Georgetown Basketball: February 2003 News Archive
Recently elected student body president Brian Morgenstern campaigned on a platform that included, among other things, bringing at least three home basketball games to McDonough Gymnasium next season. Thoughts on team support and the role of McDonough are found in links to columns by Mike DeBonis at the Georgetown Voice and Derek Richmond at The HOYA.
Over 160 fans and alumni welcomed back the Big East championship squad from 1979-80 in a pre-game reception at MCI Center Saturday. The team was also honored at a halftime ceremony.
In attendance from the 79-80 team were John Duren, Craig Shelton, Lonnie Duren, Mike Hancock, David Blue, Eric Smith and Ed Spriggs. Also in attendance at the reception and/or the game were a number of other Hoya basketball alumni, among them Hugh Beins (1950-53), Tom Coleman (1958-61), Brian Sheehan (1958-61), Jim Brown (1963-66), Jim Higgins (1967-70), Paul Favorite (1967-70), Bill Thomas (1974-76), Fred Brown (1980-84), Patrick Ewing (1981-85), Jaren Jackson (1985-89), and team manager Markhum Stansbury (1987-91). Ewing made it back from New York, where he was honored by the New York Knicks the previous evening. (Thanks to the Hoop Club for the event report.)
Following a 24-5 season in 1979, the move from the ECAC South to the Big East was considered a big challenge to the program and its 38 year old coach, John Thompson. Despite predictions that the Hoyas could trail behind the likes of national powers such as St. John's and Syracuse, the 1979-80 team put Georgetown on the national map with a series of thrilling wins, including five victories over teams ranked in the Top 10. The Hoyas won 15 straight in February and March, highlighted by two big upsets over Syracuse and an NCAA upset of Maryland. Of its six losses, two came in overtime and two on shots in the final five seconds.
After the win over Maryland, the Hoyas advanced to the NCAA Eastern Regional Final and led by 14 at the half over Iowa. Georgetown shot 60 percent for the game, 68 percent in the second half..and yet it came down to the last big play of the game. How? Because Iowa shot 17 of 21 (80%) down the stretch, 15 of 15 from the free throw line, and won on a basket and foul with five seconds to play, 81-80. A classic.
The Hoyas also set a high standard for team play. As a team, Georgetown shot over 53% from the field that year, a school record to this day. Seniors John Duren and Craig Shelton were selected honorable mention All-America, and John Thompson was selected Eastern Coach of The Year.
Stats and records on the team can be found at the Hoya Basketball History pages on this site. If you're at the game, take the time to welcome back one of Georgetown's all-time great teams...the "Heart Attack Hoyas".
This column from Tuesday's issue of The HOYA explores an underrated cause of the Hoyas' poor performance this year: depth. The bench is simply not contributing points when the starters are resting or sitting with foul problems.
The lack of bench support in 2002-03 is especially evident in a review of the number of minutes, points and rebounds per game off the bench in the last five seasons (Big East play only). In fact, in the last three games, the bench is a combined 2 for 20 (10.0%) from the field and has scored a total of 13 points.
Tuesday's Providence Journal had it all figured out--its story said Georgetown had been reduced to "has-beens" in college basketball, and staff writer Kevin McNamara wrote that "when Providence College faces the Hoyas tonight at the MCI Center, it'll be evident that the once-vaunted Georgetown program is a shell of itself."
Well, score one for the shell.
Displaying flashes of its best basketball of the conference race all year, the Georgetown Hoyas (13-11, 5-8 Big east) opened an early lead and never trailed the Friars (13-12, 6-8 Big East) in a 71-56 win at MCI Center Tuesday, the Hoyas' third win in four games. With an RPI of 62 entering the game, the Friars are the first top 100 team defeated by the Hoyas this season, and the loss all but ended the Friars' NCAA hopes.
Georgetown opened strong with a 14-5 lead, paced by 5 for 9 shooting. The Friars twice closed to within two points at 21-19 and 28-26, but the Hoyas built back the lead. A late PC run narrowed the lead to one at the half, 33-32, thanks to 11 points from Ryan Gomes and 9 for 10 free throws for the Friars in the half.
The Hoyas entered the second half with another run of good shooting and some defensive adjustments that sank the Friars' hopes early. The Hoyas shot 7 for 11 to begin the half and went on a 14-4 run to lead by 11. The lead closed to as few as five with 5:26 to play, 54-49, but Georgetown scored on three straight possessions in a two minute period to build the lead back to 60-49. The Friars made a last run to narrow the lead to eight, but Georgetown connected on four free throws and a Gerald Riley jumper to put the game out of reach.
Mike Sweetney led the Hoyas with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and four blocks, joined by Gerald Riley with 19. The two combined for an impressive 16 for 22 from the floor and 39 points. Sweetney scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half.
Perhaps the star of the game should go to senior Victor Samnick, who turned in one of the best overall games of his career with 12 points, 4 steals and a block in 25 minutes of action, keeping the pressure off Sweetney and Riley inside. For the game, the Hoyas shot 53 percent from the field, holding the Friars to 38% from the field and forcing a season high 24 turnovers. Ryan Gomes led PC with 21, while Sheiku Kabba was held to only six points. PC is 9-1 when Kabba scores 10 or more points; without his 10, as was the case tonight, the Friars are 4-11.
