Home  >  >  2002-03 Archive

Georgetown Basketball: 2003-04 News Archive
Last updated March 14, 2004

Boston College 68, Georgetown 57 3/12/04

The recap of the Boston College game was not posted to the site. Please see The HOYA for a game recap.

Virginia Tech 60, Georgetown 55 3/6/04

"I told the kids at the 10-minute mark, 'Guys, you keep playing hard, you'll turn this into a home game. When [the fans] started going, 'Let's go, Hokies,'...it was like Cassell [Coliseum] North." --Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, in the Roanoke Times

"We know they're not the Georgetown of the past. They work hard, but they go through stretches where they are just not Georgetown." --Bryant Matthews, in the Washington Times

Failing to score in the final 4:42 of Saturday's 60-55 against Virginia Tech, the 11,286 who filed out of MCI Center saw another predictable fold by a team whose season has cast a shadow of gloom over the Georgetown program and its fan base.

The first half opened with promise for the Hoyas, hoping to end a seven game losing streak. The Hokies got into early foul trouble and GU held a 24-17 lead with 6:59 to play in the half. Despite shooting 50% from the field and holding its opponents to 34% shooting (23% from three point range), the Hoyas missed a number of early opportunities and led by only three at the half, 32-29.

VT entered the second half and exploited Georgetown's weak inside game, scoring on a number of uncontested dunks and layups to take the lead 40-38 before what a vocal Hokie road fan base. Down 43-40, a Matt Causey three was whistled off by the referees, answered by a Bryant Matthews three, 46-40, then matched by a Brandon Bowman three, 46-43. A Gerald Riley jumper got the Hoyas back to three at 51-48 with 5:39 to play, and the Hoya defense then forced a 45 second shot clock violation. A Riley three and a pair of Courtland Freeman free throws gave the G-men a two point lead, 55-53, with 4:42 to play.

Much as it has done for the past three years, the end of the game took its toll on the starters, who averaged 35 minutes a game. The defense forced a VT miss, but Riley missed a jumper. The defense held again with 3:30 to play, but riley missed a jumper and the Hoyas picked up a foul. The Hokies missed the free throw, but Brandon Bowman tumbled to the floor off the rebound, traveling. On the ensuing play, VT's Bryant Matthews hit a three pointer, 56-55, with 2:14 to play.

On the Hoyas' next series, Courtland Freeman was tapped inside but missed his shot, and the Gobblers increased the lead to 58-55 on a Matthews tip-in. Georgetown's final two possessions ended in turnovers.

A recap of the final seven possessions: miss, miss, turnover, miss, miss, turnover, turnover.

For the game the Hoyas shot 48% from the field but gave up 12 second half turnovers. The real story of the game was GU's transparent defense inside, allowing Matthews 26 points, many of them on second chance points, thanks to a 10-3 VT edge on offensive rebounds.

The performance of Georgetown's three seniors was emblematic of much of its collective senior year: Gerald Riley was 5-9 (11 points) but missed his last three shots. Courtland Freeman missed six of eight inside shots and collected only two rebounds. Omari Faulkner got a minute of playing time and picked up a rebound and a foul.

The bench took one field goal attempt and contributed no points.

The following marks were set following the game:

  • Longest losing streak (eight) since 1971-72.
  • First regular season below .500 since 1972-73.
  • Fewest Big East wins in its 25 years in the league.
  • Seven straight games under sixty points, last seen in 1948-49.
  • First season under 35 rebounds a game since 1980-81.
  • 14 losses in its last 17 games.
  • Only one win (Rutgers) against a team ranked higher in the RPI.
  • Only two wins (Davidson, Rutgers) against teams with a winning record.

Here's the Georgetown half of the box score.

          MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook      35   2-4   2-3   0-0   4   0   2   10
Bowman    38   5-7   3-5   0-0   8   1   3   19
Freeman   31   2-8   0-0   4-6   2   0   4    8
Owens     36   3-4   0-2   1-3   6   3   2    7
Riley     36   3-6   1-3   2-2   2   2   1   11
Faulkner   1   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   0   1    0
Causey    14   0-0   0-1   0-1   1   4   1    0
Kilk.-Diaw 9   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   0   2    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic  
TOTALS   200 15-29  6-14  7-12  25  10  16   55

Post-game links follow below.

Full Text Of DeGioia Remarks 3/5/04

The following text was provided by the Hoya Hoop Club.

"As someone who has a 29-year affiliation with Georgetown University and its athletic department, I take special pride in our tradition of athletic and academic excellence. I am very committed to continuing our tradition, especially in men’s basketball, by fielding competitive teams, ensuring that our students get the very best educations, and setting a standard for integrity. I believe that this season’s men’s basketball team, and our new class of recruits, hold a great deal of promise. I have confidence that Craig Esherick—who helped to build our tradition of excellence in men’s basketball—is the right person to strengthen and lead our program.”

Esherick: "I Ain't Going Anywhere" 3/5/04

An angry Craig Esherick lashed out at critics Friday night on the eve of the Virginia Tech game.

"I ain't going anywhere. I may be here for another 30 years. And you can quote me on that," Esherick told the Associated Press.

The Washington Times reported Friday that despite general discontent over the Hoyas 2003-04 slide, Georgetown University president Jack DeGioia (C'79) has rebuffed public efforts to force his hand on Esherick's six year tenure as head coach.

Notre Dame 61, Georgetown 48 3/4/04

"I've seen them play since way back when,
And they've always had the grit;
I've seen 'em lose and I've seen 'em win
But I've never seen 'em quit."

These words of hope, from a famous poem at Texas A&M University titled "The Last Corps Trip" also epitomized many Georgetown Hoyas teams of old. But in the last two games, the smell of quit seems to be hanging around this team.

After a lifeless, uninspired effort against Seton Hall, the Hoyas turned in a carbon copy of Saturday's game, failing to reach 50 points for the second straight game, a tiring 61-48 loss to Notre Dame. The Hoyas finish a perfect 0-4 in nationally televised games in 2003-04, with losses to Duke, Temple, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, and have dropped 13 of its last 17 by an average margin of 12.9 points per game.

Like the Seton Hall game of last week, both teams started out which a whimper, combining to miss of 19 of their combined 22 shots in the first five minutes of play. A 10-2 run midway in the first half was all ND needed, as the Hoyas shot 7 for 32 in the half and trailed, 30-16. The only basket of note was Gerald Riley's jumper with 7:55 in the half, ending a two game streak of 17 consecutive missed shots, but he went on to miss five of his next seven for a two game total of 3-24 (that's 1 of 15 from two point range). Thanks to numerous ND misses, the Hoyas actually took in a season high 27 first half rebounds, but very few led to points.

The second half also followed the Seton Hall pattern--weak defense, lack of concentration (a missed dunk here, missed layups there, etc.) and very little enthusiasm despite a ND lead of 10-15 points most of the half. Any semblance of a run would have kept ND honest, but no such run was there. That the coaching staff waited until 30 seconds in the game to substitute the starters for bench players like Ken Izzo was about 19 minutes and thirty seconds late--the starters should have sat while the reserves showed what they are capable of. (And as for Sead Dizdarevic, well, keep the faith.)

Brandon Bowman scored 17 points and 15 rebounds, and outside of Bowman and the play of Matt Causey, the rest of the team simply did not come to play. Guards Ashanti Cook and Gerald Riley were a disturbing 7 of 31 (.226), while center Courtland Freeman missed seven of his nine shots around the basket. Darrel Owens continued his vanishing act from the stat book, with three missed shots and no field goals in 18 minutes. Georgetown shot 5-14 (35%) from three point range. It shot a season low 26% (13-50) from two point range.

A similar effort Saturday will end the season with the ignominy of the school's second losing season since 1974 and a long week for 1,200 Hoyas fans with tickets already in hand to the Big East tournament. A win will still give the Hoyas a chance for redemption on the Garden stage, and with a 22-2 all-time record in first round Big East games, maintains a fighting chance.

In the meantime, here's the Georgetown half of a bad box score.

          MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook       35  3-13  1-5  0-0   6   1   0    9
Riley      35   1-8  2-5  2-2   6   1   2   10
Owens      18   0-3  0-0  0-0   3   1   0    0
Bowman     39  4-11  2-4  3-5  15   1   4   17
Freeman    25   2-9  0-0  2-3   3   1   0    6
Faulkner    1   0-0  0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Izzo        1   0-0  0-0  0-0   1   1   0    0
Reed        7   1-1  0-0  0-0   2   1   0    2
Causey     25   1-4  0-0  0-0   6   2   4    2
Beal        1   0-0  0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Kilk.-Diaw 13   1-1  0-0  0-0   2   0   1    2
DNP: Dizdarevic
TOTALS    200 13-50 5-14 7-10 12-44   9  11   48

Post-game links follow below.

Kanach To Randolph-Macon 3/4/04

The Hanover (VA) Herald-Progress is reporting that Georgetown senior associate athletic director Denis Kanach will be named athletic director at Randolph-Macon College at a Thursday press conference. An additional article is found in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

 A 1969 graduate of Manhattan College, Kanach has served at Georgetown for 30 years in various roles including associate track and field coach, the director of the Yates Field House, and the chief operating officer of the athletic department. He has been a key contact in navigating the labyrinth of University and District red tape to move the boathouse and Multi-Sport facility projects forward, and was directly involved with the football program's move to the Patriot League in 2001.

"It is important to understand the competitiveness of an athletic program within the context of the educational mission of the college," said Kanach in a R-MC release. "It is my hope to be able to challenge our students outside the classroom, the same way they are challenged inside the classroom and to be as good as they can be."

Seton Hall 75, Georgetown 48 3/1/04

"I don't know what it is, but it's not there. We just don't have it."
-Gerald Riley in the Washington Times

"It was just another day at the office."
--Marcus Toney-El, in the Newark Star Ledger

With a run of first half offensive futility unmatched in the Big East era, and a second half of defense little better, Georgetown dropped its sixth straight game Saturday with little resistance, 75-48. A starting five which has increasingly been knocked to the floor late in close games was down for the count early and never got up.

Neither team scored for the first 2:51 of the game, but that was as close as the Hoyas would be all evening. The Pirates held the Hoyas scoreless for over 12 minutes in the half, as the Pirates took an 18-5 lead and added 11 of the next 15, 29-9. Georgetown missed 17 of its first 18 shots.

