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Georgetown Basketball: March 2003 News Archive

Georgetown 79, North Carolina 74 3/27/03

"That's a good team out there. I thought their changing defenses got us off track a little bit and my hats off to Craig and the Georgetown team." --UNC Coach Matt Doherty

"We beat Tennessee at Tennessee, Providence at Providence and North Carolina at North Carolina. That's really something. I thought our guys did a great job at keeping their composure. I'm really proud of them." --Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick

In its best game of the season, the Georgetown Hoyas advanced to the NIT semifinals with a 79-74 win at North Carolina. The game not only marked Georgetown's sixth straight road win and third straight in post-season play, but provided a rare upset at the home of the Tar Heels, where UNC was 88-10 (.898) in non-conference games since the Dean Smith Center opened in 1986.

As was the case in wins over Tennessee and Providence, the Hoyas' solid defense kept them in the game, where solid end-game strategy put the Hoyas in position to win.

Carolina fans had high hopes for the game, which would have marked UNC's 32nd 20-win season in 33 years. Its up-tempo guard play and execution against Georgetown's man to man defense paid off early, with the Tar Heels leading by eight, 20-12, midway through the first half.

"Early on I was worried that we were going to be blown out," said Coach Esherick in post-game quotes. "I decided, 'let's start trapping them and see if we can disrupt some of their shooting,' and I think we did do that."

The Hoyas forced UNC into turnovers on its next three possessions, closing the gap to two at 22-18. With 6:00 to play, down 31-27, the Georgetown defense went to work, as the Tar Heels failed to score a field goal for the rest of the first half as the Hoyas took a 34-32 lead at the break.

The second half saw each team approach season-highs in shooting, with Georgetown shooting 57% from the field, North Carolina 56%. The Hoyas' accuracy would be crucial early in the half, when forward Jawad Williams scored ten points in a four minute stretch that saw the Tar Heels break open to a 48-40 lead. Georgetown then connected on five of its next six shots as the Heels were kept in check and the Hoyas took a 52-50 lead with 13:12 to play. The rally continued as the Heels were held to one field goal in an 8:49 stretch, allowing Gerald Riley to go to work. Riley scored 11 points that keyed an incredible 22-4 run to give GU a 62-52 lead with 8:04 to play.

North Carolina needed a spark, and got it from Rashad McCants. The 6-4 forward went to work, scoring 14 of the Heels' next 16 points, taking over the game and pulling the Tar Heels even at 70-70 with 2:05 to play. Fouled on the tying basket, Esherick called a time out to freeze McCants at the line. McCants missed the free throw and Carolina never regained the lead.

"It was a smart play by their coach," McCants told the Greensboro News & Record. "He froze me out. I lost my rhythm. Sometimes when you're out there playing your heart out, you're exhausted when you get to the free-throw line." McCants also missed his next jumper with 1:07 left.

On Georgetown's next possession, a pass into Sweetney was kicked back to Drew Hall, who took the open three and connected to give GU the lead, 73-70. Carolina missed a three on its next possession and the Hoyas proceeded to shoot 6 for 6 from the line, its only foul shots of the entire second half, to secure the win. Overall, Georgetown was 14-17 from the line.

Georgetown's zone defense really put the Tar Heels in a bind. "That's been our problem all year," said center David Noel. "We haven't been able to penetrate a zone and make shots, and think we've been laying back on our threes - we can't do that."

As was noted on this site's Pre-Game Report, North Carolina tends to play better when fewer, not more three point attempts are launched. While shooting 62% from inside the arc, the Heels were only 41% (9-22) from three.

Another big stat? Turnovers. Against Wyoming, UNC gave up only eight turnovers. Against Georgetown, the Heels gave up 18, and the Hoyas held a 25-9 advantage scoring off turnovers.

It seemed as if every Georgetown player came up big in the game at the right time. Brandon Bowman scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half, while Gerald Riley did his part by scoring 19 of his 22 in the second. Courtland Freeman, playing in the place of injured Victor Samnick, scored five points and collected six rebounds in 21 minutes of action. And while each bench scored only seven points, Drew Hall's three will be the lasting memory of a close, hard fought game that can take its place among many legendary Georgetown post-season performances, especially among the loyal and partisan UNC crowd.

