- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 18, 2003

Coming off Georgetown's worst loss of the season Tuesday at Seton Hall, Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said he is not going to make any changes to his starting lineup.
That's because he can't.
Key injuries have decimated Georgetown's backcourt depth. Ashanti Cook, a promising freshman guard, has a severely sprained right ankle and will miss today's game at MCI Center against St. John's (8-5, 1-2 Big East) and Monday's home game against Rutgers.
Swingman Darrel Owens, who has provided a spark by coming off the bench and shooting 52 percent (13 of 25) from the floor, is listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle. Another swingman, Ramell Ross, suffered a bruised back muscle against Seton Hall and is questionable for the Hoyas (9-3, 1-1).
Starting shooting guard Gerald Riley suffered a stress reaction to his right foot in September and aggravated it in Georgetown's 79-75 loss to Virginia on Dec.28. Since then, Riley the Hoyas' second-leading scorer at 13 points a game has been limited to shootarounds in practice.
Riley's inactivity showed against Seton Hall as he scored a season-low four points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor in Georgetown's surprising 68-54 loss.
"Ashanti and Gerald are two of three guys [with Tony Bethel] that are shooters and can keep teams honest on defense," Esherick said. "That has contributed to our lack of offensive flow, and it's been something we've been working on the last couple of days."
Esherick doesn't want to use injuries as an excuse, but they obviously are a problem. In the Seton Hall game, starting guards Riley and Bethel were outscored 43-5 by the Pirates' starting backcourt.
With his guards cold (3-for-27), Esherick had nobody to call on, especially with Cook and Owens sporting air casts. That also will be the case today against the Red Storm.
"The lineup will stay the same and the rotation will stay the same, with Drew [Hall], Victor [Samnick], and Courtland [Freeman] coming off the bench," Esherick said.
If Ross can't play today, Esherick will only have three guards including Riley, who is less than 100 percent. Freshman forward Brandon Bowman could move to shooting guard in a pinch if Esherick decides to use a big lineup. However, Bowman can't stretch defenses because he is an 18.5 percent (5-for-27) 3-point shooter.
Against Seton Hall, Georgetown's guards could not stop the Pirates' backcourt of Andre Barrett (16 points) and John Allen (27). Not only could they not defend, Georgetown's guards couldn't score or get the ball inside to Mike Sweetney. The Hoyas finished with a season-low seven assists.
Georgetown's problems are not confined to its backcourt. In the middle, 6-foot-11 Wesley Wilson has disappeared. The Hoyas' starting center has played a total of just 25 minutes in the last three games, with five points and seven rebounds.
Wilson's grandfather died Christmas Eve, and Esherick thinks that is the reason Wilson's production has plummeted. Wilson, who grew up in California, was never able to go home because of time and distance during school breaks and usually went to his grandfather's house in Scranton, Pa.
"It has affected him," Esherick said. "We've got to get him going."


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