Georgetown Basketball: February 2002 News Archive
a href="http://espn.go.com/ncb/s/2002/0226/1341116.html">ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported Tuesday that Georgetown assistant Ronny Thompson has interviewed for the West Virginia coaching position being vacated by the retirement of Gale Catlett this spring. Cincinnati's Bob Huggins, an alumnus of WVU, is thought to be the leading candidate if available. The Morgantown Dominion-Post reported that John Thompson was rumored to be interested, but the ESPN story appears to be more solid.
""I definitely think I'm ready," Thompson told the Washington Post.
Five players scored in double figures as Georgetown overcame a sluggish first half to defeat West Virginia 87-77 Wednesday night. Mike Sweetney's 21 points, and 17 rebounds was one of many Hoya weapons that proved too much for the outmanned Mountaineers, earning Georgetown a much needed win heading into the regular season finale Saturday.
The Hoyas led throughout the game and were their own worst enemy at times. Georgetown opened the game missing 12 of its first 16 shots and allowed the outmanned Mountaineers a chance to hang around. WV closed to within one at 29-28 but could not take the lead, as Georgetown steered clear of getting the small crowd into the game and took a 36-33 lead at the half.
West Virginia closed to within two at 42-40 and missed a pair of shots to tie the game. From then, the Hoyas went on a 12-2 run to lead 54-42, and the lead grew to as many as 20 at 83-63 before the Mountaineers picked up some late baskets.
Much of the second half then resembled a Kenner League game, with long outlet passes, dunks, turnovers, and wide open basketball. This contributed to a discouraging 52-46 rebounding edge for the smaller Mountaineers, but the Hoyas' seven three pointers helped avoid any WVU run late in the game.
WVU senior Chris Moss led his team with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while highly touted freshman Jonathan Hargett struggled mightily for the second straight game against GU with 2-11 shooting. The WV team gave it a good game, but could not overcome untimely shooting when it counted. Had WVU been able to take the lead early in the second, the game would have been more exciting, but in the end the team didn't have enough to hang on down the stretch.
After suspensions to Tim Lyles and Lionel Armstead earlier in the year, center Chris Garnett met a similar fate on Wednesday, leaving the Mountaineers thin in the middle. The inside combination of Sweetney and Wilson had little opposition underneath, with Sweetney and Wilson each scoring on 67 percent of their attempts. Kevin Braswell got the ball inside, and took home a season high 12 assists. Gerald Riley contributed some solid second half play, and while freshmen Tony Bethel and Drew Hall did not shoot particularly well (6 for 19), their defense was solid in frustrating the West Virginia backcourt.
The Mountaineers needed all the help they could get in the second half. As noted by the Charleston Gazette, things got so bad for West Virginia that interim coach Drew Catlett played sophomore guard Tobias Seldon, who had been sitting most of the season en route to a medical redshirt year. Seldon's redshirt is gone after playing seven minutes Wednesday night. Coach Gale Catlett, who retired at mid season but is still the coach of record, did not attend his final home game after 24 years at the school.
The loss was the 17th in the last 18 games for a West Virginia program (8-19, 1-14 Big East) that has won once game since December 28. WVU will end its worst season since 1943-44 Saturday in the final game for Pitt's Fitzgerald Field House. (Because they are in last place, the Mountaineers will not be invited to next week's Big East tournament.)
Post-game recaps follow below:
The Jim Boeheim Court is officially...open. But not they way 29,215 had in mind.
The most unpredictable team in college basketball has done it again, as the Georgetown Hoyas held off three second half runs and upset the #25-ranked Syracuse Orangemen 75-69. The win was the fourth in the last five games by the Hoyas against the Orange, and marks the first season sweep by the G-men over the Saltine Warriors since 1987-88.
Syracuse started each half with a odd combination of poor shooting and good rebounding, allowing Georgetown to build a small but not insurmountable lead. For the first half, the Hoyas led 14-8 and 26-19 despite the fact that Syracuse held an 11-0 run on the offensive boards. The Orangemen closed to 26-25 until the Hoyas weathered some last minute jitters with a Kevin Braswell jumper that gave the Hoyas a 35-30 halftime lead. Georgetown shot 56% for the half to Syracuse's 32%, including 80% from the foul line.