At halftime, Georgetown posted its lowest halftime score, 30-14, in the Big East era, only three points removed from the all-time conference record of 11. It was the fewest points scored in a first half since a 37-36 loss to St. Joseph's in 1979 in the pre-shot clock era. Georgetown's 3 for 22 shooting defies description--Brandon Bowman accounted for 3 for 8 shooting, the rest of the team was 0 for 14.

The Hoyas shot better in the second, but by this time their defense had left them slow-footed and ripe for the picking, Seton Hall Andre Barrett was the fourth guard in as many games to torch Ashanti Cook and the Georgetown guard defenses, hitting eight straight shots en route to a 25 point game for the senior. Georgetown never closed within 12 and was simply not a factor.

Brandon Bowman led the team with 20 points, including six of the team's combined 10 two point field goals. Gerald Riley will get his share of catcalls for turning in a statistic without peer in Georgetown shooting annals: 0 for 11 from the field. But bear this in mind--if Riley had shot 11-11, the Hoyas would still have been five points short, thanks to a defense allowed Seton Hall 18 points off turnovers and 63% shooting in the second half. Outside of Bowman's 20, no other Georgetown player had more than two field goals. Center Courtland Freeman had as many turnovers as rebounds (three), while Darrel Owens turned in only five points. Owens scored in double figures in nine of his first 11 games; in his last eight, he is averaging less than two field goals a game.

Bench scoring was, again, negligible: six points.

It was the fifth consecutive game Georgetown has scored 60 or fewer points, and its lowest score against a Big East opponent since a 40 point effort against the Hall in the 2001 conference tournament.

Coaches can exhort, fans can cheer them on, but in the end, the players have to produce. Whatever strength and pride the 2003-04 Hoyas have left in them must be expended this week, or the season ends with it.

The Georgetown half of the full box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook       29   1-3   0-1  2-2   3   1   5    4
Riley      37   0-7   0-4  8-9   2   1   2    8
Owens      25   1-2   1-4  0-0   4   0   2    5
Bowman     39  6-14   1-3  5-7  11   0   4   20
Freeman    26   1-4   0-0  3-4   3   1   3    5
Faulkner    1   0-0   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed       15   0-3   0-0  1-2   1   0   1    1
Causey     17   0-1   1-2  0-0   2   3   3    3
Beal        1   0-0   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Kilk.-Diaw 10   1-1   0-0  0-0   1   0   1    2
DNP: Izzo, Dizdarevic
TOTALS   200  10-35  3-14 19-24 27   6  21   48

Post-game links follow below.

Pittsburgh 68, Georgetown 58 2/24/04

"Chants of "Let's Go Pitt ... Let's Go Pitt," echoed through the MCI Center. And, if you wouldn't have known better, you might have sworn it was a home game for the Panthers. "That got us going," Krauser said of the crowd. "We didn't want to disappoint all those cheering fans."--Joe Bendel, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For the second straight game, Georgetown threw a scare into a nationally ranked opponent, but could not hold a lead.

A 17-0 Pitt run paced the #3-ranked Panthers past the Hoyas, 68-58, the fifth straight loss by a Georgetown team needing only one win to qualify for the Big East tournament, and its fourth straight game scoring fewer than 60 points.

Georgetown opened the game with a strong effort, shutting down Pitt's outside shooting and picking up turnovers. Pitt gave up five turnovers in the first nine minutes as Georgetown built a 17-8 lead off of 7-13 shooting. The Hoyas held the Panthers to one field goal in its next 4:20, as a pair of Brandon Bowman jumpers and an Ashanti Cook three pointer paced the Hoyas to a surprising 26-13 lead with five minutes to play in the half.

The Georgetown coaching staff did not substitute freely in the game, and the starters began to slow down towards the end of the half. From its 26-13 lead, Georgetown missed five of its final six shots as Pitt closed to 28-20 at the half. Pitt had surrendered turnovers on seven of its final 10 first half possessions, and had given up more turnovers in the half (14) as they average per game.

The Panthers continued to struggle entering the second half. Numerous three point attempts were wide, so it moved inside. Freshman center Chris Taft scored eight straight points on dunks and short jumpers to close the lead to 37-31 with 13:19 to play, but gerald Riley answered back with five of his own to extend the lead to 39-31 with 12:55 to play. A pair of Bowman free throws with 11:55 to play gave Georgetown a 41-33, whereupon Krauser and the Pitt defense (and fans) woke up.

Still struggling on shooting, the Panthers climbed into the game on the foul line scoring four from the line to close to 41-37, followed by a Carl Krauser three to narrow the lead to 41-40, part of a 17-0 run where the Hoyas scored one field goal in eight minutes. But unlike previous droughts where the Hoyas couldn't hit the side of a barn, this streak was primarily a result of defense. For a four minute run from 8:54 to 4:49, Georgetown took only four shots, but more importantly did not get a rebound on any of the possessions (more on that below). By the time Jaron Brown connected on free throws with 2:15 to play, Pitt was up 56-44 and MCI Center lived up to its reputation as the "Friendliest Road Arena In The Big East", with Pitt cheers bellowing across the empty arena.

The Hoyas didn't give up, forcing three Pitt turnovers in a 47 second span and closing the gap to 56-51 with 1:28 to play. The Panthers closed out the game at the free throw line, with 10 of its final 12 coming from the free throw line. Krauser scored 19 of his game high 26 points in the second half.

Gerald Riley led all Georgetown scorers with 25 points. For the game, Georgetown shot 42 percent, gave up only 10 turnovers, and picked up 11 steals. Its three point shooting was poor, as usual, but that didn't cost them the game. Frequent fouls gave Pitt a huge advantage at the foul line, with 33 attempts to Georgetown's 10. These stats didn't tell the tale of the game, either. What did? Rebounds.

Pittsburgh outrebounded Georgetown 40-20. Yes, by twenty.

In the second half alone, Georgetown was outrebounded by a stunning margin of 24-8, including a 16-4 edge on defensive rebounds. In the middle, fifth year senior Courtland Freeman was outrebounded by freshman Chris Taft 12 -3. With no second chances to score, the Pitt defense would prove too much at the end.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below. The bench again provided little help (no shots, one rebound, six fouls), but the coaching staff opted to go with the best it had: the starters averaged over 36 minutes each.

          MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook      39   4-5   2-7   1-2   1   4   0   15
Bowman    39  4-12   0-3   2-2   9   1   3   10
Freeman   36   2-6   0-0   0-0   3   2   4    4
Owens     31   2-3   0-0   0-0   1   1   4    4
Riley     38  8-14   2-7   3-4   2   0   4   25
Faulkner   3   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   2    0
Reed       3   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Causey     6   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   0   4    0
Kilk.-Diaw 5   0-0   0-0   0-2   0   0   2    0
Team Rebounds                    3
DNP: Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic  
TOTALS   200 20-40  4-17  6-10  20   8  23   58

Post-game articles follow below.

Syracuse 57, Georgetown 54 2/21/04

"That was an incredible shot. I was getting ready for overtime." -Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim

Spoiling Georgetown's best defensive game of the season, Gerry McNamara hit a three pointer at the buzzer to lift #24 Syracuse past Georgetown, 57-54, before 5,389 Georgetown fans and another 10,000 from Syracuse at MCI ("The Friendliest Road Arena In The Big East") Center.

Georgetown arrived on the court wearing gray uniforms for the first time since the 1996-97 season, and opened with another blast from the past: defense. Following a 3-2 Syracuse lead, the Hoyas took control by forcing turnovers--Syracuse spotted GU seven turnovers in the first eight minutes of play, but 3 for 13 shooting gave the Hoyas only a one point lead, 8-7. The Hoyas led by as many as five early, 22-17, thanks to a combined 2 for 9 shooting by Syracuse's Hakim Warrick and Gerry McNamara, its leading scorers. Utilizing an effective mix of interior and exterior defense, the Hoyas held Syracuse without a field goal for the final four minutes of the half, while its offense sputtered to a surprising 25-22 lead at the half.

The Hoyas maintained the shutout for the first 3:10 of the half, extending the lead to 30-24 before SU got into the scoring column. The Orange whittled the lead down to three points midway in the half, whereupon a Hakim Warrick jumper gave Syracuse a 37-36 lead. To its credit, the Hoyas bent but did not break, and a Gerald Riley three renewed the Hoyas confidence and regained the lead, 39-37.

Georgetown turned the surprising lead back to six, 47-41, as freshman Matt Causey led the drive at point, with Ashanti Cook moving to a shooting guard position. Cook struggled from the field, but also struggled against McNamara during a critical stretch where McNamara, 1 for 7 from three point range, hit consecutive threes to narrow the lead to 49-48 with 4:20 to go.

On its next series, Georgetown connected on one of two free throws, and each team traded a pair of free throws to a 52-50 score with 2:12 left. On the possession, Cook turned the ball over and Josh Pace went in for the tying score, 52-52. On its next series, Darrel Owens lost the ball on the inbound pass with :57 to play, and Syracuse took the lead thirty seconds thereafter, 54-52.

On its final possession, Matt Causey missed a three pointer that was scooped up and put in by Courtland Freeman with :05 to play, 54-54. On the ensuing play, Warrick was surrounded by Bowman and Freeman, but found McNamara cutting away from Owens to the top of the key. With Owens and Cook swarming in, McNamara launched the three with 0.6 seconds left for the win.

There was considerable consternation from those watching on TV arguing that Georgetown should have immediately fouled Warrick, as the ESPN broadcast showed that Georgetown had two fouls to give. However, game statistics noted that the Hoyas already had six fouls and the next would have given Syracuse the bonus.

The much improved defensive effort over St. John's did not obscure another poor shooting effort from the field. Brandon Bowman shot a career low 3 for 16, followed by Gerald Riley (3-13) and Courtland Freeman (2-8). Bowman and Riley combined for a miserable 4-24 (16%) from inside the three point arc. The bench supplied only two field goals.

The coaching staff continues to be frustrated by the poor shooting. "We definitely missed some shots again, and that's been a common refrain of mine the whole season," coach Craig Esherick said after the game. The Hoyas are shooting at a league-low 31 percent rate heading into the stretch run of the season.