Georgetown advances to its third-ever NIT championship bracket, having played in the 1978 and 1993 semifinals.

"I admire what they've done," Coach Doherty told the Associated Press. "They got home late after the Providence game, they bused in here and got in at 2 a.m., didn't have a shoot-around and came with a lot of energy. I'm real impressed with what Georgetown accomplished."

Georgetown's half of the box score is below. (The official stats list 6-5 walk-on Ryan Beal with a block in less than one minute of play, but this may be in error.)


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bowman      31   6-9  0-2  0-0   2   3   2   12
Sweetney    32  8-14  0-0  6-7   7   3   4   22
Freeman     21   2-3  0-0  1-2   6   0   2    5
Bethel      32  3-10  1-4  2-2   1   3   2    9
Riley       33  8-12  3-5  3-4   4   4   2   22
Reserves:
Hall        18   2-2  1-1  2-2   2   1   3    7
Owens       12   0-4  0-0  0-0   5   0   3    0
Cook        20   1-5  0-2  0-0   0   1   1    2
Beal         1   0-0  0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP/Coach's Decision:  Faulkner, Ross, Hillier
DNP/Ill: Samnick 
TOTALS     200 30-59 5-15 14-17  27  15  19  79

Post-game articles follow below.

NIT Thoughts From The Hoyatalk Board 3/26/03

A recent HoyaTalk post asked why fans should even be interested in the NIT. Here's the response from "GIGAFAN":

There are going to be 20,000+ Tar Heel fans out to support their team...not because of what they are playing for, not because they are celebrating a fantastic, successful season, and not because they all agree about the coach, players, or program. They are going to be there because they are a community, a unified force showing pride in their alma mater and the young men representing it.

This isn't about the prize, it's about our fans showing their love for the guys on the court and their season-long struggle. As we grew in college, these young men do the same. We watch them develop as basketball players and men struggling every step of the way. They backslide, fall on hard times, feel like quitting, and not all of them even make it through. But they also work hard, learn, gain a sense of self and each other, and they get to taste victories large and small. In short their Georgetown experience is ours fleshed out in a couple of forty-minute battles on the hardwood. In them we see ourselves.

They are us and we are Georgetown. Hoya Saxa.

Georgetown 67, Providence 58 3/25/03

An old friend--defense--returned for the Georgetown Hoyas in a 67-58 win over Providence College in the second round of the NIT.

Despite a season high 26 turnovers, 39% shooting, and key stretches of foul trouble by Georgetown starters, the Hoyas held Providence in check over much of the second half in the win. The game sends the Hoyas to the third round of a post-season tournament for only the second time in the last seven years.

The two teams opened the game with generally poor play. The Hoyas committed 16 turnovers in the first half, and Providence responded by missing all seven of its three point attempts. The teams combined for 18 of 54 (33%) shooting in the half, one that saw Georgetown score one field goal in the final 4:47 and both teams go scoreless for the final 2:30, with Providence holding a 26-24 lead.

Trailing 28-24 early in the second half, the Hoyas took an 8-0 run that gave GU the lead for good, 32-24. But when Mike Sweetney picked up two quick fouls and sat with 12:44 to play, it could have been disastrous for a Georgetown team that does not play well with their team leader on the bench. Instead, the defense rose to the challenge, holding the cold-shooting Friars without a field goal for 10:01. PC went 0-8 from the field and committed five turnovers down the stretch, hanging close only with free throws. Georgetown led by eleven, 51-40, with 3:43 and closed the game with free throws. The Hoyas' 26 for 32 free throw effort was big in the game, whereas the Friars' shot only 57%b from the line and missed 17 of 20 three point attempts, stalling any PC comeback. It was a startling contrast to the last Georgetown game in Providence, where the Friars hit 14 of 19 threes in a 103-79 win during the 2001 season.