Georgetown is now 17-3 against the Friars in Washington in the Big East era, and await a nationally televised battle with Syracuse on Saturday.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bowman 29 3-8 0-1 0-0 6 3 3 6 Samnick 25 5-8 0-0 2-2 4 1 4 12 Bethel 35 2-5 2-4 1-2 2 4 1 7 Riley 29 8-11 1-3 2-3 3 1 4 19 Sweetney 36 8-11 0-0 4-7 8 3 1 20 Reserves: Freeman 9 0-1 0-0 2-4 3 2 2 2 Hall 24 0-2 0-2 3-3 1 5 2 3 Ross 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Owens 4 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 2 1 2 Cook 6 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 DNP: Faulkner, Hillier, Beal TOTALS 200 26-49 3-10 16-23 27 21 18 71
Post-game reports follow below. The Washington Times game account was not posted as of 7:00 this morning; the "game notes" column follows in the link below.
In one of the uglier games of a long season, Georgetown survived a last second miss by Miami's Armondo Surratt to hang on in a 74-72 win at the Miami Convocation Center, earning the Hoyas its second straight road win and a reprieve from the Big East cellar.
The game started very slowly for both teams. Georgetown owned a 7-3 lead after almost four minutes, whereupon a Courtland Freeman foul and a technical against the Georgetown bench offered Miami four FT's to take the lead. Both teams traded seven point leads in the half, with Miami leading by four at intermission, 31-27. Georgetown shot 8 for 25 (32%) in the half while Miami's Darius Rice did not score and the team went 1 for 10 from thee point range.
Frustrations continued in the second half. Symptomatic of the frenetic play came at 15:45 to play, when Brandon Bowman missed a two handed slam that would have cut the Miami lead to one. While Miami was shooting exceptionally well early in the half (7 for 11 at one point), the Hurricanes continued to turn the ball over in key stretches. On two different occasions in the second half, Miami gave up the ball by traveling along the baseline after a stoppage in play.
Georgetown took a 61-59 lead with 5:25 to play, and the ebb and flow continued. Georgetown was 7 for 8 from the line midway through the half but took only four free throws down the stretch as Mike Sweetney (24 points, 10 rebs) and Gerald Riley (19 pts) steadied the offense. With 2:28 to play, the Hoyas had the ball and led 71-65, and as Hoya fans know, this is where the game usually gets unsettling.
And so it goes. On that possession, Tony Bethel ran the clock down, then tossed up an errant three point shot instead of finding Sweetney or Riley. Miami was fouled on its next possession, but made only one free throw to cut the lead to five, 71-66. A Georgetown turnover followed, and the Hurricanes drove right down the middle to cut the lead to three, 71-68, with 1:05 to play.
With 0:45 to play, the Hoyas caught a break when Tony Bethel found Victor Samnick inside for a layup, 73-68, but the defense offered no resistance as the Canes took a layup eight seconds later, 73-70. Off a Georgetown time-out, the Hoyas were short-handed--literally. When the teams returned to the court, only four Hoyas were on the court--Darrel Owens had not been sent in by one of the assistants. The referees held up the ball to allow Georgetown to get Owens in, infuriating the Miami bench.
On Georgetown's next possession, Bethel turned the ball over within three seconds, and Miami cut the lead to one, 73-72. On the next series, Bethel was surrounded in the backcourt and lost the ball to Miami's Eric Wilkins with 12 seconds left, but Wilkins' pass was knocked away by Bethel. Before sailing out of bounds, Bethel heaved the ball downcourt to an open Brandon Bowman, who was fouled going to the basket with 5.6 seconds left.
"I felt so bad I made the turnover, so I wanted to hustle back and get the ball back," Bethel told the Associated Press. "I just knew I had to throw it down the court to burn off time, and then we had a man there."
Bowman's first free throw barely met the rim, but the second was good, leaving Miami a final chance with 5.6 seconds left. And in a finish eerily reminiscent of Georgetown's late finish against UCLA, Miami opted to put the ball in the hands of a guard and not throw the pass down the court. Miami freshman Armondo Surratt was guarded closely by Bethel, leaving him only a 30 foot shot which sailed off the backboard and preserved the Hoyas' unlikely win.
The Hurricanes have only themselves to blame for the outcome. Though five Canes finished in double figures, they gave up 24 turnovers and made only 59% of its free throws. For the Hoyas, who shot 56% from the field in the second half, 20 turnovers could have been enough to sink its chances, but Bethel's alert play saved a potentially disastrous 21st.
Sweetney's play continues to be impressive, and he wisely avoided a 5th foul late when it could have been disastrous to the Hoyas. Gerald Riley hit some key free throws in the second half, and Victor Samnick's 10 points were vital, none more so than the last two. The Georgetown bench continues to be non-productive, however, with two points in 45 minutes compared to 36 points in 66 minutes for the Hurricanes.