The second half intensity picked up after a stretch where Syracuse went four minutes without a field goal and the hoyas extended its lead to 45-38 with 11:15 to play. Syracuse's offense wore into the GU lead and held its own brief lead at 51-49 with 7:02 to play, whereupon the Hoyas answered with a Braswell jumper and a Gerald Riley three pointer at 5:56, the first of two huge plays from Riley in the game.
A number of turning points in the game followed. With the Hoyas leading 58-55 with under 4:00 to play, Syracuse's DeShaun Williams narrowly missed a three pointer that would have tied the game, followed by a clutch three pointer by Braswell to extend the lead to six, 61-55. Syracuse's James Thues scored on back to back threes to close quickly to 63-61 with 2:28 to play.
Leading 65-63 with 1:44 to play, the Hoyas' offense took a turn for the worse when Wesley Wilson missed a shot under the basket and the Orange took possession. The Orangemen were stopped on the next possession and with :58 to play, Gerald Riley hit a huge three point shot to lead 68-63. After two more Braswell free throws, SU answered with a 3 to reduce the lead to 70-66. but failed on a three after freshman Drew Hall missed two free throws. Gerald Riley and Tony Bethel each added two free throws as the clock wore down, and a Syracuse three at the buzzer closed the final margin to six.
The game featured solid games for Riley, Braswell, and the entire team. Mike Sweetney was bottled up inside but finished with his 20th career double-double at 13 points, ten rebounds, along with five assists. Two other items of note: Georgetown had only one player (Gerald Riley) with as many as four fouls and the Hoyas only committed 17 fouls. At the line the Orange made 11 of 17 free throws compared to Georgetown's 23 for 29.
The Hoyas are still on the outside looking in for NCAA hopes, but games like this help make the Syracuse rivalry what it is--the best series in Eastern basketball, no matter if it's at McDonough, MCI, Manley....or the Jim Boeheim Court.
Post-game reports follow:
Win or lose, it's still a big game. Here's a feature from The HOYA with past memories of the signature rivalry in Big East basketball.
Twenty years ago this Wednesday, February 20, 1982, marks a turning point for Georgetown Basketball. Before a raucous 4,620 at 4,200 seat McDonough Gymnasium and a national TV audience, Georgetown set its course for the Final Four with a dominant 63-52 win over #4-ranked Missouri, the first win in a streak that would take the Hoyas to New Orleans and to national respect.
Twenty years later, February 19, 2002, the Georgetown Hoyas took a decided stumble in a season of lost opportunities, with a baffling last minute play that cost the Hoyas a 75-74 loss to Connecticut. The ending not only cost the Hoyas whatever intangible NCAA hopes it enjoyed, but cut the heart out of many fans who have seen just too much this season.
The game followed an eerie pattern of Georgetown's previous losses--a good early start, foul trouble inside, a first half lead shaved at intermission, a good second half lead heading into the final minutes, and a wild scramble at the end. But there were some differences, chief among them a career-low 3 for 13 shooting from forward Mike Sweetney, still looking as if the four-OT game with ND robbed him of his strength. Sweetney managed one field goal in a first half that saw the Hoyas lead by as many as seven, until the winds turned north and UConn, held without a field goal for 5:30 in the half, managed to cut the lead to two at half, 40-38.
The second half saw the Hoyas lead by as many as seven early before the game tightened to a four to six point range. Mike Sweetney picked up his third foul with 17:18 to play but struggled throughout the game, while Wesley Wilson picked up his fourth at 9:54 and his close-in shooting (5-14) was off all night. While the shooting was an unsteady 33% from the field, the ever-steady Georgetown free throw effort faltered throughout the game, missing 12 of 36 attempts. Still, the Hoyas were tied 72-all with under two minutes when things started to unravel. Again.