The loss, its fourth in a row and seventh of the last eight, leaves the Hoyas only a game ahead of Miami for the 12th and last spot in the Big East Tournament. Next up: #4-ranked Pittsburgh.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

           MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook        33  5-10  0-3  3-4   5   3   1   13
Riley       35   1-9  2-4  5-6   4   0   3   13
Owens       27   2-6  1-2  0-0   5   0   1    7
Bowman      38  3-15  0-1  1-2  12   4   2    7
Freeman     24   2-8  0-0  2-2   5   1   4    6
Faulkner    4    0-0  0-0  0-0   0   1   0    0
Reed        1    0-0  0-0  0-1   1   0   0    0
Causey     21    0-1  1-3  2-2   0   4   3    5
Kilk.-Diaw 17    1-3  0-0  1-2   8   0   1    3
DNP: Izzo, Beal
TOTALS    200  14-52 4-13 14-19 40  13  15   54

Post game links follow below. A photo of McNamara's shot is found in the link to The HOYA.

Where's the Bench? Stats Updated 2/21/04

One of the troublesome stats during the Hoyas' Big East run has been the lack of scoring from the bench.

With RaMell Ross injured, only one of the six remaining reserves entered the season with prior conference experience. However, with 23 games into the season, the six man bench has nonetheless combined to average just over six points in Big East play this season:

    Ray Reed: 12 games, 44 points (3.7 ppg)
    Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw: 12 games, 15 points (1.3 ppg)
    Matt Causey: 12 games, 10 points (0.8 ppg)
    Omari Faulkner: 9 games, 3 points (0.3 ppg)
    Sead Dizdarevic: 7 games, 2 points (0.3 ppg)
    Ken Izzo: 0 games, 0 points (0.0 ppg)

Over the last 20 years, bench support has followed a slow decline for the Hoyas:
Year # On Bench PPG % of Total
1983-84 7 28.3 37.3%
1988-89 10 24.2 32.8%
1993-94 9 17.7 26.2%
1998-99 8 13.0 18.9%
2003-04 6 6.4 9.1%
Daily Orange On Hoyas' Slide 2/20/04

The Syracuse Daily Orange has an article on the Hoyas' slide from national prominence. Among the reasons: Georgetown's lack of impact recruits.

"Coach Thompson just had a way of attracting big name players to the school," said Daymond Jackson (C'99). "He just made a great connection with a lot of people, and with the success he had at the school, you knew you were going to a top program."

"Even though I knew some of what Coach Thompson was responsible for, you don't really get a feel for all the things he did until you sit in that chair," Coach Esherick told the paper. "Every time there is a phone call to be made, the head coach is the one who people want to talk to. The toughest adjustment has been just the number of things that I'm now responsible for."

St. John's 65, Georgetown 58 2/19/04

"Still undermanned, St. John's beat a woeful Georgetown team, 65-58, last night at Madison Square Garden, proving that for at least one night, there was a basketball team worse than St. John's."--New York Times

"Before the game, Courtland [Freeman] said 'Don't underestimate anybody because anybody can win.' And I think a lot of people came out lackadaisical."--Darrel Owens, in The HOYA

"We'd sure hate to be in Georgetown's shoes today."--Duke Basketball Report

Displaying the worst elements of an unprepared, unmotivated, and increasingly unresponsive team, the Georgetown Hoyas turned in its worst on-court performance in three decades in a humbling 65-58 loss. The Big East setback came against a winless St. John's team with only four scholarship players, a team which lost its last three games by an average margin of twenty points.

And this was no buzzer beater, either. Georgetown last held a lead with 15 minutes to play in the first half, despite picking off lazy St. John's passes and owning an edge on at least three player to player matchups. St. John's two best players, guards Darryl Hill and Andre Stanley, had little opposition in shooting 13 for 26 (50%) and combining for 35 of St. John's 65 points. Georgetown's starting tandem of Ashanti Cook and Gerald Riley combined to shoot 5 for 20 (25%), with 11 turnovers between them.

Still, this was a team effort.

Georgetown opened the game with an effort and attitude more akin to a game with Grambling State, replete with poor shots, out of position passing, and numerous mistakes unfit for a Big East conference game. At one point, the Hoyas were outrebounded 10-2 on the offensive boards, and finished with six baskets in the last 16 minutes of the half. Its 11 turnovers allowed the Redmen a 28-24 lead and an dangerous intangible for a winless team--confidence.

The Hoyas tied the score at 30-all but continued a pattern of errors and bad judgment which only bolstered the St. John's cause. Once known as the best shooting team he had seen at Georgetown, Craig Esherick saw his starter-heavy roster whiff on its first 10 three point attempts, while Gerald Riley turned in the poorest performance of his college career, failing to collect a single field goal until 3:29 to play.

And amazingly, the Hoyas were still down only five with 3:29 to play, but a Darryl Hill three pointer at the shot clock buzzer put away the game with 1:45 to play. Georgetown's 11 first half turnovers had by then doubled to 22, allowing the Redmen more than enough opportunities to build its lead. A brief run of garbage-time threes narrowed the gap but never threatened it, and frequent fouling help St. John's pad the final score.

No coach or player escapes scrutiny for a wholly embarrassing effort. The repercussions from such a poor showing will not be soon forgotten, but this is not the end of the road. Syracuse University (and five or six thousand of its own paying customers) arrive at "The Friendliest Road Arena In The Big East" on Saturday.

And this modest proposal to the coaching staff: Spare us from the "we just didn't do well, but we'll try harder next time" stories. Send a message to a starting five that has grown soft, complacent and increasingly non-responsive in game situations: sit the starters for the first five minutes against Syracuse. Every single one of them.

Let's see what Ray Reed, Matt Causey, Ken Izzo, Sead Dizdarevic, and Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw can do. (Can they do any worse than seeing Riley, Bowman, Cook, Owens and Freeman open the game 2 for 13 against St. John's?) So even if the Hoyas trailed by 10 or 15 at the first time out, let them do so with some enthusiasm, with some drive, and with some heart...all of which was in short supply Wednesday at the Garden.

If you do your best, there is no dishonor in losing. Make no mistake: this was a dishonorable game in every sense of the word.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

           MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook       37   3-8   1-3  0-0   4   2   4    9
Riley      32   0-3   1-6  3-6   3   1   5    6
Bowman     38  7-13   1-4  3-5   9   3   0   20
Owens      31   2-3   0-4  1-1   2   4   4    5
Freeman    25   3-7   0-0  4-4   4   0   4   10
Faulkner    3   0-0   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed       14   0-1   2-4  0-1   3   1   3    6
Causey      5   0-0   0-0  0-0   1   1   2    0
Kilk.-Diaw 14   1-3   0-0  0-0   6   0   3    2
Dizdarevic  1   0-0   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal
TOTALS    200 16-48  5-21 11-17 32  12  25   58

Extensive post-game coverage follows in the links below.

Gaughan Debuts At NASCAR 2/15/04

Former basketball walk-on Brendan Gaughan (B'97) finished 19th in his NASCAR debut Sunday at the Daytona 500.

"I'm never satisfied with 19th, but I'm glad we got out of here," Gaughan said in this link to ESPN.com. Gaughan was penalized one lap for exceeding the maximum speed out of the pits, but was one of only two rookies to place in the top 20 of the event.

Temple 59, Georgetown 53 2/15/04

Let's be up front: if Georgetown plays St. John's on Wednesday like it did Saturday against Temple, expect St. John's to win.

A nightmarish combination of offensive futility paced the sliding Georgetown Hoyas in an embarrassing effort against Temple University Saturday before an ESPN national audience. That the game was actually up for grabs in the final minute of play suggests how little solace each team can take following Temple's 59-53 win.

Georgetown started strong, hitting four of its first six shots and leading the home standing Owls 10-1. From there, the team once labeled by Craig Esherick as the best shooting team he's coached missed its next nine shots as Temple took the lead, for good, with 12:01 to play in the first half. Following a Gerald Riley jumper, the Hoyas fared no better for shooting, given that they started giving the ball away with clockwork precision. In a five minute stretch of the first half, here was the offensive sequence for the Hoyas:

9:33: Turnover (Cook)
9:04: Foul (Riley)
8:39: Turnover (Cook)
8:19: Turnover (Kilkenny-Diaw)
8:15: Foul (Kilkenny-Diaw)
8:03: Turnover (Cook)
7:59: Foul (Riley)
7:29: Turnover (Riley)
7:22: Missed three pointer (Riley)
7:10: Missed three pointer (Bowman)
7:03: Basket (Freeman)
6:20: Turnover (Causey)
6:04: Turnover (Owens)
5:21: Turnover (Riley)
4:34: Missed layup (Faulkner)

Amidst this futility, it was amazing that following a Gerald Riley jumper, the Hoyas were only down one, 22-21, with 3:26 left. By the end of the half, however, Temple had begun to turn up the heat, and held Georgetown to an Omari Faulkner field goal with 1:30 in the half as its only remaining points. David Hawkins scored 19 of the Owls' 29 as Temple took a six point halftime lead.

The second half opened with the worst offensive run in a generation. Georgetown missed the first twelve shots of the half, from long three pointers to even a breakaway dunk. Gerald Riley (0-4), Omari Faulkner (0-3), Brandon Bowman and Ashanti Cook (each 0-2) and Courtland Freeman (0-1) contributed to a 10 minute, 10 second drought (11:40 when going back to the end of the first half) before a Riley jumper got the Hoyas on the field goal board. At that point, following a 4 for 6 start, GU had missed 29 of its next 34 shots.

Temple took no great advantage in Georgetown's plight, because the Owls were considerably worse in shooting than the Hoyas, and saw their 14 point lead cut to 10 with 8:50 to play when forward Michael Blackshear took a pair of shots at Georgetown guard Matt Causey, sending Causey twice to the floor. At that point, Temple coach John Chaney sent Blackshear to the locker room. "He's not my kind of a player," Chaney said after the game. "It's a stupid play. It could have cost us the game, easily. It's just not smart."

Anything resembling an offensive output would have raised the lead to routish proportions, but the Owls were unable to do so. With the Owls shooting only 26% from the field and 2 for 12 from three point range in the second half, the Hoyas inched back, cutting the lead to seven with 1:32 to play. Consecutive three pointers by Ashanti Cook narrowed the lead to 57-53 with :23 left, but Brandon Bowman missed a three pointer with :10 left and Temple closed out the game with free throws.

For the game, Georgetown managed some woeful statistics: 30% shooting, 5 for 23 from three point range, more turnovers (18) than field goals (17), and giving up 19 offensive rebounds. Gerald Riley nominally led all GU scorers but managed a troubling 5 for 16. Brandon Bowman was little better, going 4 for 14. Ashanti Cook scored 12 but his four field goals came in the first minute of the last three minutes of the second half. In the 25 playing minutes in-between, Cook was 0 for 5, with six turnovers. Darrel Owens, for the third game in the last four, virtually disappeared, with no points in 10 minutes. In games against Villanova, Virginia Tech, and Temple, Owens has totaled only four points.