What a strange season--the Hoyas lost a game facing six men, and almost won a game with four. It's been that kind of run that one post on the HoyaTalk board labeled "the year of dribbling dangerously". But the season moves on to another dangerous game Tuesday versus Providence, which may have seriously damaged Villanova's NCAA hopes with a 70-60 win Saturday.
Providence is a must-win. They all are now.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 34 5-12 1-6 1-3 2 2 1 12 Riley 29 4-8 2-4 9-12 4 0 3 19 Bowman 23 3-6 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 7 Sweetney 36 7-15 0-0 10-14 10 2 4 24 Samnick 33 4-9 0-0 2-2 4 3 2 10 Reserves: Freeman 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 4 0 Hall 8 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 2 0 Owens 18 1-1 0-0 0-0 5 4 1 2 Cook 8 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier TOTALS 200 24-53 3-10 23-33 29 13 21 74
Post-game articles follow below:
Junior forward Mike Sweetney has been named as one of 20 finalists for the Naismith Award, presented by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club to the nation's college basketball player of the year.
Other Big East players selected include Pittsburgh's Brandin Knight and Notre Dame's Chris Thomas. All three remain on the list of 30 for the other major player of the year award, the John Wooden Award.
Sweetney was also named to the NABC all-District team, which honors players by region. Georgetown's region is for programs in DC, Virginia, and West Virginia.
It wasn't Villanova in 1985, but Pitt's second half shooting kept the Hoyas in the cold with an 82-67 Panther victory before 7,242 at snow-bound MCI Center Tuesday. The #9-ranked Panthers shot 75% in the second half from the field and 91% from the line, and those are numbers that Georgetown could not overcome.
The two teams each shot nearly 50% percent in the first half. Georgetown led early, 14-8, and trailed by as many as four, 31-27, when Tony Bethel reeled off consecutive three point shots to give the Hoyas a two point lead, only to see the Panthers tie the score to end the half.
Pitt opened the second with a three point goal and opened a 40-33 lead. The Hoyas came back to tie the game at 40, but it was as close as Georgetown would get thereafter. The Panthers built up the lead to six midway through the half and ten with 4:00 to play, leaving Georgetown few options other than to foul, which led to three GU players fouling out, including defensive leader Gerald Riley. It was Riley's eighth foul-out of the season, and in those games the Hoyas are 1-7.
Georgetown closed the lead to 69-62 with under two minutes to play, but the Panthers extended the lead from the line for the final margin, the most in a Big East game against the Hoyas since March 8, 2001, an 18 point loss to Seton Hall.
Mike Sweetney led the Hoyas with another strong effort: 28 points. The Hoyas shot 41% for the game but the statistics were reduced considerably as the team missed its last eight attempts. Tony Bethel added 12 points. For the Panthers, Brandin Knight scored a season high 23, while Donatas Zavackas scored three of four from three point range and 17 points off the bench.
Georgetown's bench continued a season of under-performing play which is as contributing a factor to Georgetown's poor record as anything. Here's one stat to ponder: the Georgetown starting lineup actually outscored the Pitt starting five 63-56. However, the Pitt bench was 7 for 11 and added 26 points. The Georgetown bench shot 1 for 11 and added four points.
Put another way, the Georgetown bench played fifty-nine minutes, collected eight fouls, and scored one field goal. Game over.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 38 4-10 4-8 0-0 4 3 5 12 Riley 29 3-10 1-5 2-3 0 2 5 9 Bowman 17 3-6 0-0 0-0 2 0 1 7 Samnick 18 3-4 0-0 1-2 4 0 1 7 Sweetney 39 9-15 0-0 10-14 8 0 2 28 Reserves: Freeman 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 1 2 0 Hall 29 0-3 0-3 0-0 1 8 5 0 Ross 2 0-2 0-1 2-2 0 0 1 2 Owens 21 1-5 0-0 0-0 0 2 1 2 DNP: Faulkner, Hillier, Cook TOTALS 200 23-56 6-19 15-21 21 16 23 67
Post-game articles follow below:
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review discusses a topic in Big East circles of late: dropping the two-division format and having a single division for scheduling purposes.
Under the current format, teams play home and home with six division foes and a single game against four of seven opponents from other divisions. For Georgetown, it means that teams like Boston College, Connecticut, and Villanova are not on this year's schedule, while teams like Providence have not played in Washington in four years.
One idea under discussion is to play all 13 opponents only once each season, with two permanent "rival" home and home games and one game selected by the conference each year for television purposes.
"It's worth a look to see what would happen if everybody in the league played each other once, " said Coach Esherick in the article. "If the commissioner wanted to take a look at it, I'd be all for it."
Gerald Riley scored a career high 31 points as the Georgetown Hoyas ended its longest losing streak since the 1974-75 season, an 85-73 victory over Virginia Tech. It was the Hoyas' first road win of the season, and could not have come at a more pressing time for Georgetown to recover its season.