Leading 71-70 with 1:57 left, Georgetown picked up a foul that allowed UConn to take the lead. Sweetney was fouled on his next possession but made only one of two shots, tying the score.With 1:37 left, UConn went for a game leading field goal that was off and georgetown rebounded the lead. Sending the ball into Sweetney, UConn's Caron Butler forced Sweetney into a bad shot and a huge lost possession. Butler later told the Hartford Courant that "[Sweetney] called for the ball like I was a chump. We played together all summer. He knows I'm not a chump."
On the ensuing possession, Georgetown's guards missed an assignment and let freshman Ben Gordon more than alone, whereupon Gordon hits a three pointer to lead 75-72. The Hoyas closed to one on a pair of Kevin Braswell free throws, and UConn regains possession with 39.7 seconds to play, up one.
Then, in a decision already receiving snickers around the league, Esherick opts not to foul the Huskies and defend for a last possession. The Huskies dutifully oblige, and the Hoyas actually get what they want--a UConn miss and the ball...only that there were now less than four seconds to play. Kevin Braswell races down the floor, not calling timeout, and has one furtive look at the basket, only to pass to Gerald Riley whose shot is well after the buzzer.
The decision gave the Hoyas insufficient time to put together a shot, and given the Hoyas' penchant for ragged last second shots--where it has lost many more than it won this season--it seemed a unlikely way to win the game. At 15-10 (14-10 for RPI purposes, thanks to scheduling Marymount), the Hoyas will be playing for seeding in the conference tournament for the next ten days. In the end, the most important 39 seconds of the game were essentially wagered for a defensive stand and a miracle shot.
That's a gamble, plain and simple. And it came up snake eyes.
In five Big East games this season, Georgetown had a lead or the ball heading into the final play, and has lost them all: Rutgers in OT, Pitt by one, Notre Dame in four OT's, Villanova in one OT, Connecticut, by one. How much different would life be like if the Hoyas were now 17-8, 19-6, or 20-5?
Instead, it's 15-10 with lots of unanswered questions.
Here are post-game articles:
Ask a Washington Redskins fan how it is that no matter the odds or the situation, the Dallas Cowboys seem to find a way to win time and time again in that storied NFL series. Such is the case with the Georgetown Hoyas, which dropped its fourth straight game to Villanova, each by less than six points or in overtime.
Villanova's 83-72 overtime win adds another painful chapter in the story line between these two schools, a game which featured a number of impressive comebacks and a familiar pattern seen last week against Notre Dame--when Mike Sweetney is on, the Hoyas roll forward. When he sits or doesn't get the ball, the Hoyas grind to a halt.
Georgetown opened the game as a victim of tight officiating--Wesley Wilson went to the bench with two fouls in the first 1:58 of the game, while Sweetney picked up two fouls by the 13 minute mark. Without Sweetney or Wilson, a four point Georgetown lead with 9:38 to play began an incredible stretch where the Hoyas (the Big East's second rated offense) went eight minutes without a field goal. The G-men missed 15 straight field goal attempts as Villanova built an 11 point lead. A Harvey Thomas field goal with 0:26 left broke the ice, but the Cats answered with a shot at the buzzer to lead by 11, 31-20. The Hoyas finished 6-28 from the field and 1-12 from three point range.
The second half was much of the same early. Villanova held a 14 point lead at 41-27 before the hoyas began to claw back. As was the case against Notre Dame and Seton Hall, Mike Sweetney led the charge. Georgetown's game plan was to go inside and Sweetney was close to unstoppable inside. Fouled often, Sweetney scored 11 of his game high 31 points at the line, though he was only 11-15 from the line.
The lead slowly narrowed and with 3:34 to play the Hoyas took a lead at 60-59. The Hoyas added two free throws and a Harvey Thomas jumper to lead 64-59, whereupon Villanova scored on its last five second half possessions to claw their way back into contention.
The key play of the game came in the final minute of regulation. At 66-65, a Villanova miss was rebounded and fed to Kevin Braswell, contained in the backcourt. He threw the ball long to Harvey Thomas, who went to the basket instead of passing it back to a trailing Mike Sweetney. Fouled on the play, Thomas went 1 of 2, and the Cats answered with Derrick Snowden driving the length of the court to tie the game at 67 with two seconds to play.