Mike Sweetney finished the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds, joined by 18 from Tony Bethel, 11 from Gerald Riley and a career high 12 rebounds from Brandon Bowman. The Hoya bench was far from productive, combining for one field goal in a combined 53 minutes of action.

The building formerly known as the Providence Civic Center had not been kind to the Hoyas over the years. Entering Monday's game, the Hoyas had lost three straight in Providence and eight of 11 games dating back to 1989.

"We stunk up the joint in the first half," said Craig Esherick in the Washington Post account of the post-game news conference. "But I'm proud because we beat a team from the Big East -- the best conference in the country -- on the road." In fact, the Hoyas have won five straight games in opponent gyms for the first time since the 1984-85 season, when the Hoyas were 10-1 on the road.

And they'll be back on the road Wednesday.

Georgetown's half of the box score:


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bethel      34   3-8  2-4 10-12   4   4   2   18
Riley       33   3-8  1-3  4-5    2   3   4   11
Bowman      32   4-8  0-0  0-2   12   2   3    8
Samnick     18   1-6  0-0  0-0    3   1   0    2
Sweetney    30  8-15  0-0 10-11  11   0   4   26
Reserves:
Freeman     14   0-1  0-0  0-0    2   0   5    0
Hall        13   0-0  0-0  2-2    1   2   3    2
Owens       10   0-1  0-0  0-0    3   2   1    0
Cook        16   0-1  0-1  0-0    0   0   1    0
DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier
TOTALS     200 19-48 3-8  26-32  38  14  23   67

Post-game articles follow below.

Georgetown 70, Tennessee 60 3/19/03

"I thought our defense gave them problems, but we played much better in the second half. We got the ball inside much better. We kept the pressure on defensively. When you beat an SEC team on their home court, you have to feel happy about it."
--Coach Craig Esherick

It took 29 games, but Ashanti Cook made his mark on Hoya basketball.

The often-injured freshman scored 11 straight first half points and 16 points overall, leading the Georgetown Hoyas to a convincing 70-60 win at Tennessee in the first round of the NIT Tuesday. Georgetown's second round opponent will not be decided until later this week, against the winner of a bracket that includes Providence-Richmond and Charleston-Kent State.

The Hoyas started off slow, missing five threes in the first ten minutes and 17 of its first 23 field goal attempts. The Volunteers (17-12) dominated the boards early, with 18 rebounds secured in the first 12 minutes of the game. With inconsistent guard play an ongoing theme, coach Craig Esherick got Ashanti Cook into the game with 6:58 to play, where he scored 11 straight points in a four minute stretch to give Georgetown a 26-21 lead with 2:53 to play. Unfortunately for Georgetown, its two minute offense allowed Tennessee back in, where the Volunteers scored the final six points and led 27-26 at the half.

Georgetown adjusted well opening the second, spurred by a 12-1 run and holding a ten point lead midway through the half with defensive pressure and better passing. Tennessee made its run soon thereafter, closing to three at 54-51 with just under seven minutes to play on a fast-break dunk by Brandon Crump. A turning point of the game came on the next series, when the Vols saw a three pointer from leading scorer Ron Slay roll around and out, whereupon the Hoyas answered with an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 11, 62-51, with 3:49 to play. The Hoyas effectively controlled its end-game possessions and kept the game out of reach.

Georgetown's scoring was balanced. Mike Sweetney led the Blue and Gray with 17, followed by 16 from Cook 15 from Gerald Riley, and 11 from Victor Samnick. Defensively, the Hoyas forced 19 turnovers and collected 18 assists, hitting 19 of 24 on the free throw line.

The loss was the first for Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson in five previous NIT games. Tennessee is 16-2 in games when holding opponents under 70 points. When opponents break the 70 point barrier, UT is now 1-10.