David Hawkins led the Owls with 28 points. Hawkins shot 8 for 19 (42%) while the rest of the team shot 10 for 35 (28%).

Having dropped eight of its last 11, The Hoyas' offensive mindset in recent games leaves it ill-prepared for a St. John's team with literally nothing to lose.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

           MIN   2FG  3FG   FT  REB  A   PF  PTS
Cook       29   2-6   2-3   2-2   3   4   3   12
Riley      39   3-6  2-10   3-4   2   4   5   15
Owens      10   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   2   2    0
Freeman    38   3-7   0-0   5-5   6   0   5   11
Bowman     39   3-5   1-9   0-1  12   1   4    9
Faulkner   18   1-5   0-0   1-2   5   0   2    3
Reed        2   0-1   0-0   0-0   1   0   0    0
Causey     22   0-0   0-1   3-6   3   5   3    3
Kilk.-Diaw  3   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0   1    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic
TOTALS    200 12-31  5-23 14-20  33  16  25   53

Post-game coverage follows below.

Virginia Tech 80, Georgetown 65 2/11/04

With a defensive effort better suited to one of its December opponents, the Georgetown Hoyas offered little resistance in a 80-65 loss at Virginia Tech Wednesday.

These are not the Hokies of recent memory, having upset Providence in its previous game by opening up its shooting beyond Big East leading scorer Bryant Matthews. Still, with Tech ranked in the bottom three in many Big East statistical categories, this was an opportunity for the Hoyas to move to the next tier of the standings and step ahead of the circling waters that will drain the bottom two Big East teams from the conference tournament seedings in early March. But with no help for Gerald Riley outside and no defense inside, the Hoyas are back in the mess.

The game followed the pattern of the Hoyas 15 point loss to Villanova two weeks earlier, a team that got down and never seriously challenged. The Hoyas' shooting started off poor, as usual, with only Gerald Riley keeping the game close early in the half. Georgetown closed to five at 22-17, thanks to Riley's 10 early points. As Riley kept the faith, the Hoyas' weak interior defense was easy pickings for a Hokie team who successfully adjusted to leading scorer Bryant Matthews' foul trouble. Up five at 22-17, the Hokies connected on six of their next eight shots while GU missed five of its next eight, leaving Tech a comfortable 36-27 halftime lead. The Hokies scored 28 of their 36 first half points in the paint, while the Hoyas managed only six points inside. Let's repeat that: in points in the paint, Tech scored 28, Georgetown scored 6.

The second half opened with more of the same, with Tech opening up a 14 point lead until the Hoyas' shooting gained a second wind. Georgetown hit seven of its next ten field goals to close to 51-44, but surrendered seven straight to fall back to 58-44, and never got closer than eight thereafter. Riley fouled out with 3:07 to play with the Hoyas down 10, 69-59, and Tech coasted. Five Hokies finished in double figures as Tech shot 55% from the field, outrebounded the Hoyas 37-26, collected 13 steals, and shut out the Hoyas in blocked shots, 5-0.

The shooting from guard Ashanti Cook and forward Darrel Owens was especially poor on Wednesday. Any spark of offense from these outside shooters might have propelled Georgetown past the Hokies in the first and early second half, but Cook and Owens provided none of that. Together, they finished 0 for 10, 0-5 from three point range.

The secret to Virginia Tech's success? “It's very simple,” said head coach Seth Greenberg, in this quote from The HOYA. “We defended".

The same cannot be said of his opponent.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG  3FG  FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook      30   0-3   0-4  1-2   3   4   1    1
Riley     32   3-4   5-9  3-4   3   1   5   24
Owens     22   0-1   0-2  2-2   1   1   3    2
Bowman    37  5-11   0-1  5-9   8   1   5   15
Freeman   36   4-6   0-0  2-4   6   0   3   10
Faulkner   2   1-2   0-0   0-2  2   0   1    2
Reed      21   2-4   1-1   2-2  1   1   2    9
Causey    18   1-4   0-0   0-0  2   1   3    2
Dizdarevic 1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0   0   0    0
Kilk.-Diaw 1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0   0   1    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal
TOTALS   200 16-35  6-17  15-25 26   9  24  65

Post-game coverage follows below.

Shooting Star(s) Updated 2/11/04

Senior Gerald Riley is the subject of a feature in the Washington Post sports section following his 35 and 37 point efforts against Miami in the past week.

"Gerald is a shooter; he has that mentality," said coach Craig Esherick. "I never thought that anybody would be able to take away his confidence, including me. There's nothing I can say that will make him lose confidence in his shot. [Allen] Iverson was like that; you couldn't tell him that the ball wasn't going to go in. So with players like that, you talk about shot selection."

From the Washington Times, Ken Wright discusses the scoring of both Gerald Riley and Brandon Bowman, including a comment from Bowman about his near-transfer last summer.

"It has worked out, and I guess I made a good decision," Bowman said. "I truly am enjoying this year, I really am, even with the couple losses that we've had against good teams. We can always do better, but I think we're playing at a high level that many people didn't expect."

Georgetown 80, Miami 64 2/8/04

Miami, meet Gerald Riley. Again.

One week removed from a career high 35 points against the Hurricanes, Gerald Riley did it again--scoring 29 second half points and 37 overall to rescue the Hoyas in a critical Big East game, 80-64, at MCI Center.

Both teams started the game ragged, collecting seven turnovers in the first five minutes. Turnovers were a recurring theme for Miami, as they surrendered 15 in the first half, but Georgetown could not convert. Georgetown was scoreless for the half from outside the paint, as Miami built up a 28-16 lead in the final five minutes of the half, cut to eight at the break, 33-25. The Hoyas shot reasonably well from two 7-16 (44%), but were 0-7 from the three point line.

Down 38-35, Darrel Owens' three with 14:45 to play broke the outside drought, and Riley went to work. Riley scored 13 of the Hoyas' next 15 straight points to increase the lead to 53-42 with 9:40 to go, and the Hoyas never looked back. Miami closed to 56-48 after Courtland Freeman picked up his fourth foul, but the defense kept the lead at a stable ten point margin, then saw the Hoyas break open the lead to 13 with 3:36 to play, and finish the game with a 55 point second half.

The Hoyas' defensive focus on Darius Rice paid big dividends. Rice was held to 5-15 shooting, while Robert Hite who averaged 16.9 points entering the game, was held to eight. Darrel Owens had a superb defensive game, while Matt Causey, who saw extensive time after Ashanti Cook was in foul trouble, ran the offense flawlessly. For the game, Miami went 7:06 without a field goal during Riley's run, and gave up 23 turnovers, making an even 46 miscues in two games against the Hoyas. In fact, in the final 25 minutes of the game, Georgetown outscored Miami 64-33.

Superlatives are in order for Gerald Riley's effort. The 29 points in a single half has been equalled only once before in school history, and Riley is the first player to post two 35+ point games in a single week since Allen Iverson scored 37 and 38 points in consecutive games in March 1996. Riley's perfect 10-10 from the foul line is a mark reached by only five other Hoyas in the program's history, by Jim Barry (13-13 in 1965), Mark Gallagher (12-12 in 1972), Michael Jackson (12-12 in 1984), David Wingate (10-10 and 11-11 in 1983), and Craig Shelton (10-10 in 1980).

In fact, Riley's 35+ point efforts of the past week make him only the 20th Georgetown player ever to do so, and he had some company in Saturday's game--the first Hoya to score 35, Andy Kostecka (C'47) was in attendance as part of a halftime tribute to the 1942-43 NCAA national finalist team.

The ESPN Regional announcers calling the game noted a quote from Georgetown radio announcer Rich Chvotkin, who said before the broadcast that this could be the biggest game of the year. With the specter of two Big East teams not making the conference tournament, the threat to Georgetown in this game was real--lose to Miami, then risk falling out of the top 12 at Virginia Tech. At 4-5, the Hoyas are a step ahead of the Hurricanes, while Miami, at 3-6 and having dropped five straight, is now squarely on the 12th place "hot seat" and must stay above the fray that currently has Virginia Tech in 13th place.

It's about to get very interesting in the Big East.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG  3FG  FT    REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook      25   0-1   0-1   0-0   1   6   5    0
Riley     38  9-12   3-6 10-10   4   1   4   37
Owens     38   4-8   1-3   2-2   1   3   3   13
Bowman    40   5-9   0-4  9-11   9   4   0   19
Freeman   26   5-9   0-0   0-0   6   0   4   10
Faulkner   2   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   1   0    0
Reed       4   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Causey    18   0-0   0-0   1-2   0   3   3    1
Kilk.-Diaw 9   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic 
TOTALS   200 23-40  4-14  22-25 22  18  19   80

Post-game coverage follows below.

Big East: More Troubles At St. John's Updated 2/6/04

Midway through the worst season in its storied history, St. John's University has dismissed one starter and suspended four other players following Monday's 71-51 loss at Pittsburgh.

A Friday press release identified the players as follows: "Grady Reynolds, having been involved in a previous disciplinary incident, has been expelled from the University; Elijah Ingram and Abraham Keita have been suspended from the University, and St. John's is seeking their expulsion pending a hearing. They have also been permanently suspended from the team. Two other players, Lamont Hamilton and Mohammed Diakite, have been suspended from the team pending further investigation for a violation of team rules."

Four scholarship players and four walk-ons took the floor at Madison Square Garden in an 87-61 loss to Boston College on Sunday.

Here are links to coverage:

Villanova 75, Georgetown 60 2/6/04

Dwight Wilbur. Harold Jensen. Chuck Everson. Roscoe Harris. Jonathan Haynes. Michael Bradley.

Now, welcome Curtis Sumpter.

Fresh off a 1 for 14 effort against St. Joseph's, Sumpter became the latest Villanovan to post a career performance on a Georgetown team, going 9 for 11 for 24 points in a surprisingly easy 75-60 win at MCI Center.

Both teams played fairly well in the first half. The Hoyas led by as many as six at 20-14 before Villanova went on a 10-2 run behind Sumpter's hot hand. An Ashanti Cook jumper at the buzzer closed the count to 32-31 at the half, as Sumpter's 13 points led the way. The Wildcats shot a blistering 75% (12-15) from two point range and 2-9 from three point range, but the Hoyas stayed close with 45 percent shooting (13-29).