In the overtime, the wheels came off. Villanova scored the first eight points of the period, the G-men missed 14 of 16 attempts, most in desperation, and when Sweetney fouled out with :53 to play, the die was cast.
The Hoyas are now 0-3 in overtime games this year, 1-4 in games settled by less than five points or in OT, have lost three straight OT games to Villanova since 1994, and are 3-11 in overtime games in the regular season since 1992.
More importantly, its 15-9 record and 6-6 conference mark leaves its NCAA hopes are just that--hopes. A win over Connecticut would do well to jump-start those ambitions, but for now, the Hoyas are sitting with Villanova and BC as teams that are just too far out of the race to merit NCAA consideration at this time.
Outside of Sweetney, Georgetown's shooting was at a season low. Gerald Riley shot 0-8, the Bethel and Hall tandem combined for 3-17, and when Kevin Braswell is 3-13, that's trouble. While the Hoyas shot well from the line and committed only 12 turnovers, its late game woes continue. Of its six Big East losses, four came within the final minute.
The recent losses to Villanova have come with various combinations of inspired comebacks and some bad luck:
In an evening that looked more like three games in one, the Georgetown Hoyas drew new life in their uphill climb for an NCAA berth, a hard fought 84-77 win at Seton Hall before 8,624 at the Meadowlands.
In the first ten minutes of the game, the Hoyas roared past the Pirates. Despite some early three point shooting, the Pirates simply couldn't stay with the Hoyas, as Georgetown built a 32-17 lead midway through the first half. Shooting 54% from the field and 6-9 from three point range, the Hoyas looked on their way to a rout when the team hit the "runner's wall" after Saturday's four overtime marathon versus Notre Dame.
Down the final stretch of the first half, the lead dropped from 15 to six as the Hoyas seemed tired and often out of position. GU managed just two field goals down the stretch to lead 43-36 at the half, and continued the slumber as Seton Hall outscored the G-men 26-9 in the first ten minutes of the second half. With Mike Sweetney scoreless from the field, and SHU dominating the boards, the lights were dimming on the Hoyas' post-season aspirations, down 62-52 to a Seton Hall team struggling for a .500 record.
In the last ten minutes, the Hoyas caught a second wind. While Sweetney contained to struggle, he was getting to the line more often, and the Hoyas' free throw shooting was superb. Tony Bethel's play keyed a 10-0 Georgetown run to tie the score, Kevin Braswell controlled the court, and and when Sweetney found Wesley Wilson for a turnaround jumper with :45 to play to lead 78-71, the Hoyas had pulled off the comeback. Wilson scored the final four field goals of the game while Braswell's free throws shooting kept the Pirates out of contention late.
Sweetney managed a season low one field goal but contributed a team-high seven assists, while five Hoyas shared the scoring load with double figures. The Hoyas' first half shooting cooled considerably in the second (10 for 27, 2-8 from three) but the Hoya spirit kept this team alive when they could have easily given up on the game, and perhaps the season.
"I looked at [Sweetney] early tonight, and he looked tired. And I knew how I felt, " said Kevin Braswell in the Washington Times. "My legs were gone with 10 minutes left in the second half. ... We pulled it out because other guys grew up out there tonight."
The key to the Hoyas' comeback was its free throw shooting, which is approaching historic team highs this season. The G-men were 90% (28-31) from the line, and 19 of 21 for the second half. Without the free throws, the game was surely lost. Sweetney and Braswell combined to go 18 of 19 from the line.
Fans also enjoyed another solid game by Wesley Wilson. While still not a consistent defensive presence, Wilson's offensive game is beginning to show the kind of consistency that will be essential for the Hoyas heading down the stretch. Wilson finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Post game recaps follow below:
On February 9, 1907, Georgetown began its basketball history. Ninety-five years later, it made some history, too.
In a game that featured 190 shots, 108 rebounds and 72 free throw shots over four overtimes, Georgetown fell to Notre Dame 116-111 at MCI Center. Each team played inspired basketball and each had more than its share of opportunities to win. In the end, Notre Dame was able to maintain its key players on the floor while Georgetown fouled out four of its starting five. Notre Dame took control in the final minute, but for 59 of those 60 minutes, it was a game with more tosses and turns than anyone could have expected.
