Thursday, November 29, 2001

Mike Sweetney’s early-season injury could end up being the best thing that ever happened to the Georgetown offense.

With the All-America candidate once again resting his Achilles’ tendon last night, other Hoyas continued to emerge on the offensive end most notably junior center Wesley Wilson. For the second consecutive game, the 6-foot-11, 235-pounder from Vallejo, Calif., was practically unstoppable inside, recording a 21-point, 10-rebound performance to pace No. 18 Georgetown’s 91-61 pasting of forgettable Bethune-Cookman.

“Wesley played one of the better games he’s ever played with us,” said Georgetown coach Craig Esherick. “In fact, he played so well I almost forgot about Mike Sweetney, and that’s hard to do.”

The Hoyas (5-1) now enjoy a much-needed respite before returning to the floor against serious competition next Thursday at South Carolina, when Sweetney is expected back at full speed.

Assuming Sweetney’s injury doesn’t linger any longer, Georgetown should feature a devastating inside tandem when he returns. Before Sweetney went down in the Hoyas’ fourth game, the Georgetown halfcourt offense was one-dimensional. The Hoyas pounded the ball down low to Sweetney, and aside from senior point man Kevin Braswell, the rest of the team basically watched while Sweetney either scored or was swarmed under by sagging defenses.

Despite having obvious offensive skills, Wilson was reticent to shoot in those contests. Sweetney was the program’s poster child, and so Wilson tried to stay out of his way. In Sweetney’s absence, however, Wilson has become the team’s primary post presence. And with amazing alacrity, he has risen to the role.

After a career-high 23-point outburst against Grambling on Monday, Wilson needed only nine shots to score his 21 points last night. Wilson scored on a series of jumphooks, turnaround jumpers and drop-step moves. Most importantly, he displayed big-man skills that few teams, much less smallish Bethune-Cookman, have the size to stop.

“He’s coming along extremely well. I certainly like what I see,” said Esherick, extolling Wilson’s commitment last summer.

The added emphasis on Wilson has also helped him develop a certain amount of synergy with Braswell, who had another solid outing with 20 points and six assists. The pair authored the play of the night with 6:48 remaining in the first half when Wilson grabbed an offensive rebound out near the foul line, and dropped a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Braswell on the baseline for an easy layup that put the Hoyas ahead 30-12.

Sophomore shooting guard Gerald Riley also enjoyed his best game of the season last night, adding 19 points and eight rebounds to the cause as the Hoyas romped to a 49-24 halftime lead over the Wildcats (1-3).

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