- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2003

Strong defense has always been Georgetown’s signature, and yesterday it prevented a shocking upset. The Hoyas forced 28 Delaware State turnovers and recorded 17 steals as they outlasted the Hornets 63-54 before 5,003 at MCI Center.

“Our fullcourt press did a great job of disrupting them and creating a tempo they didn’t like,” Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. “But even with us turning them over and getting steals, the game was still close.”

Georgetown (4-0) trailed 23-16 late in the first half before unleashing a 2-2-1 fullcourt zone press to power a 9-0 run. The Hoyas forced five turnovers during the stretch and finished the half trailing by one.

Seeing that the Hornets (0-2) could not handle Georgetown’s pressure, Esherick kept the heat on in the second half, and the Hornets obligingly wilted with 17 turnovers. The Hoyas outscored their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe 38-28 after the break.

Georgetown allowed the Hornets to dictate how the game would be played from the start. Delaware State runs a disciplined offense that milks the clock and keeps scores low. The Hoyas’ man-to-man defense could not disrupt the Hornets. In the first half, Delaware State ran its offense to perfection, settling for good shots en route to a 26-25 halftime lead.

“It’s a good thing that we scrimmaged Princeton the last two years because that’s [Delaware States] style of play,” Esherick said.

In its devastating fullcourt press, Georgetown imposed double teams right after inbound passes. The Hornets reacted poorly and pulled up their dribble several times — not good, especially in the corners.

“That’s one thing we’re fairly good at — defense,” said Georgetown senior center Courtland Freeman, who scored a career-high 13 points. “We do have a lot of quick guys, and we have the potential to be a very good defensive team.”

Sophomore forward Brandon Bowman led the Hoyas at the offensive end, scoring a career-high 30 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Bowman, who is averaging a team-high 17.3 points, did an excellent job of getting to the foul line and made 11 of 12 free throws.

“We ran plays to get the ball in my hands, and I had to come through,” Bowman said. “I just do whatever I have to do. Today it was my career high [in scoring]. Another night it might be a career high in rebounds.”

The Hoyas certainly would take any rebounding contribution Bowman can make. Delaware State pounded the Hoyas 35-22 on the glass, though it didn’t prevent Georgetown from running its all-time record against schools currently playing in the MEAC to 41-1. Georgetown’s only loss was to Norfolk State during the 1942-43 season, well before the MEAC was even created.

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