It didn't surprise me how aggressively we came out. " said Coach Esherick. "I couldn't be more pleased than with the overall effort. I think everybody played well today."

The loss was only the second home setback in nearly two years for the Eagles, both within a week, and the worst home court loss since Conte Forum opened in 1988. For the Hoyas, the 23 point win is the largest margin of victory in conference play since March 3, 1996, a 106-68 rout of Villanova.

Post game recaps follow below:

Rutgers 89, Georgetown 87 (OT) 1/5/02

This one almost defies description.

Shooting 49% from the field, 77% from the line, and 55% from three point range, the Georgetown Hoyas self destructed three times in a two hour period to lose in overtime to Rutgers, 89-87.

Key moments of the game were the following:

  • After building an 18 point lead midway in the first half, Georgetown scores two baskets in the final four minutes of the half, as Rutgers cut the lead to eight at the half with a full court press that GU could not navigate most of the game.
  • With 5:30 to play, RU's leading scorer Rashod Kent fouls out with Georgetown up 76-67. Georgetown proceeds to make no baskets, add four free throws, and commit multiple turnovers down the stretch, as Rutgers tied the game and sent it into overtime. Had it not been for some abysmal free throw shooting by RU during the game, it would have never made it into the extra period.
  • Georgetown roars out of the OT period and leads 85-80 in the first 1:10 of OT, then proceeds to allow Rutgers back in and take the lead late. The game effectively ends where Victor Samnick fails to see Mike Sweetney under the basket and launches his own errant shot.

Post game recaps:

Miami 79, Georgetown 71 1/2/02

For the third straight game, the Georgetown Hoyas seem to arrive an hour after their opponents, allowing Miami a comfortable lead it would not relinquish, 79-71, before a estimate of 6,589 at MCI Center. The Hurricanes have won 14 straight and ascendant in the polls; Georgetown has dropped out of the national rankings and are now 1-4 against teams ranked in the top half of Division I.

"The game had a ragged beginning in an atmosphere void of energy", wrote the Associated Press on the 6 pm start, which featured no students, no band, no cheerleaders, and not much to cheer about. From a close start at 10-9, Miami took a page out of the UCLA playbook and began to hit from outside, including four early threes that extended its lead to 12 by halftime. For its part, Georgetown went scoreless for four minutes in the half and appeared ill at ease in any offensive set. The G-men shot 29% in the first half on 8-27 shooting, and missed 9 of 11 three point attempts.

Coach Esherick's words at halftime appeared to stir the Hoyas, because the second half showed a much more organized and patient Georgetown team. Miami was held to 35% shooting while Mike Sweetney hit five straight baskets in a stretch that saw the Hoyas close in on the Hurricanes. The Hoyas closed to 48-46 at the 12 minute mark and tied the score at 48 soon thereafter, then watched Darius Rice sink his only two three pointers of the night to build the lead back to 56-50. At 4:30 to play, Georgetown tied it at 66-all, whereupon Kevin Braswell shot an ill-advised three pointer that saw the lead revert to 73-68. A Gerald Riley three pointer closed the game to 73-71 with 1:58 to play, but on the next series Braswell pushed the ball inside and failed to connect down low. Miami scored its last six points from the line to collect the win, their fifth in the last six against Georgetown.

Mike Sweetney turned in another outstanding performance for the Blue and Gray, with 25 points on 10-15 shooting. "We've got to give Mike a little help," said Coach Esherick, but the Hoyas continue to be a car on three wheels. Inside, Wesley Wilson scored just one field goal and one rebound in 18 minutes of action. Courtland Freeman came off the bench for 10 rebounds, but fouled out with only four points. Outside of Sweetney, no other player stepped to the forefront for 40 minutes.

Miami's 10 three pointers matches the count by by UCLA just four days earlier. Maybe that's the most troubling thing watching these recent games. Fans have grown used to awful three point shooting and wild game swings. But when Georgetown's trademark defense becomes an easy mark for opponents, it's a matter of pride. Not for coaches or alumni or even fans, but for the players. At least it should be.

Here are post-game links:


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