Georgetown's half of the box score:


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bowman      26   1-8  0-1  4-4   6   1   1    6
Samnick     21   5-6  0-0  1-2   1   0   4   11
Sweetney    32  6-13  0-0  5-7  14   3   3   17
Bethel      27   1-6  0-3  3-4   4   6   3    5
Riley       31  4-13  1-4  6-7   5   2   4   15
Reserves:
Freeman     16   0-5  0-0  0-0   5   1   2    0
Hall        11   0-1  0-0  0-0   0   1   0    0
Hillier      1   0-0  0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Owens        9   0-1  0-0  0-0   1   1   2    0
Cook        26  7-12  2-3  0-0   2   3   1   16
TOTALS     200 24-65 3-11 19-24 38  18  20   70

Post-game articles follow below.

NIT=Not In Town 3/17/03

Georgetown has not played a home game in the NIT since 1993 and will not for years to come. MCI Center is unavailable for games on short notice, and the NIT committee has disavowed hosting games at McDonough Gymnasium since Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins complained about the small gym's unsuitability for an NIT game, following a 71-44 Hoyas win over UTEP in 1993.

There were no such problems at Tennessee, where the 24,525 seat Thompson-Boling Arena is the second largest on-campus facility in Division I.

Big East Tournament Recap 3/17/03

Game recaps on Georgetown's two Big East tournament games can be reviewed in these links to the HOYA:

For a complete wrap-up of the tournament, visit the Big East web site.

Notre Dame 86, Georgetown 80 3/8/03

The Georgetown Hoyas have found plenty of ways to lose this season. But this one was, well, unusual.

For once, it was Notre Dame that lost a late lead and it was Georgetown that nearly pulled off the upset. However, a missed dunk with 10 seconds to play ended the comeback, resulting in an 86-80 loss to Notre Dame Saturday. The Hoyas fell short after erasing an 11 point deficit to two in the final three minutes.

Notre Dame (22-8) started slowly, with five turnovers in the first four minutes of play. Georgetown was unable to take advantage, however, as the Hoyas led by no ore than six and lost the lead with six minutes to play in the first half. The two teams played even into halftime, 37-all. Mike Sweetney led all scorers with 15 in the half.

For the second half, the Hoyas opened up strong and led 49-44 with 14:32 left. The Irish, led by Chris Thomas, began to turn up the volume while the Hoyas, without guard play to compensate for Thomas or outside shooting to alleviate the pressure on Mike Sweetney, failed to respond. The Irish tied the score at 53 and increased the lead to six, 63-57, with 8:18 to play. The Hoyas could have narrowed the lead to four, but Brandon Bowman was called for basket interference with 8:18 left. From that play, Thomas led the Irish on a 12-5 run to extend the lead to 13 with 5:23 to play.

With such a lead, a comfortable Notre Dame win seemed likely, but the Hoyas did not give up. Georgetown forced seven ND turnovers down the stretch and connected on three threes to close the gap. A long Gerald Riley jumper closed the count to 81-79 with 40 seconds to play; ironically, his foot was an inch or so inside the line or the lead would have fallen to one.

On its next series, ND made one free throw while GU made two, 82-80. Thomas added two more free throws at 84-80, when Riley streaked down the lane with an open look to the basket. Going for the high percentage dunk with :10 to play, it clanged off the rim and ND recovered, with Thomas adding the final two free throws of the game, 86-80.

"I was hoping to get fouled," Riley said of the play. "But that wasn't the play that cost us the game."

And he was right. Although Georgetown forced ND into a season high 22 turnovers, its defense was entirely too soft while the offense missed too many easy chances. ND scored on 51% from the field and 11 three pointers, while Georgetown was erratic across the board--Mike Sweetney scored 26 but missed half of his shots, most from short range. Forwards Victor Samnick and Brandon Bowman offered no support for scoring (combining to go 2 for 16) while the guards seemed tentative on shot selection and slow off the defensive set. Gerald Riley scored 21 for the game, Tony Bethel 17.

Chris Thomas led the Irish with 29, with an important 17 from Dan Miller and 15 from Matt Carroll, who was hampered by foul problems.