The first part of the second half followed similar form. With 13:22 to play, Georgetown led 42-41 when the roof fell in. Highlighted by three Derrick Snowden three pointers in consecutive series, the Wildcats ran past the G-men on a 19-2 run that sealed the game with 10+ minutes to play. The Hoyas closed to eight but never seriously threatened the outcome.

After a career-high 35 against Miami, Gerald Riley returned to form Thursday, finishing 5 for 15. Brandon Bowman led all GU scorers with 18, while Ashanti Cook scored 12 in the first half but none in the second. The bench was a non-factor again, with three field goals in 34 minutes combined time.

The stat of the game was not in scoring, though. As further evidence of the team's severe gap in the middle, Villanova held the Hoyas to a season low 19 rebounds, with only 13 on the defensive end. It's only the third time in the Big East era that the Hoyas have collected fewer than 20 rebounds in a 40 minute game, excepting that amorphous "team rebounds" stat.

The 15 point margin is the largest of any Villanova win in the series during the Big East era, and leaves Villanova one of only two Big East schools (UConn being the other) never to have lost on the Hoyas' "home" floor.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG    3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook       38   3-7   2-2   0-0   2   3   5   12
Riley      32  3-11   2-4   1-2   1   3   3   13
Owens      31   1-3   0-2   0-0   1   1   5    2
Bowman     40  5-11   1-1   5-5   8   2   1   18
Freeman    25   3-7   0-0   3-3   4   0   2    9
Faulkner    1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed       18   2-4   0-1   0-1   1   2   2    4
Causey      5   0-0   0-1   0-0   1   1   1    0
Kilk.-Diaw 10   1-1   0-0   0-0   1   0   0    2
DNP: Izzo, Beal  
TOTALS    200 18-44  5-11  9-11  19  12  19   60

Post-game coverage follows below.

Georgetown 87, Miami 80 (OT) 1/31/04

By all rights, this was not a game Georgetown was supposed to win.

A road game. Down 12 midway in the second half. Courtland Freeman scores one basket and fouls out. Seven losses in the last eight years on the fourth Saturday in January.

From these dire straits, senior Gerald Riley had a career day, putting in 35 as the Georgetown Hoyas got a much, much needed win against the Hurricanes before a season high 5,193 at the Miami Convocation Center. Riley's 35 were the most points scored against a Miami team since Allen Iverson in 1996.

The Hoyas started off sluggish--again--trailing 7-0 and 9-2 before the team answered back with a strong 14-0 run. Led by three pointers by Brandon Bowman and Darrel Owens, the G-men turned an 11-4 deficit into an 18-11 lead in three minutes, then watched the lead disappear as the Hurricanes scored the next nine points to take the lead midway through the half. Neither team led by more than three, but it was a late three by Gerald Riley which tied the score at 29-all, the first time in five games Georgetown had not trailed in the half. Riley was 5 for 6 in the half and led all scorers with 12.

Miami held a close lead early in the half before opening a big run midway in the period. Led by guard Guillermo Diaz, the Hurricanes outscored the Hoyas 10-0 in a 2:24 time frame to pull ahead by 12, 56-44. This time, however, the Hoyas did not give up.

The Hoyas battled back from all facets of the game. Free throws, steals, blocks, and dunks were the order of the day as Georgetown uncharacteristically moved inside on the taller Hurricanes to narrow the lead. Guard Ashanti Cook collected three straight assists in possessions which cut Miami's lead to 62-58 with 5:47 left, but Courtland Freeman was called for his fifth foul, putting any comeback in jeopardy.

With the game on the line, Riley went to work. Riley scored six straight to narrow the lead to 65-64 with 4:07 left, and a Matt Causey steal and assist to Darrel Owens gave the Hoyas the lead with 2:03 to play, 69-68. Both teams missed layups down the stretch, and a Miami turnover allowed Bowman a layup with :49 left to increase the lead to three.

Miami turned to its star, Darius Rice, for another last minute miracle, and it worked. Rice drained a three pointer with :12 seconds, and the Hoyas could not score in the final seconds, forcing overtime. For a team whose overtime record is the stuff of horror films (1-11 on road OT games since 1989), this wasn't good.

Miami opened up an early lead in OT, but Riley stepped up again. Riley scored the Hoyas' first seven points to give the Hoyas an 81-78 lead. Miami went cold from outside, as Georgetown went 6-6 from the line in the final minute for the big win. The Hoyas shot 59% from the field in the second half, 10-12 from the line, and collected 31 points off turnovers. A team effort.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG  3FG  FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook      39   1-2   0-2  6-8   5   7   1    8
Riley     43 10-12   3-5  6-6   4   2   3   35
Bowman    45  5-10   3-4  3-3   8   4   4   22
Owens     42   4-8   2-4  0-0   3   3   2   14
Freeman   28   1-1   4-6  0-0   3   2   5    6
Reed      19   1-1   0-1  0-1   5   1   0    2
Causey     2   0-1   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
Kilk.-Diaw 7   0-0   0-0  0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP: Faulkner, Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic 
TOTALS   225 22-35  8-16 19-24 28  19  15   87

Post-game coverage follows below.

The Late January Blues Updated 1/30/04

The Hoyas have a tough task at Miami, and probably some history against them, if you follow the peculiar curse of the last Saturday in January.

Dating back to 1985, the Hoyas have lost 11 of 19 games played on the last Saturday in January, and seven of the last eight. The weekend is replete with weird finishes over the years. Some of the more notable losses include:

  • 1/26/85: St. John's ends Georgetown's 29 game win streak and knocks GU from the #1 ranking, 66-65.
  • 1/28/87: Providence's 82-79 win at Capital Centre that weekend is the only home loss of the entire season.
  • 1/28/89: The Hoyas are denied the #1 ranking in a 82-80 last-second loss to LSU at the Louisiana Superdome.
  • 1/27/90: Syracuse picks up its first ever win at Capital Centre, 95-76. The margin is stunning given that the previous 11 games in the series were decided by an average margin of only four points.
  • 1/27/96: Allen Iverson scores a career high 39 points, but the Hoyas miss 13 of 16 threes and lose at St. John's, 83-72.
  • 1/25/97: Georgetown suffers only its second home loss to Pittsburgh in 15 years, 89-71.
  • 1/30/99: In a bizarre finish, the Hoyas give up consecutive three pointers in the final 2.6 seconds of overtime and lose to Villanova, 93-90.
  • 1/27/01: After Notre Dame All-American Troy Murphy fouls out with 5:03 to play, the Irish go on a 21-2 run and defeat the Hoyas 78-71.
  • 1/25/03: Down by four at #2 Pittsburgh with 22 seconds left, Georgetown ties the score. But with 0.4 seconds remaining, a foul called on Georgetown's Drew Hall gave Pitt's Julius Page the winning free throw, 65-64.
Providence 65, Georgetown 50 1/27/04

Gerald Riley came to play Monday night against the #24 ranked Providence Friars. The same cannot be said for his teammates.

An uninspired Georgetown Hoyas team fell with relative ease on Monday night, 65-50. The Hoyas' continued poor shooting and an absence of rebounding help showed right from the start, and as such the outcome was never really in doubt.

Georgetown's last lead came at 10-7 with 11:56 to play. Despite shooting 4 for 13, GU's defense had kept Ryan Gomes away from the play and stretched out the PC offense. Then, much like its games against other nationally ranked teams, the defense promptly folded. Providence went on a 14-0 run to put the game out of reach, with the Hoyas ending the half on 7 for 25 shooting and 11 turnovers.

The Hoyas' scoring options really numbered no more than two: Gerald Riley and Brandon Bowman. At one point early in the second half, Riley and Bowman had accounted for all but six of the team's points. With Gomes in check (he finished with a season low eight points) a strong second half start cut the PC lead to nine at 42-33, whereupon a PC run stretched the lead back to 50-34 midway through the half.

Frustrated by the offensive inertia of Ashanti Cook, Darrel Owens, and Courtland Freeman (a combined 4 for 15), coach Craig Esherick ran an unusual lineup including Omari Faulkner, Sead Dizdarevic, and Ray Reed to join Bowman and Riley for much of the second half. While the three reserves didn't look awful, they didn't do much on the scoreboard either, combining for four points in a combined 33 minutes. PC led by as many as 18 in the final four minutes and seemed more than happy to run out the clock before the quietest Providence crowd heard in years. If you didn't know better, you might have thought they were playing at MCI Center.

Georgetown's 34% shooting was endemic of a poor night all around. Riley and Bowman combined for 35 of the Hoyas 50 points, while no other player had more than four. Excepting team rebounds, the Hoyas managed only 12 defensive rebounds, while PC shot 54% from the floor with eight three pointers. The Hoyas contributed only five assists compared to 14 for the Friars.

The Hoyas have dropped five of six and stay on the road to face Miami this Saturday.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

          MIN   2FG    3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook       33   2-3   0-2   0-0   1   1   2    4
Riley      37   3-8   4-7   4-4   2   0   2   22
Owens      26   0-3   0-2   1-2   5   2   3    1
Bowman     38  4-11   1-2   2-4   6   1   0   13
Freeman    23   2-5   0-0   0-0   3   1   4    4
Faulkner    8   0-1   0-0   1-2   1   0   1    1
Reed       12   1-3   0-1   1-2   1   0   2    3
Causey      7   1-1   0-1   0-0   1   0   2    2
Kilk.-Diaw  3   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Dizdarevic 13   0-3   0-0   0-0   2   0   0    0
DNP: Izzo, Beal
Team Rebounds                     4 
TOTALS    200 13-38  5-15  9-14  26   5  16   50

Post-game coverage follows below, with more on Tuesday. Coverage from the Providence Journal is not included because its web coverage requires a considerable registration process to view articles.

A Schedule Snafu? 1/26/04

In a season full of poor decisions in non-conference scheduling, comments in Saturday's Washington Times are again troubling. According to the Times, Duke was interested in renewing the series with Georgetown for two more years, but the basketball office turned it down, citing that the 2004-05 schedule is almost complete.

Complete with whom? Comments by Coach Esherick in the article do not appear to suggest much change for future schedules. Esherick told the Times that "I know I'm going to play one or two nonconference games that are going to be feature games like Temple and Penn State next year at home. More than that? I don't know."