Making their first appearance at Cassell Coliseum since Craig Esherick was a junior in the Business School, the Hoyas started off slowly and were in trouble within three minutes, as Mike Sweetney picked up two fouls in the first 3:19 of the game and went to the bench. Down 9-5 after the first TV time out, the Hoyas surprised the Hokies with a 15-1 run to take the lead at 20-10, paced by two three pointers from Gerald Riley. The Hoyas could not hold the lead, and VT clawed back to 22-21 with 7:42 in the half. Riley scored two more threes down the stretch in the first, and despite Virginia Tech shooting 52% in the first half, Georgetown held a 41-32 halftime lead, which was the largest halftime lead in a Big East game since a 12 point halftime lead on West Virginia on Feb. 2, 2002.
Sweetney returned to the starting lineup in the second half and with Riley continuing his pace from outside, Georgetown opened the half on a 10-5 run to lead 51-37 with 15:33 to play. Georgetown led by as many 17, 56-39, when Tech began to chip away at the lead. A 7-0 run closed the lead to ten, 56-46, when Victor Samnick fouled out with 9:27 to play. Sweetney and Riley took the lead back to 14, 68-54 with 6:18 to play, but the Hoyas failed on consecutive possessions and the Hokies took the lead under double digits, 68-59 with 5:04 to play when Mike Sweetney picked up his 4th foul.
Georgetown fans know what usually happens next--an opponent run with no hope in sight. The Hokies did make their run, closing to eight at 76-68 with 1:25 to play, but the Hoyas had another ending planned. A pair of key Darrel Owens free throws and a key Mike Sweetney block stopped the Gobblers' comeback, and the G-men went on a 7-0 run to put away the game. In the final six minutes, Georgetown was 9 for 10 from the line, and every point was crucial.
Riley's play was the best performance of his career. "He's finally practicing [after a recurring injury]," said Coach Esherick after the game. "He's able to work on his shooting more. And every time Virginia Tech made a run, he hit some big shots." Riley's 31 was the most points scored by a Hoya (other than Mike Sweetney) in a Big East game since Victor Page scored 31 against Miami on March 6, 1997.
Sweetney also came up big with 25 points, most in the second half. Tony Bethel shook off a prolonged slump to add in ten points at some critical moments of the game. Despite some lapses in defense, the Hoyas gave up only 11 turnovers and collected 14 assists. And foul shooting was nothing short of exemplary: 19 of 21 (.905).
The Hoyas can also thank the weather for giving them a fighting chance. Cassell Coliseum can be a very tough place with 10,000 Hokie fans, as was the case when Tech routed UConn 95-74 just ten days ago. But with snow in the Blacksburg area, only 4,857 made it to the game and the crowd never seriously disrupted the effort.
Next up for Georgetown is a Pittsburgh team that was upset at Seton Hall and which has dropped its three road games in February. The Panthers are certainly favored on the more than neutral MCI Court, but it's nice to say that Georgetown has something it hasn't seen in almost four weeks: a little momentum.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 32 3-6 1-3 3-3 3 5 1 10 Riley 36 10-20 6-7 5-6 2 0 1 31 Bowman 18 1-2 0-1 0-1 2 0 1 2 Sweetney 28 10-15 0-0 5-5 8 1 4 25 Samnick 21 2-6 0-0 0-0 5 1 5 4 Reserves: Freeman 22 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 2 4 0 Hall 31 1-6 1-4 2-2 3 5 1 5 Owens 12 2-2 0-0 4-4 2 0 1 8 DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Cook, Hillier TOTALS 200 29-60 8-15 19-21 26 14 18 85
Post-game recaps follow below:
Mike Sweetney and Gerald Riley combined for 41 points in Tuesday's game against Rutgers, but basketball is not a two man game.
In a game where the two teams missed 76 of 103 shots, Rutgers 66-59 win over Georgetown Tuesday not only extended the Hoyas' losing streak to six games and provided exclusive tenancy in the Big East cellar, but continued to expose the Hoyas' lack of offensive support for Mike Sweetney. Despite a solid effort from Gerald Riley, the rest of the team managed just three field goals in 21 attempts. Overall, the Hoyas scored on only 16 shots, its lowest output since a 54-47 loss to Princeton in 1999. With the setback, Georgetown drops to 0-7 on the road.
Any offensive output would have paid huge dividends against a Rutgers team which is not much better than Georgetown right now. The two teams combined to score all of 21 points in the first ten minutes of play, 11-10, each shooting well under average. The Hoyas missed 12 of its first 15 attempts, with Sweetney an uncharacteristic 0 for 4. Mike took over soon after, scoring nine straight points and leading Georgetown to a four point first half lead, 21-17. Late in the half, Rutgers capitalized on three consecutive turnovers and finished the period on a 10-2 run, leading 27-23 at the half.
Georgetown opened up strong in the second, holding the equally poor-shooting Scarlet Knights to five points in the first seven minutes of the half and taking a 39-32 lead, its largest of the game. Rutgers fought back to tie the score at 41-all with 10:00 left, and neither team could build up enough momentum to shake the other off. Georgetown's last lead came at 3:22, 55-54, answered by a Ricky Shields three pointer, 57-55. A pair of Riley foul shots tied the game at 57, where a late Rutgers three and two GU turnovers tipped the scales. The Scarlet Knights (11-10, 3-6 Big East) converted on 12 of 16 free throws down the stretch, and seven of its last eight to seal the win. While Georgetown was 25-37 from the line, it was only 7 of 15 from the line down the stretch and missed four of its final eight attempts.