Notre Dame has now won six straight in MCI Center, four against Georgetown and two from the 2002 BB&T Classic. The outcome was only the fourth loss at a Senior Day home finale since 1976, ending perhaps the worst home court record by a Georgetown team in a generation. The Hoyas recorded six home court losses for only the third time since 1954. Since 1998, Georgetown is 24-27 (.470) in Big East games on its "home" court, and in the last two years has played one game better on the road (8-8) than it has at home (7-9).

Georgetown's half of the box score:

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bethel      34  7-17  2-7  1-2    0   5   4   17
Riley       36  8-16  3-5  2-4    6   2   4   21
Bowman      30   1-7  0-2  0-0    4   3   0    2
Samnick     22   1-9  0-0  1-2    7   1   3    3
Sweetney    39  9-18  0-0 8-10    9   3   4   26
Reserves:
Freeman     17   2-7  0-0  2-2    5   0   4    6
Hall         5   0-0  0-0  0-0    1   0   2    0
Owens        8   1-1  0-0  0-0    2   0   1    2
Cook         9   1-3  1-2  0-0    0   2   2    3
DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier
TOTALS     200 30-78 6-16 14-20  34  16  24   80

Post-game reports follow below.

Sweetney Co-Player Of The Week 3/5/03

Junior forward Mike Sweetney was named Big East co-player of the week for his play against Providence and Syracuse. Here's a link from GUHoyas.com with details.

Senior Profile: Trenton Hillier 3/5/03

After four years as a two-sport athlete at Georgetown, Trenton Hillier will be among three members of the Class of 2003 honored at Senior Day this Saturday. Here's a feature on Hillier from The HOYA.

Hillier has seen very little action this year after three years with more on-court time. "Of course Id have liked to play more, " Hillier said. "I would have liked to see my career be a little different, but I wouldn't do anything different. I've learned a lot, gotten a lot out of it, and definitely had a positive experience.

JYD Q&A 3/5/03

Toronto Raptors forward Jerome Williams (C '96) took part in the Q&A at Way More Sports.com, with comments on everything from Jennifer Lopez to what it was like to room with Allen Iverson.

Williams, a well known pro wrestling fan, also lists the last book he's read: the autobiography of Hulk Hogan.

From Antoine to "Madgesdiq" 3/5/03

Georgetown fans may remember Antoine Stoudamire, a 6-3 guard who played at Georgetown from 1989 to 1991. Here's an article from the Willamette Weekly Online on Stoudamire's new career as a rapper named Madgesdiq.

Georgetown 69, West Virginia 67 3/4/03

"All I was thinking was: Not again. Not again." Gerald Riley, in the Washington Post

Like the script of an old-time Western, the Georgetown Hoyas are anything if not predictable. This Monday, they rewrote the ending.

Facing a scene which could have cancelled them from post season consideration, some early heroics and some late calls spared the Hoyas another crushing defeat, allowing Georgetown a 69-67 win at West Virginia, assuring the Hoyas a trip to the Big East Tournament and no worse than a .500 season, the minimum requirement for NIT consideration.

The win was also Georgetown's third straight road win. This is the first three game road winning streak in Big East play since the 1991-92 season.

The game featured enough twists and turns as any melodrama could offer. Georgetown opened the game by outscoring the Mountaineers 11-1 and by double digits throughout much of the half, keyed by four three pointers by Gerald Riley, a sharp contrast to his 3 for 17 effort versus Syracuse two days earlier. The Mountaineers shot very poorly early, missing 12 of 16 three pointers, but those four threes and seven Georgetown turnovers allowed WVU to stay close in a 39-28 halftime score.

The second half opened with another Georgetown spurt, extending its lead to 48-34 with 17:00 to play. The Mountaineers tried to adjust to its shooting woes with a more patient offensive set, and closed to nine, 50-41, with 13:35 to play. Following a brief scare where Georgetown's Mike Sweetney landed hard on his ankle and WVU closed to five, Sweetney helped build back the lead to 55-48 with just over nine minutes remaining, part of an 18 point, 16 rebound effort.