Hitching the Hoyas' national presence to games with Temple and Penn State is no sure thing: for the record, Temple and Penn State are a combined 14-17 this season with an average RPI (112) lower than Georgetown (94). Of Georgetown's 2003-04 non-conference opponents prior to Duke, the nine schools to date this season sport a combined record of 41-95 (.301), with four in the bottom 40 of the RPI. Doubtless, many of these sunken logs will be back next season.

And no room for Duke?

2005: Already Down & Out? 1/26/04

Earlier this summer, Big East commissioner Michael tranghese appeared to be looking straight at Georgetown when he declared that teams that do not schedule tough non-conference opponents will gain no favors at NCAA tournament selection time. In Saturday's Newsday, quotes by Tranghese suggest that schools like Georgetown and Providence may be down and out in the new Big East before it even starts.

Writes Joe Gergen: "There is a growing disparity in the Big East between the haves (those with Division I[A] football programs) and the have-nots. Among the latter is Tranghese's old school, Providence, as well as founding members St. John's and Georgetown. "I think some schools will be capable of competing for the championship every year," Tranghese said. "Others will have the chance to compete some of the time. A Providence is not going toe-to-toe with Louisville. But it can go toe-to-toe with other schools."

"The future," writes Gergen, belongs to [Louisville, Cincinnati] and to the other football schools until proven otherwise."

Duke 85, Georgetown 66 1/26/04

In what may be its last CBS appearance for a long, long time, the defensive legacy of the Georgetown basketball program was folded like a pup tent in strong wind, allowing Duke University one of its easier January wins in recent years, 85-66. Do not let the final score fool you--this game was settled with eight minutes to go in the first half.

The Hoyas started off with a good defensive set, keeping Duke off base and keeping the Hoyas close at 13-all. Foul trouble to Courtland Freeman led to the arrival of walk-on Amadou Kilkenny Diaw, who was soon overmatched by Duke's Shelden Williams. Williams scored with apparent ease inside while the Blue Devils' three point shooting toyed with the Hoyas' inability to rotate and contain the Blue Devils from the outside. From the an 18-all score with seven minutes in the half, Duke outscored the Hoyas 30-6 to end the half. For the game, Williams and Chris Duhon combined for 19 for 24 shooting, with the 6-9 Williams' hitting a three pointer to end the first half--the first three pointer in his entire college career. Duke shot 61% from the field in the half, while the Hoyas responded in kind by missing 21 of its 31 attempts.

Down 48-24, the Hoyas opened the second half in similar style, as Duke quickly increased the lead past 30 at 63-31. The rest of the half amounted for R&R for the first string, as only a 26-13 run by the Hoyas kept the score reasonable. When CBS announcers Verne Lundquist and Billy Packer are left with discussing the history of Georgetown football players in the NFL, the game was a foregone conclusion.

Georgetown's shooting was fitful in the first half. Leading scorer Gerald Riley, the best hope for this young team, was 0 for 5 and took one two point shot the rest of the game: after averaging 45% from the field in the first ten games, he is now below 32% in the last five. Courtland Freeman, who scored 18 points and 12 rebounds against St. John's, finished the game with one field goal and no rebounds. Darrel Owens, who started strong for Georgetown with 10 points in the first half, played sparingly in the second and finished with 12. The starting five collected two steals but surrendered 16 turnovers.

As Georgetown's only national network television appearance, this was not simply a loss but a shot across the bow. As the game drew to a close, one could not help but notice the unflinching stares coming from the first three rows behind the scorers table. Seated in section 100 were a large group of some of the program's major supporters, most in town that weekend for an academic conference. As much as Craig Esherick would like to believe otherwise, they will not soon forget this game.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

         MIN   2FG    3FG   FT  REB  A  PF  PTS
Cook       37   2-8   2-5   3-4  8   5   0   13
Riley      28   1-5   2-3   4-4  1   0   4   12
Owens      28   2-3   2-3   0-0  4   3   1   10
Bowman     37   7-14  1-4   2-3  9   2   2   19
Freeman    19   1-2   0-0   0-0  0   1   5    2
Reed       22   3-5   0-1   0-0  4   4   2    6
Causey     14   1-2   0-1   0-0  1   1   1    2
Kilk.-Diaw 15   1-2   0-0   0-0  0   0   2    2
DNP: Faulkner, Izzo, Beal, Dizdarevic
Team Rebounds                    2
TOTALS    200 18-41  7-17  9-11 29  16  17   66

Post-game coverage follows below.

Blue Collar "Dog" 1/22/04

Not many NBA basketball players paid their way through college. Still fewer had jobs ranging from an assistant chef at a German restaurant to selling windows to do so.

The Chicago Daily Herald has a feature of the entrepreneurial talents of the Bulls' newest forward, Jerome Williams (C'96). Williams paid for two years at junior college before receiving a basketball scholarship to Georgetown in 1994.

"At 18 years old, I didn't have a car. I thought it was more valuable to get an education than riding around. It shows what's most important to you and what you're willing to give up," Williams said. "That was probably one of the better decisions of my life, because with the money I was making, I could have gone out and bought clothes, cars, shoes … partied, done whatever I wanted. But I wanted to make sure I got my education."

Not The Good Old Days 1/20/04

Attendance for Tuesday's Georgetown-St. John's game was only 7,203, the smallest crowd to see a Georgetown-St. John's game since the 1980-81 season, when both teams played its games at on-campus facilities. It was also the first game in the series since 1981 not televised on either a regional or national basis.

The Washington Post discussed some of the reasons why the series is at low tide--interim St. John's coach Kevin Clark says that the lack of revenue generated by Division I-A football is "stunting" the growth of basketball at each school. "The revenue generated [by football] is what has catapulted some schools in the landscape," Clark said. "It allows people to build facilities that other schools are less willing to do."

Earlier this year, St. John's announced a plan to construct a $23 million practice facility, but has not announced expected renovation plans for 6,000 seat Alumni Hall, built in 1962. And almost four years after articles in the campus press first discussed plans to renovate McDonough Gymnasium to host Big East games, Georgetown has still not announced a timeline for the project.

Recommended reading.

Georgetown 71, St. John's 69 1/20/04 9:45 PM

"That dunk at the end of the game was the worst. It says something. It was like 'Take that! Get off our court!' No one wants that."--Grady Reynolds, in the New York Daily News

A Courtland Freeman dunk with 0.5 seconds to play propelled the Georgetown Hoyas out of what could have been the Big East basement and into the win column, a 71-69 win over St. John's at MCI Center Tuesday.

The first half was all that could be expected--and less--between two struggling teams. The Hoyas missed 11 of its first 16 shots, and all four threes. At one point, the two teams combined for 5 for 27 shooting. Georgetown's largest lead was three at 24-21, but St. Johns's led by as many as six, 36-30, before settling for a 36-34 halftime score.

The halftime score was telling, because the Redmen (aka Red Storm) have not been a comeback team this year. When trailing at the half, St. John's was 2-8 but an even .500 (2-2) when tied or leading at intermission. It would be that kind of finish, too.

The Hoyas continued to struggle to stay in the game early in the second, with poor shooting from Gerald Riley and Brandon Bowman keeping the Hoyas at risk of a 1-4 start to conference play. A turning point in the game followed with 8:27 to play, when Darrel Owens was fouled hard driving to the basket. Georgetown responded with a 13-6 run to lead 65-60 with 5:20 left, then went cold as they scored one field goal in the next four minutes.

Leading 67-64, a Riley miss and Bowman turnover opened the door to SJU's Elijah Ingram, whose fourth three pointer of the game tied the score with 1:25 to play. The Hoyas answered with a Darrel Owens 2, 69-67, but gave up a dunk inside by Grady Reynolds with 26 seconds to play. Holding for the last shot, guard Ashanti Cook drove the lane, found Freeman inside the for jam, and a St. John's half court heave was intercepted by Bowman at game's end.

After another rough first half, Georgetown showed improvement, shooting 54% from the field in the second half, including 9-10 from the free throw line. While St. John's had 15 more field goal attempts and outrebounded Georgetown 39-35, the Hoyas held strong at the free throw line, with 20-23 shooting compared to just 8-9 for the Redmen.

Freeman led all scorers with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists...a career game. Darrel Owens turned in another solid game from start to finish, with 15 points. And deep in the box score is an overlooked four points from walk-on Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw, who scored on a pair of big baskets in the first half when the Hoyas needed all the help it could get.

The win is the Hoyas' first over St. John's in seven games, all the way back to a Victor Page basket with 2.6 seconds left to defeat the Redmen 71-68 on February 1, 1997.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

         MIN  2FG    3FG   FT  REB   A  PF  PTS
Cook      39   1-4   0-3   0-0   3   8   0    2
Bowman    37   4-7   0-4   6-7   3   0   2   14
Owens     34   4-5   2-4   1-1   3   2   0   15
Riley     20  3-11   0-1   5-6   5   1   4   11
Freeman   37   5-9   0-0   8-9  12   7   4   18
Faulkner   1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed      26   2-3   1-2   0-0   6   0   3    7
Causey     1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Kilk.-Diaw 3   2-2   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    4
Dizdarevic 2   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP: Beal, Izzo
Team Rebounds:                   3
TOTALS  200  21-41  3-14  20-23 35  18  13   71

Post-game coverage follows below. An extensive recap from "FL Hoya" of the HoyaTalk board is also included--a good read.

Alumni Lounge Wins Positive Reviews 1/15/04

With most of the talk last week on #1-ranked Connecticut's win over the Hoyas in Storrs, a pair of readers wrote in to thank those alumni who have made the new Alumni Lounge in Village C a success story. With six DirecTV-enabled sets and ESPN Full Court, students have a new home to watch out of town games.

Renovations to the lounge were funded by grants from the Georgetown University Alumni Association and the Office of Student Affairs.

"First, I must give incredible amounts of props to Hoya Blue and the Hoya Hoop Club for the gathering in the Alumni Lounge tonight," wrote "Joe Hoya" from the HoyaTalk board. "The DirecTV setup is gonna be a great way to bring people together to watch the games now and in the future. The place was PACKED until halftime, and even as the chances for a comeback disappeared, there were still plenty of people supporting the team and cheering for every bucket."

Connecticut 94, Georgetown 70 1/15/04

"That's the objective - have a deep bench and be able to run, run, run. Sub in fresh guys and have equal talent on the court and then run, run, run again. That wears you down physically, mentally and emotionally."--Emeka Okafor

Speed kills. So does depth.

For the first four minutes of each half, Georgetown unexpectedly outscored #1-ranked Connecticut 11-6 and 12-6, respectively. UConn's Jim Calhoun called time outs early and went to his bench, allowing the starters to regroup and return with a vengeance. The next 16 minutes in each half were much more expected.