Sweetney turned in another impressive game despite three and four defenders surrounding him. Riley's effort also was commendable, but the rest of the team offered little support:
What faces the Hoyas is not only another week of finger-pointing by fans and media, but the same demons that haunted them in January (no point guard, no center, no bench) appear to be in full force into February. The season's not over, but the Hoyas need some help--and some heart-- with seven games remaining.
Still, this team hasn't quit, and that's the best thing this team has going for it right now.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 27 0-6 0-5 2-2 4 3 4 2 Riley 38 6-10 2-4 5-6 4 3 2 19 Bowman 9 1-4 0-1 0-0 1 0 4 2 Samnick 27 2-6 0-0 5-8 4 0 4 9 Sweetney 38 7-16 0-0 8-13 11 1 2 22 Reserves: Freeman 12 0-2 0-0 2-4 5 0 3 2 Hall 30 0-2 0-0 3-4 6 2 3 3 Ross 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Owens 16 0-1 0-0 0-0 3 0 2 0 DNP: Faulkner, Hillier, Cook Totals 200 16-47 2-10 25-37 38 9 25 59
Post-game recaps follow below:
"Intercollegiate Athletics complements the academic mission...by seeking to achieve excellence in the fields of men and women's sports. Intercollegiate Athletics aims to attract the highest quality student-athletes, coaches and staff, and to provide the resources to build nationally competitive athletic teams." That quote is from a release on the UCLA athletics site noting that school has completed six recent projects to expand athletic field space and facilities on the Westwood campus, including adding 78,000 square feet of facilities and offices.
By contrast, shifting signals from the University on which projects to complete after the Southwest Quadrangle leave Georgetown basketball at a visible and growing disadvantage.
"This year Maryland opened a $100 million facility, Pittsburgh opened a $100 million facility, Miami opened a $70 million facility," said athletic director Joe Lang in this link from The HOYA. "And what did we do? We painted McDonough. That was our response. Because that’s all we got."
Of interest to Hoya fans is Lang's attempt to jump-start the McDonough issue once again. The HOYA reported that Georgetown will talk to the Big East about whether reconfiguring the existing McDonough setup could allow Big East games on campus sooner rather than later. At present, the Big East requires a minimum 6,000 seats to host home games. If the rule could be amended, the impact would be huge for Georgetown's teams.
This weekend's readings at Mass opened with words from the book of Job. Georgetown fans can relate.
For the third time in five games, Georgetown was on the wrong end of a one point loss, a 71-70 decision to UCLA that sank the Hoyas' losing streak to five straight heading into another week on the road. The streak includes two overtime losses and two one point losses.
While broadcast on national TV, the two teams did not look the part. Georgetown started off slow, hampered by two quick fouls on Mike Sweetney, who finished with 10 points in only 21 minutes of play, his lowest output of the year since a game with Towson on November 30. Without Sweetney, the Hoyas made do with a patchwork lineup, still lacking a healthy point guard or a capable center. At point guard, Tony Bethel turned in a poor first half, shooting 1 for 8. The center tandem of seniors Victor Samnick and Courtland Freeman were, at best, inconsistent low against the UCLA offense, and the Bruins took a 36-32 lead into halftime.
Georgetown's defense was improved in the second half, with Gerald Riley keeping UCLA's Jason Kapono to just four field goals during the game. UCLA picked up valuable points, however, from center Ryan Hollins. Hollins, averaging 2.5 points a game, collected a season high 14 points and nine rebounds on the Samnick-Freeman duo, as UCLA was able to get a number of easy second chances on Georgetown's weak interior defense.
Georgetown's second half run erased a nine point Bruin lead and built a 61-56 Hoya lead with 5:40 to play. UCLA answered with six straight points, while Georgetown contributed an air ball, a missed shot, and a turnover. The final four minutes were back and forth, with Gerald Riley's game high 20 points keeping the Hoyas in contention and a three pointer by Drew Hall in the final minute that gave Georgetown a one point lead in the final 30 seconds.
Holding for the last shot, guard Cedric Bozeman drove the lane but was stopped by Brandon Bowman, whereupon Tony Bethel was called for a reach-in foul with 4.9 seconds to play. Bozeman, a poor free throw shooter averaging 49 percent, would be hard pressed to sink two shots on the road, but because this is a game at Georgetown, anything is possible. Bozeman sank both free throws for the lead.
On Georgetown's final possession, UCLA collapsed on Sweetney and Bozeman swarmed over Hall as he was racing up the sideline. Much as he did against Notre Dame after a late foul, Hall's long three pointer sailed wide and with it, UCLA ended a nine game losing streak and Georgetown dropped another bewildering home loss.
Georgetown's early shooting woes continue to make the team and its staff look bad at game's end. Tony Bethel and Brandon Bowman continued a month long shooting odyssey which has hurt the Hoyas more than writers and fans care to notice. Bethel missed 10 of 12 shots in the game, and his three point shooting has dipped to 31 percent in the last nine games. Bowman's shooting average has dipped to 37 percent in the last nine games, and only 6-9 Courtland Freeman (6 for 24, 25 percent) has less to show for the last nine games. And while Gerald Riley continues to play hard on both sides of the offense, he has now fouled out in eight of his last nine games, fouling out one series before Cedric Bozeman's final run at the basket.
