- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2003

What looked like a potential non-conference land mine wasn’t even a bump in the road for undefeated Georgetown last night against Davidson.

Unless something shocking happens, the Hoyas (6-0) are headed into next month’s Big East season undefeated and with coach Craig Esherick going for his 100th career win. Georgetown meets Elon, Howard and The Citadel before the start of conference play.

How good are the Hoyas? Right now, it’s impossible to tell because of the lightweight opposition, with the exception of a road win at Penn State.

Last night Georgetown’s athletes were too much for Davidson, especially the one-two punch of Gerald Riley and Brandon Bowman. They combined for 39 points as the Hoyas rolled to a 71-53 win before 5,657 at MCI Center.

Georgetown’s defense suffocated the tired Wildcats (2-4), who were playing their fourth game in a week. Davidson had 26 turnovers, which enabled the Hoyas to beat the slower Wildcats down the floor in transition.

“I think that is the best we’ve played this year, and I think we are capable of playing better,” Esherick said. “We have a very good defensive team when we want to be good. We’ve got to work on some things offensively, and I still think we need to become a better rebounding team.”

The 6-foot-8 Bowman led all scorers with 20 points, making six of 14 from the floor. Riley added 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Four Hoyas scored in double figures.

Junior forward Darrel Owens scored 13 points on five of seven shooting, and sophomore point guard Ashanti Cook contributed 12 points for Georgetown.

The Hoyas opened in a nasty man-to-man defense that overwhelmed the Wildcats. Davidson went the opening 6:17 without scoring, missing their first eight shots and turning the ball over seven times. In short, Davidson botched its first 15 possessions.

“Defense wins games,” Bowman said.

While the Wildcats were getting mauled by Georgetown’s halfcourt defense, the Hoyas opened the game with their share of offensive issues. The Hoyas missed their first seven shots before 6-foot-6 junior Owens buried a 3-pointer from the right corner after 3:07 had ticked off the game clock.

Owens’ long jumper opened the door for the Hoyas’ scorers. Riley scored the next seven Georgetown points, and the Hoyas led 10-0.

Riley, who came into this game tied with Bowman as the Hoyas’ co-leading scorer at 17.6, torched Davidson with his complete offensive repertoire. Riley led all scorers with 14 points in the first half.

Apparently, Davidson coach Bob McKillop paid little attention to the scouting report — don’t foul Riley, who is the Big East’s second-best free throw shooter at 92.3 percent (24 of 26). In the first half, Davidson sent Riley to the free throw line five times, and he made all five.

Asked if he thought the Wildcats read the scouting report, Riley replied, “Apparently not. I was able to be in my position and get some good shots.”

Riley, Georgetown’s senior co-captain, scored on drives, had his mid-range game going, made a 3-pointer and dominated from the free throw line. In the first half, he made four of seven shots with three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Georgetown’s defense was simply a nightmare for the Wildcats. Davidson came into this game averaging 20.8 turnovers and gave it away 16 times in the first half alone. Davidson’s excellent rebounding — the Wildcats outrebounded the Hoyas 24-16 in the half — was wasted because of its turnovers.

The only reason Davidson, out of the Southern Conference, was even remotely in the game in the first half was its 3-point shooting. The Wildcats made five of 16 3-pointers in the first half but still trailed 37-28 at intermission.

Davidson is the kind of team that lives and dies by the jumper. The Wildcats came in shooting a respectable 37.7 (46 of 122) from behind the 3-point arc. Seven of the eight Wildcats who saw action in the first half attempted a 3-pointer.

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