- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Maybe it was a Hawaiian hangover.

In its first game since a successful trip to the Rainbow Classic, Georgetown was forced to go to overtime before defeating Norfolk State 78-70 last night before 6,071 at MCI Center. Hoyas forward Brandon Bowman scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the extra session.

Georgetown (7-3) gets another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent tomorrow when Howard (4-5) comes down Georgia Avenue. The Hoyas went 2-1 in Hawaii last week, losing to Oral Roberts but bouncing back to beat Long Beach State and Clemson.

“I was not going to let [an upset] happen, and I had to play like it,” said Bowman, who is Georgetown’s leading scorer (15.6). “My teammates started taking that approach. Everyone realized we were in overtime with a team that played its heart out the whole game. We gutted it out, being the team that we are. We can beat any team in the country, and we can lose to any team in the country.”

Bowman made 11 of 18 shots — including six of eight in the second half and overtime — and finished with 11 rebounds, four blocks and four steals. Five Norfolk State players scored in double figures, led by District native Chakowby Hicks with 17.

Bowman’s third double-double allowed Georgetown to run its all-time record to 44-1 against teams currently in the MEAC.

Georgetown freshman Jeff Green, the reigning Big East rookie of the week, finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Darrel Owens scored a season-high 14 points off the bench, and guard Ashanti Cook made three of seven 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.

The Spartans were familiar with the Hoyas from the summer Kenner League at Georgetown’s McDonough Arena. Seven of Norfolk State’s 13 players are from the Baltimore/Washington corridor or played high school ball in the area.

“We’ve played Clemson, we’ve played Rutgers, and we got Georgetown, and we’re going to play Miami [Fla.], and the way Coach [Dwight] Freeman describes it, they put their pants on; so do we,” said Norfolk State assistant coach Rodney Martin, who served as Spartans coach because Freeman was unable to travel because of a medical condition.

In their last outing 10 days ago, the Spartans took Rutgers to the wire at Rutgers Athletic Center — one of the toughest home courts in college basketball — before dropping a 63-58 decision.

Like Rutgers, the Hoyas had a tough time putting the Spartans away. The Spartans (3-6), who fell to 0-5 on the road this season and 0-8 all time against Big East teams, were overmatched in the post but stuck around by making six of 15 3-pointers.

The Hoyas led 35-25 at halftime thanks to 57.7 percent shooting, but Norfolk State was far from out of it. Norfolk State switched from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone, and the Hoyas’ shooting plummeted to 31.3 percent after halftime.

“There’s no one that we have played or are going to play where you walk on the court and say, ‘OK, this one’s good,’” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “We have to be focused. We have to come to play every day, every game, no matter who the opponent is. They did a better job of coming in focused than we did today.”

Hicks, who played at Spingarn High School in the District, made a leaning 6-foot jumper in the lane to cut Georgetown’s lead to 45-44 with 11:34 left. The Spartans took the lead on their next possession when senior guard Ryan Grier converted a driving left-handed layup.

Norfolk State led 57-54 with 2:42 left, but Georgetown went on a 7-2 run for a 61-59 lead. Spartans sophomore center Calvin Brown, from Mitchellville, sent the game into overtime with a driving layup through the lane with eight seconds left in regulation.

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