- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

After allowing Norfolk State to hang around for a half, an exam-weary Mike Sweetney decided to give the Spartans a little hardwood education.

Call it Post Play 101.

Sweetney scored 10 points in a three-minute span during the second half to break open a close game. The spurt snapped Georgetown out of its doldrums and ignited a misleading 84-48 win over the Spartans before 5,447 at MCI Center last night.

Georgetown freshman Brandon Bowman led the team with career highs in points (18), steals (three) and rebounds (nine).

The final score was not indicative of Georgetown's nine-point halftime lead. Sweetney, a first-team All-American candidate, ended any dreams the Spartans had of upsetting the Hoyas with 13 of his 17 points in the second half.

With the Hoyas leading 41-33 with 14:27 left, the 6-8, 260-pound Sweetney went to work. Sweetney powered his way with one strong layup after another, and by the time he was done Georgetown led 53-36 with 11:22 left.

"We started off very, very slow. It's something we can't do against better teams," said Sweetney, who made five of 10 shots from the floor.

Georgetown (6-0) gets another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent Friday when Howard invades MCI Center in what should be a mildly interesting game because of local connections.

Given that Norfolk State (1-5) played with the Hoyas for a half, the Bison probably will feel good about their chances. Spartans first-year coach Dwight Freeman used a small lineup most of the first half and collapsed on Sweetney and center Wesley Wilson, keeping Georgetown from getting the ball inside and disrupting the Hoyas' offense.

"We had some matchup problems with our two big guys being in the game," Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said. "Dwight went small. At one point he had five guards in the game and spread the floor out. He made it real difficult for us."

Georgetown's exam period must be more strenuous than most realize. The Hoyas looked sluggish in the first half after an 11-day layoff. In fact, Esherick didn't play Victor Samnick, Georgetown's defensive stopper, because of exam fatigue.

The Hoyas held a 35-26 lead at halftime, and the 35 points were the second fewest they have scored in the first half this season. The Hoyas turned the ball over 16 times, including four by Bowman and three each by Sweetney and backup point guard Drew Hall. For the game, the Hoyas committed a season-high 22 turnovers.

Plus, the Hoyas made only 10 of 17 free throws in the first half. Compare that to the second half, in which the Hoyas made 17 of 21, and it's easy to see why they outscored the Spartans 49-22 after halftime.

Spartans guard Derrick Smith led all scorers in the first half with 12 points. Smith, who came into the game as the Spartans' leading scorer at 12.2 points a game, made five of nine shots, including two of six from behind the 3-point arc. The rest of his teammates combined to shoot 5-for-25 from the floor in the half.

If a game ever called for a box-and-one junk zone, this was it. Smith made uncontested jumpers against Georgetown's disorganized halfcourt defense, losing the Hoyas in their defensive transition and firing at will. He finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting.

"[Smiths scoring] was more because of the matchup problems more than anything else because they had five small guys in there a lot," Esherick said. "Some of the perimeter guys normally switch, and you can't switch with the big guys. A couple times he got open because of the matchup problems more so then something we did."

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