- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2001



After a somewhat lifeless first half, No. 10 Georgetown awakened to thrash UNLV 79-62 last night at MCI Center. The victory helped the Hoyas bury Saturday's first loss of the season and launched them into their coming pair of behemoth Big East matchups with some momentum.

The Hoyas (17-1, 4-1 Big East), who have a half-game lead in the conference's West Division, face their top two division challengers over the next four days, hosting Notre Dame tomorrow and traveling to Syracuse on Monday.

After a sluggish start that saw them trail UNLV (11-8) by as many as 10 points in the first half, the Hoyas rode a huge night from reserve center Wesley Wilson (18 points, six rebounds, two blocks) to a comfortable victory.

Georgetown began the game in the same scoring funk that resulted in its first loss of the season Saturday against unheralded Pittsburgh. The Hoyas, who failed to score in the final 3:53 of a 70-66 loss to the Panthers, missed their first seven shots from the field last night, falling behind the Runnin' Rebels 13-3 on a jumper by UNLV's Dalron Johnson with 15:40 remaining in the first half.

But Wilson, who played high school ball for UNLV interim coach Max Good at Maine Central Institute, sparked the Hoyas out of their stagnant start. Wilson, whom Good played sparingly at Maine Central because he didn't trust his shooting ability, tossed in a turnaround jumper over UNLV center Kaspars Kambala with 15:14 remaining to give Georgetown its first field goal of the night.

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound sophomore, who replaced hapless-looking senior starter Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, followed that first deuce by scoring points on four of Georgetown's next five possessions to pull the Hoyas within 17-13 at the 13:15 mark. The rest of the Hoyas seemed to feed off Wilson's success as Georgetown closed the half on a sustained run to take a 41-35 lead into the locker room, then opened the second half on an 11-3 run that virtually iced the game.

"I thought a couple of guys that I usually don't talk about were key tonight," Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. "Gerald Riley hit a couple of shots to start the second half that put us up by 11, and I thought Wesley Wilson played great for the whole game. He was a handful, both offensively and defensively for Kambala, and he really got us going. Wesley is a heck of a player. And you saw how well he can play when the stupid coach lets him in the game."

Wilson not only came within two points of his career high (20 points against Howard), knocking in seven of 11 shots from the field, he helped hold Kambala in check. Kambala, a 6-9 senior, is regarded as one of the nation's best centers and came in averaging 16.7 points and 9.4 rebounds. But the Georgetown combination of Wilson and Boumtje Boumtje limited him to just 12 points on 18 shots and carried the Hoyas to a dominating 52-36 rebounding advantage.

With Kambala in check, Georgetown strolled to a 66-45 lead midway through the second half before punching cruise control. And Wilson, who turned 21 yesterday, finished the game with a monster two-handed jam to put an exclamation point on the victory.

"I did that one for my birthday," Wilson said.

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