- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2001

Georgetown obviously was not impressed by the Haka.
New Zealand's national all-star team performed the traditional Maori war dance before last night's game at McDonough Arena, introducing the Hoyas to a different culture. And then Georgetown returned the favor by introducing the Kiwis to the game of basketball.
Dominating the smallish, slow foreigners in laughable fashion, Georgetown pounded New Zealand 87-53 to complete its exhibition slate. The Hoyas, ranked 14th in the first AP poll, open their season a week from tonight against Marymount at McDonough Arena.
It's illegal to own a handgun in New Zealand. Judging by last night's performance, it must be against the law for a Kiwi to shoot anything with any degree of proficiency. Partly due to Georgetown's pressure defense, but mostly thanks to the force of sheer incompetence, New Zealand missed its first 16 shots from the field, allowing the Hoyas to cruise out to a staggering 33-0 lead.
By the time the Kiwis finally managed to dispel the specter of a shutout, on a clunky runner with 8:31 remaining, Georgetown's starters were already seated and dreaming of a late dinner.
"I watched [New Zealands] game against Virginia Commonwealth on tape this afternoon, and it one point they cut it to seven points on them 79-72. So, I was as surprised as anyone at the start," said Georgetown coach Craig Esherick after watching his Hoyas take a 50-14 halftime lead against a team that made just four of its 33 shots before intermission. "Obviously, we had a size and quickness advantage. I thought defensively we took them totally out of their rhythm early, and it just snowballed."
Though gleaning anything substantive from such a game might be difficult, Georgetown's first five continued its preseason trend of looking more offensively potent than in past years. Senior point guard Kevin Braswell (11 points, eight assists) and sophomore forward Mike Sweetney (10 points, six rebounds), the team's two primary weapons, looked very sharp in their limited action.
The pair's supporting cast of starters also looked strong against the Kiwis, sophomore shooting guard Gerald Riley hitting for 13 points on just six shots and junior forward Victor Samnick (15 points, 13 rebounds) cleaning the boards en route to his second double-double in as many preseason games.
"Victor is as good a rebounder as any forward we've ever had here," said Esherick of his starting small forward.
But Esherick devoted most of the game to experimenting with less experienced lineups and younger players. And as the Hoyas' low second-half output would indicate, the offense ran far less smoothly with freshmen guards Tony Bethel (eight points) and Drew Hall (10 points) teaming with reserve big man Courtland Freeman (six points) and starting center Wesley Wilson (10 points, four rebounds) throughout most of the second half.
"I though things got a little ragged in the second half, particularly with our defense," said Esherick. "But we got off to such a good start and played so well in that first half I thought it was a little difficult for the guys, even the ones who hadn't been playing, to get motivated in the second half. But I was happy to get a chance to get some of those guys at least a little game experience before we get into the season."
Top Georgetown recruit Harvey Thomas, a 6-foot-8 forward from Frederick ranked among the nation's top 30 incoming freshmen, watched his second preseason game in street clothes. Thomas and Georgetown have spent the last several month wrestling with the NCAA Clearinghouse over Thomas' eligibility.
"I still have nothing to report on that front," said Esherick in reference to Thomas.


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