- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2003

This year, the Georgetown Hoyas may not have the resume to spurn the NIT.
The Hoyas' season is collapsing and there is no immediate relief in sight. Mike Sweetney has carried the offensive load for Georgetown, but he has not received adequate support. Hoyas coach Craig Esherick is looking to make a change, and it could come at point guard.
"I don't know, I don't know what I'm going to do," Esherick said of his point guard situation. "I'm thinking about of putting somebody different in there definitely. And who it is, what I do, I don't know."
The reeling Hoyas (10-6, 2-4 Big East), losers of four of their past five games, need to do something. The most logical first step is to get Tony Bethel, who is more suited as a shooting guard, off the point. The problem is there is nobody really capable of handling the most important position on the floor.
Freshman Ashanti Cook, who has missed Georgetown's last six games with a severely sprained right ankle, may be the best option at point guard. However, that's a lot of pressure to place on a freshman.
Georgetown has compiled 40 more turnovers than assists this season, reflecting its shaky guard play. They're also struggling to get the ball inside to Sweetney; with nobody capable of penetrating, teams are sagging on Sweetney in the lane. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Sweetney has been strong enough to battle through double and triple teams and to average a team-leading 21.2 points.
Drew Hall, Georgetown's backup point guard, has made bad decisions both offensively and defensively during critical moments and appears to be the last player Esherick wants on the floor when it's crunch time.
"Drew has had some good games and some times where he could play better," Esherick said. "He's only a sophomore. Our juniors and seniors are the ones that need to step up."
It had better happen soon because the Hoyas may not even qualify for the Big East tournament the top six in each division go or even finish the season with a winning record.
Dissension is mounting. Esherick said after Wednesday's disasterous 93-82 overtime loss to Seton Hall at MCI Center, that he is only going to play those who really want to play the rest of the season, but refused to identify his underachievers. Yesterday, Esherick would still not name those who are causing the Hoyas to freefall.
Bethel openly criticized his teammates after the Seton Hall game for not knowing how to play defense. The situation is ugly and could get worse with a two-game trip to No.11 Notre Dame, which Georgetown faces tomorrow, and No.24 Syracuse Monday.
The Hoyas have not won a road game (0-4), or beaten a ranked team (0-2) this season, and six of their remaining 11 games are on the road, where every conference opponent has a winning home record.
By sweeping the Hoyas this season, the Pirates (8-9, 3-4) hold the tiebreaker if both teams finish tied for last in the division. With Wednesday's embarrassing loss to the Pirates, Georgetown's season has seemingly deteriorated into a three-team race with West Virginia (11-7, 2-4) and Rutgers (9-9, 1-5) for staying out of the West Division cellar and qualifying for the Big East tournament.
"At some point, you've got to start thinking about changing some things and that has been going through my mind the last 24 hours, whether or not I'll do it on Saturday, I don't know," Esherick said.
Note The Big East acknowledged that Seton Hall had six men on the court when it scored a go-ahead basket in the final seconds of regulation against Georgetown on Wednesday. The league said it is dealing with the situation internally and has spoken with both coaches.
Esherick did not comment on the matter.
If the officials had noticed the six men on the court, they could have called a technical foul on Seton Hall and given the Hoyas two free throws.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese has spoken with Art Hyland, the league's coordinator of men's basketball officiating. Hyland has spoken with the three officials Mike Kitts, Les Jones and Fran Connolly.
Since the officials are independent contractors, the league cannot take disciplinary action against them.

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