The Mountaineers began to chip away at the lead. Foul shots. A three pointer. A steal. Still, the Hoyas held tough and led 63-55 with 3:50 to play. (OK, cue the piano.)

 Now, the "deer in the headlights" guard play took over. Bringing the ball up court in a slow-down offense, Drew Hall threw the ball away, answered by a WVU basket, 63-57. On its next series, Tony Bethel dribbles the ball off his foot and WVU takes off on a fast break. Fouled by Hall, the Mountaineers miss a key free throw but get the ball back on a third straight Georgetown turnover, where WVU is fouled and makes the free throws, 63-59. On the next possession, Hall loses the ball again, leading to a WVU layup as the defense sags, 63-61. At this point, the train is coming around the bend and the Hoyas' foot is firmly between the rails.

Georgetown's next possession failed to deliver a bad turnover but Gerald Riley's three pointer was wide, and WVU exploited Bethel's position on the court for a dunk to tie the score, 63-all. The Hoyas caught a break on a pair of WVU misses and connect on free throws to take a 66-63 lead with 24 seconds left. The teams exchange free throws and the Hoyas lead 68-65 with 13.4 seconds, setting up the big finish.

West Virginia was guarded closely by the Hoyas and its three point shot is short. But the ball is saved and tossed inside to Patrick Beilein, who gets the layup to 68-67, narrowly avoiding a foul call when Tony Bethel ran into him on the shot.

Fouled immediately, Drew Hall missed the first shot, and made the second. WVU called time out and the mystery of the 2.6 seconds begins.

With 2.6 remaining, a pass to half court was interrupted when Drew Hall nearly collided into Drew Schifino as it sailed out of bounds. No time went off the clock, and now the Mountaineers had the ball at mid-court thanks to Hall's mistake. Coach Esherick immediately notified the crew that the ball had been tipped by Victor Samnick off the inbound, and the officials went to the videotape. After nearly three minutes of review, the clock was reduced to 1.6 seconds. The time change was crucial, for Schifino had no time to set up a good shot and his attempt fell short. And that one second off the clock was enough to give the Hoyas a ticket to the Garden and (perhaps) an NIT bid.

The Mountaineers' poor outside shooting really cost them in the game. WVU shot 50% from two point range but missed 21 of 28 three point attempts. Though they hit seven threes, if some of those had gone inside for two, the outcome would have been different. WVU needs a win Saturday for a Big East bid, mindful that they have lost five straight, but four of those were losses of four or fewer points.

Gerald Riley led all Georgetown scorers with 23 points, though he was only 1-5 from three point range in the second half. Sweetney scored 18, and Brandon Bowman played a fine game with 11 points, 5 assists, and only one turnover. Georgetown has now won eight straight over West Virginia, the longest such streak against a single team since none in a row over Seton Hall from 1994-98. And for all its well documented overtime woes, the Hoyas are a better team winning in regulation, and are now 26-28 since 1990 in games of three points or less that didn't go to overtime.

Despite the finish that we all saw coming, the Hoyas hung on. How's that for a surprise ending?

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bethel      35   2-5  0-1  2-2    3   4   2   6
Riley       35  7-16  5-10 4-4    2   0   2  23
Bowman      23   5-9  0-1  1-2    4   5   3  11
Samnick     22   2-6  0-0  0-0    3   1   0   4
Sweetney    37  5-10  0-0 8-10   16   2   4  18
Reserves:
Freeman     14   1-3  0-0  0-0    2   0   3   2
Hall        22   1-3  0-1  1-3    4   2   1   3
Ross         4   0-1  0-0  0-0    0   0   0   0
Owens        8   1-2  0-0  0-0    1   1   0   2
DNP: Faulkner, Hillier, Cook

TOTALS     200 24-55 5-13 16-21  35  15  15  69

Post-game reports follow below.