Georgetown ends its non-conference record at 8-3; however, to many fans, the real non-conference record was 1-3 against South Carolina, Virginia, Duke, and UCLA. Of these four teams, only Duke returns for the 2003-04 slate. Ironically, UCLA will go down as the Hoyas worst RPI loss of the season, as the Bruins had slid to 204th before Saturday's game, and bounced to 186 as of Sunday morning. The Hoyas' win against South Carolina holds no weight for the Hoyas, since the Gamecocks have slumped to an 8-11 mark.
As Job had his share of trouble, so do the Hoyas. Job endured and prevailed, and that's what the Hoyas must do.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 32 2-12 1-6 4-4 4 4 3 9 Riley 32 6-15 4-6 4-4 1 1 5 20 Bowman 32 4-10 1-2 4-4 6 2 3 13 Samnick 23 1-5 0-0 0-0 5 0 4 2 Sweetney 21 4-8 0-0 2-3 9 2 4 10 Reserves: Freeman 19 2-5 0-0 0-1 7 0 3 4 Hall 22 3-5 2-4 2-2 1 4 2 10 Owens 14 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 1 0 0 Cook 5 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier, Beal Totals 200 23-62 8-18 16-18 35 14 24 70
Senior Wesley Wilson has received a temporary leave of absence from Georgetown, according to Friday's edition of the Washington Post.
Coach Esherick indicated that "He has not been kicked off the team. Both his return to school and his return to the team are open-ended."
The Post reports that Wilson was close to his grandfather, who died Dec. 31, but Coach Esherick noted that "his mother and father want his privacy to be honored."
Late Thursday evening, Wilson's name was left off the roster information in the game notes published at GUHoyas.com. According to The HOYA, Sports Information would neither confirm nor deny his departure.
Wilson averaged 6.6 points per game this season but has struggled in conference play, averaging less than five points per game.
"An unreasonable" expectation. It's hard to imagine when a single phrase generated such heat and bluster among Georgetown basketball fans, but a comment from Athletic Director Joe Lang in the January 20 Washington Post caused its share. On Wednesday, Lang reaffirmed his strong support for the basketball team and plans to renovate McDonough Gymnasium.
"I coached for 20 years in intercollegiate athletics... I know exactly what it means to compete and I don't like to lose," Lang told the Georgetown Voice. The article cited the Georgetown athletics handbook which states, in part, "the goal of each national sport [such as men's basketball] is to reach post-season competition and compete for the NCAA Championship."
The Voice also reports that short-term seating renovations could be presented to Big East officials to allow games to be played on campus sooner than later. Big East rules mandate a minimum of 6,000 seats for conference games; McDonough was downsized from 4,200 to 2,200 seats in the 1990's when upper level seating was removed and bleachers at each baseline were taken down.
"If there's a way for us to get our team in [McDonough] on this campus sooner rather than later, we will do whatever we can to accomplish that," said Lang. "I want you to understand there is that commitment to get that done."
Additional coverage follows in this link to The HOYA.
Columnist Mike DeBonis of the Georgetown Voice takes overzealous fans to task for misinterpreting Lang's earlier remarks.
"Do yourself a favor if you're a talk radio junkie or a HoyaTalk regular: Break out of the cycle and take a few minutes to get the real story", writes DeBonis. "Read what Joe Lang really said on page 12, and spare our campus your outrage."
Junior forward Mike Sweetney remains on a list of 30 players in consideration for the John Wooden Award at season's end, according to a release on its web site.
Among the 30 on the list, which salutes the national player of the year, the list also includes Big East stars Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse), Marcus Hatten (St. John's), Brandin Knight (Pittsburgh), Emeka Okafor (Connecticut), Darius Rice (Miami), and Chris Thomas (Notre Dame).
A HOYA columnist asks in Tuesday's edition why the Hoyas couldn't have a little more home court success if it actually played at home.
"Last week, before the Hoyas’ embarrassing loss to Seton Hall in overtime, Hoya Blue circulated a petition asking the administration to move at least three games back to McDonough Arena next season. I say, why not move them all?", he wrote.
Unfortunately, the Big East conference has a standing rule that all conference games host a minimum of 6,000 seats. The three smallest schools in the conference: Providence, Georgetown, and Seton Hall--have gyms that that do not meet this threshold.
The all-time record attendance in McDonough, 4,620 in 1982 versus #4 Missouri, would be still nearly 1,500 seats short of the rule now in place.
"Make no mistake that the Hoyas played hard, all right. They always have and they probably always will. But they just don't have the weaponry they once had."-Bud Poliquin, Syracuse Post-Standard
No late game collapse. No last shot. No overtime.
To its credit, #21 Syracuse didn't give the Hoyas many chances to make a late run, and while Georgetown gave the Orangemen all it could handle in an 88-80 loss Monday at the Carrier Dome, it fell short in its fourth straight loss, three to ranked opponents. In games against Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, Georgetown faced teams with a combined home court of record of 36-0, and played each as tough as they've faced all year. But not enough to change the zero on its road record so far this season.
