Sunday, November 25, 2001

If last night’s Georgetown-Towson game could be summarized in one play, it could be a Georgetown player emphatically swatting away a Tiger shot attempt. Or a Hoya making a steal and heading downcourt for an easy two points. Or a Towson player missing a shot attempt miserably. All of the above happened repeatedly last night at McDonough Arena.
Georgetown recorded 14 blocks, three short of a school record, coaxed 33 turnovers and demoralized Towson at both ends of the floor in a 91-40 victory in the first of two games of the John Thompson Classic.
Unlike the days of Mourning and Mutombo, a number of Hoyas (six) joined the block party. Wesley Wilson had four, Mike Sweetney and Courtland Freeman three apiece. Georgetown put up some astounding defensive numbers, recording 18 steals and limiting Towson to 26 percent shooting, though the Tigers were often lucky to have a shot hit the rim. It was embarrassing.
“We did everything that we’ve been practicing,” Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said. “I couldn’t be happier we really concentrated.”
Georgetown didn’t get out of the game unscathed, though. Esherick said sophomore forward Sweetney, who entered the game as the team’s leading scorer (24.3 a game), aggravated his Achilles’ tendon and will not play tomorrow against Grambling. Sweetney played 12 minutes in the first half but sat out the second.
The Tigers, picked to finish last in the 10-team Colonial Athletic Association, actually played Georgetown even for the first five minutes. Then came the first official’s timeout, after which the Hoyas pounced on their visitors and refused to let them up for air.
The Tigers held a 10-7 lead with 15:40 left in the first half. Then things deteriorated rapidly they hit on just four of their first 20 shots and went 7:52 without a field goal.
Kevin Braswell (21 points, seven assists) drilled a 3-pointer to start the No. 16 Hoyas on a massive first-half run, and Georgetown’s aggressive play on both ends simply overwhelmed the Tigers.
Braswell’s shot was followed by a Drew Hall field goal. Then another Braswell drive. Then a Sweetney tip-in. And so on. Victor Samnick finished a 25-3 Hoya surge with a slam dunk off a steal, leaving the hosts in control, 32-13 with 6:52 before the half.
It only got worse: Towson scored just six points in the first 12 minutes of the second half to trail 75-29 with 8:13 to play, when the Tigers had about as many points as turnovers (28). As badly as Georgetown beat Towson in the first half (49-23), it was just as bad in the second (42-17), and would have been worse if the Tigers didn’t get some late points.
“Obviously, we’re not doing a good job of the basics, the fundamentals dribbling, passing and catching,” said Towson coach Michael Hunt.
When the Hoyas weren’t swatting away Towson shots, they were taking the ball hard to the basket particularly Braswell before Towson’s defense was set.
Last night marked the teams’ first meeting, and suffice it to say the Tigers won’t be begging for a return game next season at Towson Center.
Notes The second half of the John Thompson Classic will be played at MCI Center Dec. 20, with Towson playing Howard and Georgetown facing Virginia, two previously scheduled matchups. … Last night’s game was played with the NBA-width 3-second lane and a jump ball on every tied possession, both experimental rule changes.

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