Syracuse 93, Georgetown 84 (OT) 3/2/03

"Eleven games... I've never seen a team, and I doubt there's even been a team, that's been behind by as many points as we have in 11 games in the second half and won all 11."--Jim Boeheim in the Syracuse Post-Standard

Gerry McNamara scored 10 of his 22 points in overtime as the Syracuse Orangemen came back from two double-digit deficits to defeat the Georgetown Hoyas 93-84 before 17,352 at the Carrier...er...MCI Center. The neutral confines of the building were filled with as much as half the arena were Syracuse fans who picked up discounted tickets, and whose vocal support led the Orange to its 11th second half comeback of the season and 21st win in 25 games. Syracuse is 10-1 in overtime games since 1997.

Georgetown opened the game with a bang, with an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes, thanks to very poor shooting (1 for 12) by Syracuse. The Hoyas maintained a lead of at least nine points throughout much of the half, but went cold late, scoring only one field goal in the final 6:30, giving SU a means to climb back into the game. With Gerald Riley and Mike Sweetney shooting a combined 1 for 11 in the half, Syracuse closed the gap to three, 30-27.

The Hoyas started out strong again. Sweetney scored 11 points in the first seven minutes as the Hoyas opened a 12 point lead, 45-33. With Gerald Riley and Victor Samnick in foul trouble, though, the Orangemen raced back and closed to three, 48-45, with 10:04 left. Syracuse's rebounds (discussed below) were a major factor in getting them back into the game, as reserve Courtland Freeman was unable to protect the middle.

Leading 60-56 with 3:43 to play, Drew Hall fouled Syracuse's Gerry McNamara on a three point goal, and the Orange began their run, a run at the free throw line where they would make 11 straight free throws over the next six minutes. With Victor Samnick fouling out, Syracuse took the lead at the 5:03 mark, and the two teams battled back and forth until a Tony Bethel three and a follow-up pair of free throws gave Georgetown a four point lead, 72-68, with 2:24 to play.

McNamara bailed out the Orange with a long three to cut the lead tom 72-71 with 2:05 to play. Fouled on the next possession, Courtland Freeman made one of two free throws, 74-71 at the 1:07 mark, and after Carmelo Anthony missed a long three, the Hoyas stood to make the save, when the game turned. Off the miss, a two from Billy Edelin closed the gap 74-73. Bringing the ball up court, bethel was surrounded and lost the ball in the backcourt to Edelin, who scored and was fouled by Brandon Bowman. Georgetown's three point lead was suddenly a two point deficit.

After a Gerald Riley miss, Anthony missed two free throws, and Georgetown failed to convert a second time. McNamara, who had made 41 straight free throws entering the game, missed his first attempt with :11 to play, but made the second, to lead 77-74. On its last play, a pass into Mike Sweetney was alertly tapped back to Riley, who sank a three pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

In the OT, McNamara took over, shooting 5 for 7, with a pair of 30 foot three pointers that blew the game open. The Hoyas made one field goal in the overtime and never seriously threatened thereafter.

Syracuse's poor free throw shooting kept the Hoyas close, but their rebounding may have won the game. The Orangemen out-rebounded the Blue and Gray by an astounding 60-43, only the second game in the Big East era where the Hoyas gave up 60 rebounds--the other was in the 4 OT Notre Dame game. After 14 games, for the first time ever, the Hoyas have now given up more rebounds to Big East opponents than they have collected.

Mike Sweetney turned in another heroic effort, with 31 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks, 25 in the second half alone. Carmelo Anthony led the Orangemen with a career high 30 points and 15 rebounds, with McNamara adding 22 points. For the Hoyas, Gerald Riley may have tied the game, but his 3 for 17 shooting was a career low. Brandon Bowman continues on his poor shooting run, hitting 2 for 9 in the game, while Syracuse's Hakim Warrick went to town on the young Bowman, scoring 14 points and collecting 18 rebounds. Each team only picked up five steals, with Syracuse giving up 13 turnovers to Georgetown's ten.

That the Hoyas could have given up 24 offensive rebounds, shoot 36 percent, and still take the game into overtime says how close this team has been all year. But unless it's horseshoes or hand grenades, close doesn't count. Depth is short, and so is time. Both are running short for the Hoyas' hopes for the post-season...any post-season, forcing a must win in the final week of play to advance to the Big East Tournament. Without a win, the season ends Saturday.

