- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 9, 2003

More than three decades after Lefty Driesell's famous proclamation, it was Georgetown that became the "UCLA of the East" yesterday.
The de-fanged Bruins came to town with their longest losing streak since World War II and a 4-14 record that probably will cost coach Steve Lavin his job. However, a blue and gray elixir gave the Bruins at least temporary relief. Guard Cedric Bozeman sank two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to give UCLA a 71-70 victory over the equally inept Hoyas before 14,227 at MCI Center.
After dropping nine straight, UCLA figured to benefit from the law of averages, and the Hoyas (10-9) proved perfect opponents. With another loss to yet another bad team, Georgetown has dropped seven of its last eight and five in a row.
"[Despite] their record, UCLA has a good team," Georgetown forward Mike Sweetney said. "They have athletes all over the court, pretty good players. You can't judge a team by its record."
That rationale also applies to the Hoyas, whose 10 wins clearly are misleading. Georgetown is 2-6 in the Big East and will battle Rutgers (10-10, 2-6) for sole possession of the cellar in the Big East's West Division on Tuesday night.
The top six teams in each division qualify for the Big East tournament, and a loss to Rutgers would leave the Hoyas in danger of not making it for the first time in the conference's 24-year history.
Since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big East for the 1995-96 season, the Hoyas are 2-4 at Rutgers Athletic Center. It doesn't help the Hoyas' cause that they are winless (0-6) on the road this season.
"We're going to have to play well this time we really have to," said Georgetown shooting guard Gerald Riley, who finished with a team-high 20 points yesterday. But that didn't prevent another late breakdown.
Georgetown took a 70-69 lead on a 3-pointer by backup point guard Drew Hall with 32.6 seconds left. UCLA then played for the last shot. With the clock winding down, Bozeman drove into the lane off the right wing and spun to his right. As he turned his back to the basket, freshman forward Brandon Bowman stripped Bozeman and came up with the ball.
However, referee Dave Libbey whistled Tony Bethel for grabbing Bozeman's arm on the move. The Bruins were in a double bonus situation and Bozeman, a 48 percent foul shooter, made both.
On the game's final possession, Hall raced upcourt, but Bozeman fronted him, and the guard's desperation 28-footer bounced off the front of the rim.
"The reality is, you have to make your own breaks, which creates positive momentum," Lavin said. "To make your own breaks, you have to make your free throws, you've got to get the key defensive stop. I thought Cedric making those two free throws was something that would hopefully give us some momentum to build on."
The Hoyas held a 61-56 lead with 5:38 to play but failed to maintain it in part because UCLA forward Jason Kapono took over the game. Kapono, UCLA's leading scorer and a preseason finalist for the Wooden and Naismith awards given annually to the nation's best player, scored seven of UCLA's 15 points in the last five-plus minutes. The 6-foot-8 Kapono finished with a team-high 16 points on 4-for-9 shooting.
Another reason Georgetown couldn't right itself was because Sweetney got into early foul trouble. Sweetney, who is making a strong case for Big East player of the year, was in for just 11 minutes in the first half after picking up his third foul.
Sweetney, who averages 22.1 points and 10.1 rebounds, finished with a very atypical 10 points, although he had nine rebounds. With Sweetney on the bench often, 6-11 UCLA freshman center Ryan Hollins (2.8 average) scored a career-high 12 in the first half alone. Six of those came on breakaway dunks after Georgetown baskets.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide