Last night at McDonough Arena, Georgetown provided a two-hour demonstration of why college basketball has a division classification system.
In a game that was a mammoth mismatch long before the opening tip, the 14th-ranked Hoyas opened their season with a merciless 108-47 thrashing of Division III Marymount before a surprisingly split crowd of 3,179 fans.
The Hoyas now have two days to prepare for a nationally televised matchup against Georgia on Monday in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic in Springfield, Mass.
The only drama provided by last night’s tuneup came early in the second half, when Georgetown All-American candidate Mike Sweetney (27 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks) absorbed at least his fourth potentially flagrant foul from the Saints (0-1). Sweetney popped up from the floor and had to be restrained from going after Marymount forward Carson Robinson.
Sweetney was hit with a technical, and then responded by going on a rampage over the next five minutes. Demanding the ball on possession after possession, Sweetney scored 10 points in the next five minutes despite the fact that Marymount’s entire team was clinging onto him like so many hapless clothes pins. When the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Oxon Hill left the game for good with 12:50 remaining, Georgetown led 80-30 and Sweetney had nearly outscored the pathetic Saints (27-30) by himself.
“I think it’s always a mistake for the other team to get Mike upset,” said Georgetown coach Craig Esherick. “I think the kid hit him in the head as they were falling, and Mike shouldn’t have thrown the ball at him. But you don’t want to get him upset. Mike is surprisingly quick for a big man, and when you get him aroused, which is what Marymount did in the second half, he’s very hard to stop.”
Aside from Sweetney’s play, the rout basically served as a debut showcase for Georgetown’s freshman backcourt tandem of reserve point guard Drew Hall and reserve shooting guard Tony Bethel. The former teammates from Montrose Christian Academy teamed on the perimeter for nearly two-thirds of the game, combining for 31 points, 13 assists and six steals.
“My thinking in playing this game was knowing we were getting ready to play Georgia, I wanted to get those two freshman guards ready to play,” said Esherick, who added the game to Georgetown’s schedule when Houston backed out of a late December game. “I’ve been very impressed with both Drew (17 points, six assists) and Tony (14 points, seven assists) and their poise thus far. I think they’ve both handled the pressure that’s been thrust upon them as freshmen very well.”
With what amounted to their last exhibition game behind them, the Hoyas head to Springfield tomorrow for what promises to be a far more competitive game.
“Now we’re going to play an SEC team, and I’m sure Georgia will be ready to play,” said Esherick. “I know we’re all looking forward to it, because it should be a fun game.”