The Hoyas opened up short-handed when it was announced that center Wesley Wilson was sidelined with back spasms, forcing reserve forward Victor Samnick into a starting spot. Samnick's 12 points and nine rebounds (without a turnover) gave the Hoyas some much needed consistency in the post, but Syracuse established its early lead from the outside. The Orange built a six point halftime lead with five three pointers in the first half against Georgetown's perimeter defense, giving up only two turnovers, and scoring ten points off eight Georgetown turnovers. While Mike Sweetney's 32 point effort was the headline, Syracuse's guard play was the story of the game.
The Hoyas started strong in the second, feeding the ball to Mike Sweetney at every opportunity. Georgetown tied the score at 48 with 15:20 to play. A BIlly Edelin jumper regained the lead for the Orangemen, but the Hoyas fought back. Trailing 55-50, two consecutive three pointers gave georgetown its first and only lead at 56-55, Syracuse's Hakim Warrick scored on three consecutive series to put the lead out of reach, with his team scoring on seven of its next ten shots to lead 69-59 with 8:10 to play.
Georgetown made its last serious run to close to three, 69-63, with 5:48 to play, but Syracuse held on via the free throw line, shooting 23 of 24 in the second half and once going 14 for 14 down the stretch. The Orange's overall free throw mark, 29 for 33, was without peer Monday night, but the Hoyas seemed tired at the line, hitting on just over 50 percent. The ever-steady Sweetney scored on only 10 of 19 free throws. "They outhustled us in the first half, but in the second half we stepped it up," said Sweetney. "But then they started hitting their free throws and we were missing ours."
Georgetown's stats showed signs of improvement and consistency from previous games: 45% shooting, four second half threes, holding and 22 assists, which is a season high. Scoring came almost entirely from the starters, as the increasingly thin Georgetown bench contributed only four points.
But for a team where luck is in short supply, the Hoyas need to regroup once again and salvage its season in February instead of looking back at missed opportunities in January.
Georgetown's half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 34 5-14 2-6 0-0 6 9 4 12 Bowman 33 2-8 0-1 1-2 3 1 4 5 Riley 29 5-12 4-8 1-1 5 3 3 15 Sweetney 39 11-18 0-0 10-19 13 4 2 32 Samnick 26 6-11 0-0 0-0 9 1 5 12 Reserves: Freeman 11 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 4 2 Hall 19 1-3 0-1 0-1 0 1 1 2 Owens 8 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 3 0 Cook 1 0-1 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier, Wilson TOTALS 200 31-69 6-17 12-23 38 22 26 80
For a lot of Georgetown fans, the letters "OT" spell "loss".
More than any other major college program, Georgetown struggles in overtime games, and not just in recent years, either. At 1-2 in extended play this season, the Hoyas are 6-19 in overtime games since 1989, 4-13 on the road.
1989-90 L 87-89(OT) at Syracuse 1990-91 W 71-62(OT) Villanova 1991-92 L 66-76(OT) vs Virginia (at Greensboro, NC) 1991-92 L 86-88(2OT) at Boston College 1991-92 L 71-73(OT) at Seton Hall 1992-93 L 58-66(OT) Providence 1993-94 L 83-84(OT) Maryland 1993-94 L 75-76(OT) Villanova 1993-94 L 67-73(OT) at Providence 1993-94 W 76-71(OT) vs Seton Hall (Big East) 1994-95 W 83-80(OT) vs Memphis (at Toronto, ON) 1995-96 W 83-80(OT) at West Virginia 1996-97 L 65-68(OT) at Miami 1997-98 L 72-77(OT) at Syracuse 1997-98 L 79-80(OT) at Georgia Tech (NIT) 1998-99 L 90-93(2OT) at Villanova 1999-00 L 62-65(OT) Seton Hall 1999-00 W 115-111(3OT)at Virginia (NIT) 2001-02 L 87-89 (OT) at Rutgers 2001-02 L 111-116(4OT) Notre Dame 2001-02 L 72-83 (OT) at Villanova 2001-02 L 76-84 (OT) vs Miami (Big East) 2002-03 W 84-82 (OT) West Virginia 2002-03 L 82-93 (OT) Seton Hall 2002-03 L 92-93 (2OT)at Notre Dame
Even stranger, its record in two-overtime Big East games is an astounding 1-5. All but one of the losses were on the road.
1983-84 L 63-65(2OT) Villanova 1985-86 L 88-90(2OT) at Villanova (Spectrum) 1987-88 W 102-98(2OT) Seton Hall 1991-92 L 86-88(2OT) at Boston College 1998-99 L 90-93(2OT) at Villanova 2002-03 L 92-93(2OT) at Notre Dame
"It was a tough loss, a real tough loss. We played hard today. Maybe we'll get a little luck down the road, but for now we're not getting any."--Gerald Riley
The Georgetown Hoyas usually save their best performances against the best teams. Then again, that doesn't make a 93-92 overtime loss to Notre Dame any easier.
