- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 29, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE Mike Sweetney, Georgetown's leading scorer, played a season-low 15 minutes in the Hoyas' first road game of the season and it wasn't because of his nagging left hamstring.
Early foul trouble forced Sweetney to watch the majority of yesterday's game from Georgetown's bench, and after he fouled out with 6:26 left, the Hoyas were forced to finish the game without their consensus preseason All-American forward and lost their first game of the season.
Immediately following Georgetown's 79-75 loss to Virginia at University Hall before 8,251, Hoyas coach Craig Esherick singled out what he felt was biased officiating.
"I think that it's interesting that [the Big Ten] can even think of suspending [Indiana coach] Mike Davis for six games for running out on the floor and I have to keep my mouth shut after the job one particular ref did today," Esherick said. "I can't say anything. I'm not allowed to say a word and it bothers the heck out of me."
It was particularly bothersome after Gerald Riley, Georgetown's second-leading scorer who entered the game averaging 13.7 points per game, fouled out with 38.6 seconds left and the Hoyas trailing 74-73.
Before the game, Esherick pointed out to this team that games seem to be officiated differently in ACC arenas than in the Big East. The Hoyas (7-1) were whistled for more fouls, 27-19, and Virginia more than doubled Georgetown's trips to the foul line, 28-13.
"We were warned before the game that the style of the ACC and the style of the Big East is two different entities," said Sweetney, who finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in limited action. "In the Big East we play physical, in the ACC they don't like bump-and-grind. I'm not saying that the game was poorly officiated, but there was a lot of things that was missing in the game that the officials didn't pick up on, but you've got to play through those things."
With Sweetney, Georgetown's 20.7-points-per-game scorer, watching from the bench, the Hoyas reduced a 12-point deficit and took a 71-70 lead with 2:36 left on the first of two Wesley Wilson free throws.
From there, the Cavaliers (7-2) scored five of their final nine points from the free throw line to ice the game. In the final 1:14, Virginia made five of seven free throws.
"From my eyes, I thought the refs called the game fair because they were calling fouls on us," said Cavaliers sophomore swingman Devin Smith.
Riley's fifth foul appeared to be a dubious call. Referee Doug Shows whistled Riley for a hold on Virginia backup point guard Jermaine Harper at midcourt. What's interesting about the call was that Riley's back was turned to Shows, who was the furthest official from the action of the three-man crew. Riley's late-game ejection really hurt the Hoyas because he is Georgetown's best perimeter shooter and came into the game hitting 60 percent (12 of 20) of his 3-pointers.
"When you're playing away from home, you're not going to get calls go your way," said Riley, who led the Hoyas with 19 points. "He called that with my back to him and I'm holding the ball."
Georgetown's transition defense could have been better. On too many Virginia possessions, the Hoyas lost Virginia shooters in transition. The Cavaliers made seven of 14 3-pointers and Smith, a 6-foot-5 junior college transfer, made the Hoyas pay by making three of four 3-pointers.
Of the four Virginia players to score in double figures, Smith was the only starter. Senior forward Travis Watson came of the bench to lead the Cavaliers with 16 points. Elton Brown, Virginia's 6-9 forward, came off the bench to contribute 14 points and forward Derrick Byars added 10 points in a reserve role.
"They beat us fair and square," Esherick said. "Mike Sweetney didn't have a thing to do with that victory and I don't want anyone to think or to say that I blame anything in relation to Mike Sweetney for the game."

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