Georgetown's half of the box score:


           MIN  2FG  3FG    FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Starters:
Bethel      35   5-8 4-5   5-5   3   1   5   19
Riley       32  3-17 1-7   0-0   2   1   4    7
Bowman      29   2-9 0-0   2-4   8   2   4    6
Samnick     18   3-7 0-0   0-0   2   1   5    6
Sweetney    43   0-0 8-15 15-17 19   7   3   31
Reserves:
Freeman     25   4-9 0-0   3-6   3   3   4   11
Hall        24   1-2 1-1   0-0   0   2   3    3
Owens       12   0-2 0-0   0-0   0   2   2    0
Cook         7   0-3 0-2   1-2   0   1   1    1
DNP: Faulkner, Ross, Hillier, Beal  
TOTALS     225 26-72 6-15  26-34 37  20  31  84

Post-game reports follow below.

Overtime Blues 3/2/03

For a lot of Georgetown fans, you can't spell "lost" without "ot".

More than any major college program, Georgetown struggles in overtime games, and not just in recent years, either. At 1-3 in extended play this season, the Hoyas are now 6-21 (.222) in overtime games since 1989: a stunning 2-7 (.222) at home, an astounding 1-11 (.083) on the road, and a more respectable 3-3 (.500) at neutral sites.


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
2002-03 L  84-93 (OT)    Syracuse
Ewing Honored At Garden 3/1/03

In an elaborate halftime ceremony that brought together nearly a hundred former teammates, coaches, and NBA greats, Patrick Ewing (C'85) was honored with his #33 being raised to the rafters at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. The 31 minute event was broadcast live on the ESPN and MSG networks.

The guests at the event included Ewing's father and children, Ewing's contemporaries like Michael Jordan< Chris Mullin, and Charles Barkley, former high school coach Mike Jarvis, former college coach John Thompson, and fellow Georgetown alumni Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. Also in the stands, Patricia Hopkins, a 37 year old mother from Hoboken, NJ who helped Ewing get back his Georgetown ring after it was stolen and placed briefly on Ebay.

"He called me and said thanks for getting my ring back," Hopkins said in this link to the New York Daily News. "I was shocked when he called me. He thanked me for the support over the years. I told him I would always support him."

Coach Thompson told Newsday : "New York likes to portray itself as being so tough, but it means a lot that you are honoring Patrick like this. You're not such hard-asses as you pretend to be. Patrick did all he could do with what God gave him."

"And even worse, he's a damn New Yorker," Thompson joked.

Ewing was modest throughout the ceremony and contrary to a pre-event bet discussed on-air with Michael Jordan, Ewing did not shed tears at the event.

"I keep hearing whose the greatest New York Knick of all time," he said. "I don't think I was the greatest Knick. I see all those guys here. They laid the groundwork. Nobody was better than them. I'm not better than them."

"You don't know how great it feels to be up there with all those great Knicks. There were bets to see if I would cry tonight. Even though I may not shed a tear, you don't know how much joy I feel inside." Ewing later told ESPN he came closest to a tear when receiving a hug from Alonzo Mourning (C'92) during the ceremony.

After the number was raised, arena announcer Mike Walczewski announced over the P.A. system: "One final time...at center... 7-footer from Georgetown...Pat-rick Ew-ing!" Ewing jogged to center court, "his place in Knick history now entrenched on a frenzied Garden night", said the New York Post.

Almost incidental to the ceremony was the game, where the Knicks defeated Orlando 118-110. Othella Harrington (C'96) scored 21 points for the Knicks in front of his former coach and fellow alumni.

Ewing's #33 is the eighth player so honored in the 57 year history of the franchise. Other numbers retired include #10 (Walt Frazier), #12 (Dick Barnett), #15 (Earl Monroe, Dick McGuire), #19 (Willis Reed) #22 (Dave DeBusschere), and #24 (Bill Bradley).

Here are links to coverage of this historic night:

 

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