With little interior opposition, Emeka Okafor scored a career high 27 points as Connecticut ran past the thin Hoya defense, 94-70, in the 100th straight sellout at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies, 89-14 in their on-campus home since it opened in 1990, shot 63% for the first half and never looked back.

Despite an early Georgetown lead, UConn's scoring could simply not be matched. Connecting on nine of its first 11 and 14 of its first 19, the Huskies built an 20 point lead with 5:38 in the first half. Georgetown closed to 15 at 43-28, but Courtland Freeman picked up his third foul and had to sit, and the combination of ragged shooting and a walk-on guarding the middle opened the floodgates for the Huskies, who outscored the Hoyas 16-3 to end the half, 56-30. The Hoyas managed 32% shooting in the half compared to 63% for UConn, who had eight blocks in twenty minutes.

Defensive adjustments kept Georgetown closer in the second. The Hoyas closed the 26 point lead to 17 when Freeman picked up his fourth foul, and the Huskies built the lead back over 20. The Hoyas made a small run midway in the half, but a missed Brandon Bowman three was answered with a UConn three and a Georgetown foul on consecutive plays, as Connecticut's size and speed had no equal on the Georgetown side of the court. The Hoyas shot significantly better in the second half at 52%, but its shooting was no better than equalling the Connecticut effort for the second half. The only drama left in the game was when the UConn starters would be rested, which surprisingly did not come until the last 90 seconds of the game even though Connecticut had led by 20 or more for the last ten minutes of the half.

Ashanti Cook led the Hoyas with 18 points and shot 4-5 from three point range. Brandon Bowman finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, the first double-double scored by a UConn opponent all season. After starting the first half with 12 turnovers, the Hoyas committed only one in the second half.

"We're coming at you with so many numbers, we're locking you down, we're stealing the basketball, we're blocking your shots, we're doing all those kinds of things,” Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun told the press. Connecticut held advantages in rebounding (47-31) and blocks (12-1) against a Georgetown team with no height or depth inside. And with only nine scholarship players and a pair of walk-on centers, the numbers are in short supply for the 2003-04 Hoyas.

The loss is Georgetown's seventh straight in the series and endemic of the talent gap between the two programs. Since 1993-94, the Georgetown men's team is 2-14 against Connecticut, while the women's team is 0-16 during the same period.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

         MIN  2FG    3FG   FT  REB   A  PF  PTS
Cook      35  3-11   4-5   0-0   2   4   1   18
Riley     34  5-8    0-3   7-8   5   2   3   17
Owens     25  0-0    1-1   0-0   1   1   5    3
Bowman    38  5-11   2-5   1-3  11   1   1   17
Freeman   24  4-10   0-0   2-2   5   2   5   10
Faulkner   5   0-0   0-1   0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed      16   2-7   0-0   1-2   3   0   1    5
Causey    11   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0   1    0
Kilk.-Diaw 6   0-2   0-0   0-0   1   0   2    0
Dizdarevic 6   0-0   0-0   0-0   1   0   0    0
DNP: Beal, Izzo
TOTALS   200 19-50  7-16  11-15  29  10  19   70

Post game recaps follow below. Coverage from the Hartford Courant is not included because it is a registration only site. The GUHoyas.com is an Associated Press account only.

2003-04: Another Slow Start Updated 1/15/04

Over the years, one can't understate the importance of the Hoyas getting out to a good start in Big East play, especially with two home games to start. A review of the past ten seasons suggests that a good start generally bodes well for the Hoyas in league play, but 2003-04 is another year where the Hoyas will start out in the back of the Big East pack:

Year First BE Game Initial
BE Games
BE Record
1993-94 Lost to Villanova Won 3 of 5 10-8 NCAA
1994-95 Won vs. PC Won first 4 11-7 NCAA
1995-96 Won vs. WVU Won first 3 13-5 NCAA
1996-97 Won vs. Seton Hall Won 2 of 3 11-7 NCAA
1997-98 Lost to Villanova Lost first 2 6-12 NIT
1998-99 Lost to Rutgers Lost first 4 6-12 NIT
1999-00 Lost to PC Lost first 3 6-10 NIT
2000-01 Won vs. WVU Won first 4 10-6 NCAA
2001-02 Lost to Miami Lost first 2 9-7 --
2002-03 Won vs. WVU Lost 2 of 3 6-10 NIT
2003-04 Won vs. Rutgers Lost next three ?? ??
Troubleshooting 1/13/04

Georgetown's shooting has failed them in its first three Big East games to date. But there's no alarm from the staff just yet.

After shooting 46.6% in its first nine games, Georgetown has shot only 33.8% in conference play compared to 43.2% for their Big East opponents. Among notable drop-offs such as Courtland Freeman (down from 58.9% in December to 49.4% in January) Ashanti Cook (from 36% to 28%), and Darrel Owens (63% to 48%), the most serious drop-off has come from leading scorer Gerald Riley, who shot 45.9% in December, but only 29.7% in January.

"Gerald will be fine," coach Craig Esherick told the Washington Post. "Gerald's probably the last person in the world I'm worried about right now."

Iverson Thinking Football? 1/11/04

The Wilmington News-Journal has an interesting story on the interest Allen Iverson has in a second job...in the NFL.

Mindful of the success of Atlanta's Michael Vick, the 28 year old former all-state quarterback at Bethel HS still thinks about a two-sport opportunity in his future. "Not a day goes by when I don't think about that," he told the paper.

In 1992, Iverson combined for a combined 2,204 yards (passing and rushing) and 29 touchdowns at Bethel HS, records that not even Vick could touch.

Iverson was recruited in football by the likes of Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Miami before opting for basketball at GU. There were stories on campus in 1994 that Iverson entertained thoughts of walking on for football at Georgetown, but John Thompson would hear none of it.

"What Allen has done is he figured out a way to play football with a basketball," said his manager, Gary Moore. "He's got that toughness. How many times have you seen him get knocked down, then get right back up? That's a football player's mentality".

Gaughan Steps Up In Racing 1/11/04

Former Georgetown walk-on Brendan Gaughan has announced a deal to join the top level of NASCAR stock car racing this year after a successful run in the truck division, according to various reports.

"I am thrilled to get this opportunity and thankful to so many people," said Gaughan in this link to Autosport.com. "I appreciate the confidence that Kodak and the Penske organization have shown in my abilities. I can't wait for the 2004 season to begin."

Gaughan posted career earnings of $1,176,202 in seven years on the Craftsman Trucks circuit, including over $600,000 in 2003.

Darrel Owens Feature 1/11/04

The Washington Times has a feature in Saturday's editions on the development of Darrel Owens as an offensive scorer for the Hoyas.

"I didn't predict he was going to play this well," coach Craig Esherick said. "He's shooting the ball better than I ever thought."

"This program brings in good players, and Darrel is a great player," said senior co-captain Gerald Riley. "It's all about time. You've got to put in your time, and that's what he did."

West Virginia 62, Georgetown 58 1/11/04

A season low 31% shooting sank the Hoyas in Morgantown, losing to West Virginia 62-58.

 Both teams labored through a poor first half, combining for six field goals in the first 11 minutes of play. The Hoyas had their last lead at 15-13 with 7:10 to play, and did not score for the rest of the half as West Virginia struggled on their own to put points on the board. A late rally gave the Mountaineers a 22-15 halftime lead.

The Hoyas had numerous open shots but could simply not convert. Georgetown's first field goal of the second half came with 15:41 to play, now down 28-17. A Hoya rally closed the lead to 33-31, but two D'Or Fischer dunks extended the Mountaineer lead, and WVU built a lead up at 49-36, entering the final three minutes of play. Georgetown's offensive touch awoke, but West Virginia scored its remaining 13 points from the foul line, holding off Ashanti Cook's 16 points, including three threes late. The Mountaineers' poor three point shooting (2 for 16) allowed this game to be closer than it was.

There was a huge disparity at the free throw line, where the Hoyas average 18 points and 27 attempts a game. In today's game, Georgetown did not have a free throw in the first half, and finished 8 for 12, while West Virginia was 28-40 from the line, accounting for 45 percent of their point production. Johannes Herber led the Mountaineers with 15 points, as West Virginia played their first game without leading scorer Drew Schifino, who was suspended indefinitely from the team on Friday.

Very poor shooting by Ashanti Cook (6-18), Gerald Riley (5-15), Darrel Owens (3-11) and Courtland Freeman (2-7) were emblematic of Georgetown's equal opportunity bricklaying. The bench was 0 for 7.

The loss breaks an eight game streak over West Virginia in games dating back to 2000. Next up: #1-ranked Connecticut, who has won six straight and 13 of 15 over Georgetown dating back to the 1993-94 season.

The Georgetown half of the box score follows below.

         MIN  2FG    3FG   FT  REB   A  PF  PTS
Bowman    26  6-13   0-1   4-6  12   2   4   16
Freeman   21   2-5   0-0   0-0   4   0   5    4
Owens     37   1-7   2-4   0-0  10   2   4    8
Cook      35  3-11   3-7   1-2   3   3   4   16
Riley     38  4-11   1-4   2-2   2   2   4   13
Faulkner   1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
Reed       6   0-2   0-0   1-2   1   4   3    1
Causey    22   0-3   0-1   0-0   4   1   5    0
Kilk.-Diaw 9   0-1   0-0   0-0   1   0   3    0
Dizdarevic 5   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0   0    0
DNP: Beal, Izzo
TOTALS  200  16-54  6-17  8-12  37  14  32   58

More post-game reports follow Sunday morning.

BC Wants Early Exit 1/9/04

If Boston College officials had their way, Tuesday's game with Georgetown would be its last game with the Hoyas...and the prelude to an early break with the Big East.

Not so fast, says the Big East.

With as many as 22 schools preparing to change leagues nationwide by 2006, Boston College wants an earlier exit so it can join the Atlantic Coast Conference and create a playoff-eligible league, says ESPN. That move would allow five Conference USA schools to move to the Big East a year early, and for the other affected schools to expedite its plans. The move would mean ACC-sized revenues in 2004 for BC and and avoid a lame-duck season for the Eagles in 2004-05.

The Big East isn't in any hurry to help out its former friends, though.

"Let me put it this way," Rutgers Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy said in this link to the Washington Post. "I think there's very, very little chance that [BC] could move for the next academic year."