Both teams started out crisp in the first half. Georgetown's offensive plan was to punch the ball inside to Mike Sweetney (18 first half points) and Wesley Wilson (10 first half points), both of which were huge. Notre Dame's plan was to shoot well and hit the boards, and they did that as well: at nearly a 60% shooting mark for much of the first half, the Irish led by as many as 12 in the first half, yet the Hoyas parlayed a 7-0 run into intermission to trail 48-43. Of GU's 43 points, 35 came inside the paint.
The game tightened in the second half, and Georgetown tied the score at 61-all with 13:24 to play. A 7-0 ND run extended the lead to seven, 68-61, but the Hoyas fought back to four with 8:00 to play and tied the game on a three pointer by Drew Hall (3-3 from three) and a foul shot with 7:29 to play. From there defense kicked in on both teams, as both teams combined for 3-20 (15% shooting) the rest of regulation, much of them the result of fierce defense on both sides of the ball. GU led late 84-82 when Matt Carroll tied the score late and the Hoyas held off a late rally to force the game into overtime...the first overtime, that is.
The first three overtimes were strikingly similar. ND built an early lead, withstood a GU drive, than forged ahead in the last two minutes, only to see the resilient Hoyas bounce back and tie the score. Then, following a defensive stand, Georgetown held the ball for a final shot. Three times the Hoyas could have closed the door, three times they failed.
In the first OT, Georgetown had the ball with 17 seconds left. Kevin Braswell brought the ball up the court but did not pass the ball, settling for a long shot that rimmed away. In the second, Braswell fared even more poorly, ignoring options in Mike Sweetney and Tony Bethel and launching up a 30 footer that had little chance. In the third OT, Gerald Riley had the ball and a chance to win, but his shot was blocked by Ryan Humphrey and deflected to Kevin Braswell, who sank a 20 footer at the buzzer, only to be waived off for a shot clock violation (the shot clock expired at 0.7 seconds to play).
The Hoyas were beginning to deplete its resources by the 4th OT. Wesley Wilson had fouled out, Courtland Freeman had been injured, and before too long, Gerald Riley and Kevin Braswell followed. Yet the Hoyas led in the fourth OT when the amazing Mike Sweetney fouled out and with it, Notre Dame took the momentum and built its lead for good. By game's end, the rotation of Hall, Bethel, Freeman, Thomas, and Hillier were no match for the Irish, who ascended into a tie for second in the division and won their fifth straight game since falling to Georgetown on Jan. 21.
The loss could not have come at a worse time for the Hoyas, now tied with Rutgers at a distant fourth in the division and with four of its next five on the road. The players gave all that they had, and with it, the loss cannot diminish the efforts of some great individual and team performances.
Chief among those accomplishments was Mike Sweetney, achieving the first "30/20" in GU and Big East history with 35 points, 20 rebounds, six blocks, and six assists. Wesley Wilson turned in a career high 26 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks. Freshman Drew Hall played 46 minutes and collected ten points on 3-3 three point shooting, without a single turnover.
On the other side of the ledger, Kevin Braswell will get much of the blame for the loss. Despite contributing 10 assists and committing no turnovers, his 5 for 19 shooting (including 0-4 from three) were crucial missteps. In Georgetown's last four games, Braswell's scoring has suffered:
FG 3FG Jan. 26 vs. Pitt 3-14 1-8 Jan. 28 vs. Syracuse 6-12 1-3 Feb. 2 vs. W.Virginia 1-5 0-2 Feb. 9 vs. Notre Dame 5-19 0-4 Totals 15-50 2-17 30.0% 11.7%
Gerald Riley (2-9) and Tony Bethel (1-6) also struggled mightily, but it was Braswell who stood in the spotlight and put up two foolish shots when the Hoyas' inside game had no peer on the MCI court. The starting five missed 10 of 11 three point shots, any one of which would have been part of a historic win. Instead, it is soon forgotten.