A career high 38 points from Mike Sweetney keyed a 15 point second half comeback for the Hoyas, but a a pair of mental errors by Georgetown players late in the game are the lasting memories of this loss.
The Hoyas' early efforts started out slowly. Center Wesley Wilson picked up three fouls in the first 1:17 of play, including a technical foul and an unnecessary gesture to the sold out crowd. While the Irish were taking its share of ill-advised shots, its backcourt duo of Chris Thomas and matt Carroll seemed unstoppable. Thomas and carroll scored 28 of the Irish's first 33 points, and ND pulled ahead by as many as 11 in the first half. Sweetney's 12 points brought the Hoyas to 40-33 at the half.
"They hit a lot of big shots-they are both good players. That killed us early on in the game and we had to fight back," said sophomore Drew Hall in post game quotes. "I give a lot of respect to my teammates for fighting and digging deep and putting that to a halt at the end."
The Irish were strong coming out of halftime, and owned a 55-40 lead early in the second half. As has been the case in many Big East games, foul trouble nearly derailed the Hoyas' effort. Georgetown closed the lead to nine with 9:19 left when Tony Bethel fouled out, and seven Hoyas played with three fouls or more. Still the strategy of getting the ball into Sweetney met slow and steady success against the ND lead. The Irish led by nine, 63-54, when the Hoya comeback went into high gear.
After two missed shots by Thomas, Darrel Owens connected on free throw shots, 63-56. A ND turnover led Gerald Riley to unleash a three pointer, 63-59. And on the next series, after Thomas missed for a third consecutive shot, Sweetney was fouled and connected on a three point play, 63-62. The Irish were held without a field goal in the final 6:21 of play.
Tied at 69 with 46 seconds to play, Mike Sweetney missed on a one and one free throw situation, but the Hoyas held the Irish without a score. Holding for the last shot, Coach Esherick diagrammed a play to feed the ball inside to Sweetney. With the ball and a chance to win the game, freshman Brandon Bowman lost track of the clock and never fed the ball to Sweetney, failing to get a shot or pass as time expired.
In the overtime, Bowman struggled on the first possession and traveled. Carroll scored the Irish's next five points as the Domers looked to pull away, 74-71, until Gerald Riley sank a long three to tie the score. The teams traded buckets and free throws, and a call on Owens sent Notre Dame's Matt Carroll to the line, leading 80-79. He hit both free throws, and the Hoyas were running low on miracles when Hall unleashed only his second three pointer of the conference season to tie the score at 82. ND's Chris Thomas nearly answered the effort with a shot that rattled around and out as the buzzer sounded, sending the game into double overtime.
ND opened up the extra period with a foul and three point play, 85-82, but the Hoyas fought back. A free throw by Ashanti Cook (seeing time in his first game in a month) closed the count to 85-83, but the Hoyas fouled on consecutive possessions and ND led 88-83. The teams traded free throws to extend the lead to 90-85, but Hall defied the odds once again with a three, 90-88. A Carroll jumper extended the lead to 92-88, answered by a jumper from Sweetney and two clutch free throws by Hall tied the score at 92 with :10 left.
On the next series, Notre Dame's Torrian Jones was fouled by Darrel Owens driving to the basket with four seconds left. Jones missed the first free throw but made the second, 93-92. Hall took over with :04 left but shot a second too quick, an ill-advised 30 foot three point shot which sailed wide. The Hoyas battled for the rebound and did not get off a shot as time expired.
Sweetney's 38 point, 14 rebound effort was the 14th best scoring performance in Georgetown history. Gerald Riley (15 points) and Drew Hall (10 points) were the only other Hoyas in double figures. On the ND side of the ledger, Thomas and carroll combined for 60 of the Domers' 93 points, though Thomas shot only 4 for 20 in the game. Carroll, who set the ND career three point shooting mark in the game, finished 11 for 20 from the field, 6 for 12 from three point range, and 36 points. In contrast to its usual poor shooting from outside, Georgetown shot six threes in only 11 attempts. Its 20 assists were also its best in conference play to date.
The stats will mean little, however. With an odd combination of bad luck and mental lapses in key points of games, the Hoyas have dropped six of eight and are a only a half-game removed from Rutgers and the Western Division basement. Still, the players haven't packed it in.
"We made a lot of mental errors down at the end of the game which we need to correct," said Sweetney. "We can't keep talking about it, we need to start doing it because it's getting towards the end and we need to get as many wins as possible."
Next up: a road game at Syracuse, where
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Bethel 20 2-5 0-2 2-2 2 3 5 6 Riley 45 5-14 3-4 2-2 5 2 5 15 Bowman 36 2-6 1-1 0-0 6 2 3 5 Sweetney 47 14-27 0-0 10-14 15 3 1 38 Wilson 6 2-2 0-0 1-2 2 1 3 5 Reserves: Freeman 14 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 4 0 Hall 33 2-6 2-3 4-4 2 5 3 10 Samnick 12 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 3 Owens 31 2-4 0-0 5-6 7 3 4 9 Cook 6 0-2 0-1 1-2 1 0 0 1 DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier Totals 250 30-70 6-11 26-34 41 20 30 92
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