The Syracuse Post-Standard has a feature in Friday's edition on how the eagles may fare in their new conference.

"If you think the people at Maryland complain about all the decisions being made in North Carolina and feeling like an outsider," said ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, "how's BC going to feel?"

Coach Ewing 1/9/04

The New York Daily News and New York Post have features on Houston assistant coach Patrick Ewing (C'85) and discusses his growing interest in becoming an NBA head coach.

"I think I'm learning a lot from Jeff [Van Gundy]," Ewing told the Daily News. "I'm enjoying it. If you had asked while I was playing if I wanted to be a coach, the answer would have been no."

Asked when he would like to make the next move, Ewing replied: "One day - hopefully one day soon."

Scheduling: Perception And Reality? 1/7/04

Is Georgetown scheduling itself out of March Madness...in December?

Head coach Craig Esherick and commissioner Mike Tranghese are prominently cited in this interesting article from ESPN.com about what Big East teams are doing--and not doing--to improve their post-season aspirations.

"I told our coaches, and I told our ADs, that if you elect not to go out and schedule a quality non-conference schedule, the only way you're going to get into the NCAA Tournament is if you have a dominant regular season in conference play," Tranghese said.

The article cites Georgetown as contrary to Tranghese's non-conference scheduling model. "I think you have opportunities in your league to prove to people and to show people that you can play at the level of the NCAA Tournament," said coach Esherick. "I don't think that our non-conference schedule in any of the time I've been involved at Georgetown has really had an effect on that."

Tranghese appears unswayed by the Georgetown approach, which placed the Hoyas' strength of schedule dead last in Division I entering the conference season.

"If you elect not to schedule [tougher opponents], then you get that reputation and that reputation gets carried over," Tranghese tells ESPN. "The committee knows who plays and who doesn't."

With the Hoyas' NCAA hopes at low tide in 2003-04, the issue may be moot. Going forward, however, Georgetown's scheduling practices will face even greater scrutiny--and risk--as its tournament chances brighten.

Special Report: Five Years After 1/9/04

Thursday, this page discussed the events of January 8, 1999 which led to John Thompson's stunning resignation as head coach. And, of course, January 8 marked the five year anniversary of Craig Esherick as head coach.

 Craig Esherick seems to get a visceral reaction from a lot of Hoya fans, most of which is not personal, but a reflection of the team's performance since 1999. The third winningest coach in school history, Esherick averaged an even 20 wins a year at Georgetown from January 1999 to January 2004, and with just one extra win in each of three seasons, he'd be riding four straight 20-win seasons into the 2003-04 season. That didn't happen, of course.

"Esherick has seemingly outlasted the [former St. John's coach Brian] Mahoney comparison, but a closer look at his record to date (100-60) produces a less flattering picture." writes columnist Kevin Casey at the Back Page. "More illuminating are Esherick's results against good competition: 38-42 in Big East play, 5-5 in the Big East Tournament, 9-10 against teams from the Big Ten, ACC, Pac-10 and SEC...Boiled down to its elements, Esherick's record is certainly not terrible, but it's far from great. It's just … average," said Casey.

And that record? The Hoyas' overtime woes go back well before Esherick (GU lost 11 of 14 overtime games in John Thompson's last decade) and over Coach Esherick's tenure, Georgetown is an even 19-19 in games where the final score--in regulation--is five points or less. Here's the breakdown by margin of victory:

OT 1-5 6-10 11-15 16+ Total
2003-04 0-0 2-0 1-1 2-0 5-0 10-1
2002-03 1-3 4-6 4-4 3-2 7-0 19-15
2001-02 0-4 2-2 5-4 1-1 11-0 19-11
2000-01 0-0 2-3 5-3 5-0 13-2 25-8
1999-00 1-0 5-4 4-4 2-3 7-4 19-15
1998-99 0-1 4-4 2-3 0-2 1-0 8-10
Totals 2-8 19-19 21-19 13-8 44-6 100-60

And it won't get any easier in 2006, when five new schools join the conference. A 2003 analysis by HoyaSaxa.com shows that the Georgetown program now trails most Big East schools across a series of performance-based metrics.

"A former Big East coach was quoted... on his opinions of the program [and] here is what the coach said: "The biggest problem with Esherick is that he hasn't had long enough time to separate himself from the coaching style and philosophy of [John Thompson]," wrote a 2002 HoyaSaxa.com editorial. "He stressed that [Thompson] was a great coach, but Esherick needed to better assert his own style and put his own stamp on the program. He felt giving Esherick a contract extension was a big step in the right direction because it will help recruiting and allow Esherick to mold the program more the way he wants to."

Fans from other schools often ask why Georgetown didn't (or doesn't) hire a big name, seven-figure coach. First, Georgetown can't afford to, but more importantly, it doesn't want to. It's made a commitment to its coach and needs to give him the support needed to succeed. If the sights are set a little lower in 2003-04, the bar will be raised going forward.

"If [Craig] Esherick is guilty of anything," wrote the Chicago Tribune, "it is doing mere maintenance rather than reconstruction. He has not been the program's downfall. It had already fallen from the level occupied by consistent winners such as Duke, Arizona, Kentucky and now Maryland when he was handed the reins."

Five years later, there's still work to be done.

Special Report: Five Years Ago... 1/8/04

 In 1997, John Thompson invited assistant coach Craig Esherick to join him at the press conference announcing Dean Smith's unexpected retirement at North Carolina and the elevation of assistant coach Bill Guthridge. Except for perhaps John Thompson himself, no one knew that the UNC press conference would mirror the events which followed at Georgetown on January 8, 1999.

At a press conference that day, flanked by alumni such as Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Michael Jackson, and Dikembe Mutombo, Thompson announced his decision. "You now that I am going through a problem with marriage right now," Thompson said. "And I owe it to my family to address that. Not just to myself and to my wife, I owe it to my family to address that. I would be irresponsible if I did not address that. I can't deal with that as a distraction." (Thompson and his wife of 32 years separated the previous year.)

At the time of the announcement, there was considerable media speculation asking if Thompson was resigning because of illness or a pending NBA coaching position. Neither were true. Thompson surprised the media later that year by accepting an offer to co-host a an afternoon radio show on WTEM-AM. Many assumed it to be a short-time deal, but five years later, the coach is still on the air, and "The John Thompson Show" has now become a drive-time leader in the Washington radio market.

Five years later, Coach Thompson is still active as a television analyst for NBA games and in work for the John Thompson Foundation. He attends Georgetown games when in town, and remains an important part of the Georgetown Basketball family.

HoyaSaxa.com posted the first wire stories breaking on the story at 8:00 that Thursday night. Georgetown officials had actually known of the decision two days earlier and was able to release the news of the press conference that evening without any prior leaks.

According to an exclusive by Big East Briefs magazine and provided to HoyaSaxa.com later that evening, the father of then-recruit Courtland Freeman said that Coach Thompson had told him that he was stepping down but would remain with the University until 2006.

"We have to see what happens," Charles Freeman said. "The guy's been around for a long time. I knew he wasn't going to work forever. I just don't know what's going on totally. I just know what he tells us. He really didn't tell me all that much, just that he was going to step down for personal reasons. I suppose it would be immediately because of the way he talked. The press conference is tomorrow, so it's a decision he obviously just made."

Most of the web links to that day's coverage are now inactive. Here are links to The HOYA's archived coverage of the news:

The Thompson Legacy 1/8/04

When the history of Georgetown in the 20th Century is written, among the three most prominent names will be Rev. Edmund Walsh (founder of the School of Foreign Service), Rev. Timothy Healy (University president, 1976-1989) and John Thompson.

Below is a brief summary of some of these accomplishments:

  • 1984 National Champions
  • 3 NCAA "Final Four" Appearances
  • 6 Big East Tournament Championships
  • 7 NCAA "Elite Eight" Regional Finals
  • 7 Big East Regular Season Titles
  • 10 Big East Tournament Finals Appearances
  • 15 Seasons In Final Top 25 Polls
  • 19 Seasons Of 20 Or More Wins
  • 20 NCAA Tournament Appearances
  • 24 Consecutive Winning Seasons
  • 24 Consecutive Post Season Appearances
  • 26 Players Selected In NBA Draft
  • 77 Of 79 4-Yr. Lettermen With Degrees
  • 596-239 (.717) Record

    That having been said, the program goes on. Past quotes attributed to Thompson had him saying "I am Georgetown basketball." Perhaps, at one time. But he isn't any more, and it is imperative to move forward and maintain a strong constituency of support for men's basketball, no matter who is at the helm.

    Institutional and fan support will ultimately ensure the continued excellence of basketball at Georgetown, to uphold the legacy of those 27 years. And that's the way John Thompson expects it.

    Some thoughts from Jan. 14, 1999 on honoring the legacy:

    "So how should Georgetown honor the legacy of John Thompson? We asked for your thoughts. Here were the runners-up:

    • A place in the Georgetown Hall of Fame? This seems obvious. Although the Hall of Fame committee only inducts a small group of honorees every two years, usually distributed across a number of men and women's sports, the 2000 induction date would be a timely choice.
    • "The Thompson Years" on video? A lot of fans surely would like to see a compilation of the great games of the past, some reflections by the coach and by former players, or even a sample of Thompson's various TV appearances. [His 1989 Nightline appearance was a classic.]
    • A scholarship fund? Now here's one worth looking at. An irony lost on many people is that Georgetown's most famous coach wasn't even considered by Georgetown out of high school, and in a city that was 80% black, there were very few black students at GU through the late 1960's. John Thompson has always challenged the Georgetown community to reach out to the District's youth, and this might be a way of continuing that legacy.
    But the clear choice in the unofficial survey was summed up as follows: Rename McDonough for Thompson." An e-mail asked "How can we honor the legend? There is one thing we can do that many would argue should have been done a long time ago: build an on-campus basketball arena for "his" Georgetown basketball teams. Indeed, aren't all the future Hoya teams really John's?"

    Well...there are no funds presently earmarked for such a project in the capital campaign. But perhaps Georgetown is ready to begin to discuss a major revitalization of the gym, and to solicit funds in Thompson's honor to somehow expand its seating to a level suitable for students to be able watch non-conference games on campus. If there can be a "Phog Allen Fieldhouse" and a "Dean Smith Center", maybe the "McDonough-Thompson Arena" isn't such a far-off idea after all."


    HoyaSaxa.com: The One-Stop Web Site For Hoya Basketball™
    An independent web site not affiliated with Georgetown University. All rights reserved.