For the Irish, freshman Chris Thomas was superb: he played all 60 minutes, scored 22 points, 12 assists, and even a blocked shot. Matt Carroll, with five three pointers and 28 points in 54 minutes, was the game's MVP for the Irish.
Perhaps the most disturbing stat can be seen on the boards, where the smaller Irish lineup had their way inside, including 19 offensive rebounds. In the first game between the two teams, GU held a 51-35 advantage; Saturday, ND led 64-54, a Big East record.
But no matter the score, the fans who watched the game saw a true classic. In a game where the two teams were shooting well, rebounding well, and gave up only 13 turnovers each, it was a game that would turn on a dime. Losing Sweetney put the Hoyas in a hole, and when the G-men had their chances earlier, it slipped through their hands.
Whether the Hoyas' NCAA hopes have slipped away as well will be seen in the weeks to come.Here are the records set or broken in Saturday's game:
Most Points Combined/Game 227
Most Rebounds Allowed: 64
Big East Records:
Most Rebounds In A Game, 64
Most Rebounds, Combined, 118
Most Points Combined/Game 227
Most Fouls Combined, 54
The game was the longest game in the NCAA since a seven overtime game between Cincinnati and Bradley in 1981. It was the first four overtime game in Notre Dame history but not for Georgetown, where the Hoyas defeated Spring Hill (AL) 82-75 in January, 1955.
Game recaps follow below.
Freshman Tony Bethel has compiled a solid first year of play for Georgetown. Here's a profile from the Washington Post.
I didn't know he'd be this good. He shocked me," said Kevin Braswell. "And I know he shocked the coaching staff. He's shot really well -- and that's almost unheard of for a freshman."
Horace Broadnax resigned unexpectedly Friday as head coach at Bethune Cookman College. According to a university release, Broadnax is resigning to practice law.
"It's been a decision I have been battling with for over a year," said Broadnax in this link from the Associated Press. "The only regret I have is the timing. I wish I could have finished it out or never started the season. If you can't do your job 100 percent, you hurt a lot of people."
Broadnax was 42-88 in five years at BCC, including 0-5 against his alma mater.
Forwards Gerald Riley and Mike Sweetney combined for 48 points as the Georgetown Hoyas picked up an important home win over West Virginia, 84-77, before 11,279 at MCI Center.
Georgetown owned a significant height advantage and used it throughout the game. As the Mountaineers tried to rough up Sweetney inside, Riley was effective in opening up the offense and helping the Hoyas build a 12 point halftime lead that might have been further extended had it not been for foul trouble on guards Kevin Braswell, Drew Hall, and Tony Bethel with two early fouls each.
Sweetney was close to unstoppable in the second half. As the Hoyas extended its lead to as many as 22. Kevin Braswell sacrificed his own shooting to get the ball to Sweetney, which often resulted in a trip to the foul line, where he collected 11 FT's in 13 attempts. "We could shoot 80 free throws because Mike gets fouled an awful lot," said Coach Esherick. Meanwhile, Riley was effective on both ends of the court, containing his man on defense and scoring a career high 21 points.
For the second straight game, free throws won the game. The Mountaineers scored 33 field goals to Georgetown's 24 and collected six three pointers to Georgetown's three, but free throws were huge. The G-men were 33-42 from the line compared to just 5-6 for WVU.
Georgetown's guard play was not up to its usual standards. Braswell, Bethel, and Hall combined for 3-16 shooting (0-6 from three) as foul trouble reduced their effectiveness.
About the only surprise in the game was the margin of victory. From a 22 point lead, a combination of poor Georgetown passing and four straight threes by WVU helped narrow the lead to seven in the final minute; however, the game was not seriously in danger. An item from CNN/SI noted that Georgetown was only 1-5 in games decided by less than nine points heading into Saturday's game, but this should not have been a seven point game, anyway.
A scary moment from the game was seen late in the first half when referee Michael Kitts fell to the floor. It was later learned that he collided with an errant elbow when passing by the West Virginia bench, knocking the wind out of him. Kitts returned for the second half.
Here are post game reports:
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