- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Scoring is not an issue for the Georgetown Hoyas this season, not with the explosive Gerald Riley and Brandon Bowman.

Riley and Bowman, averaging a combined 35.2 points, have helped transform Georgetown (13-6, 4-5 Big East) into a better offensive team as it heads to Blacksburg, Va., to take on Virginia Tech (9-10, 2-6) at Cassell Coliseum tonight.

In the past, the Hoyas have been stereotyped as a battling defensive team. Not so this season, when their shooters are leading the way.

“I dont think anybody that has seen us play this year can say that we dont have a good shooting team,” Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. “Weve had to play that way this year because that is our strength. If you go back and look at my quotes, I was never worried about the scoring because I knew what Gerald and Brandon can do, and I knew what Ashanti [Cook] could do.”

The 6-foot-6 Riley has averaged 26.8 points in Georgetowns last four games, including a career-high 37 in a victory over Miami on Saturday. Riley, Georgetowns top-returning scorer from a year ago (14.1), accepted the lead role in the Hoyas offense when power forward Mike Sweetney left early for the NBA Draft and has increased his total to 18.6 points a game.

“[Scoring] was definitely something I came into the season ready for with Mike leaving. He carried the majority of the load last year,” said Riley, a four-year starter who ranks 15th on Georgetowns all-time scoring list with 1,361 points. “This year, I came into the season being prepared of being more of a leader on the court. I knew a couple of things I did last year had to increase this year.”

Bowmans points dont come as easily. The 6-8 sophomore is playing out of position at power forward because of Georgetowns lack of interior personnel, and many of his 16.6 points a game come on putbacks, in transition or off the dribble.

“Coach put the emphasis of scoring heavily on me and Geralds shoulders, and we have come through for the most part this season,” Bowman said. “We knew going into this season what we had to do, our responsibilities on the team and how we were going to play a heavy role on this seasons team. Were coming through. It was expected, so we had no other choice but to follow through.”

Still, Bowmans emergence has been somewhat of a surprise. As a freshman last season, Bowman averaged 7.6 points, but the Santa Monica, Calif., native more than doubled his output and ranks ninth in the Big East at 7.2 rebounds a game.

During Georgetowns tumultuous offseason in which two assistant coaches left, guards Drew Hall and Tony Bethel transferred and Sweetney turned pro, Bowman seriously contemplated transferring himself. Staying turned out to be the wise choice.

“It has worked out, and I guess I made a good decision,” Bowman said. “I truly am enjoying this year, I really am, even with the couple losses that weve had against good teams. We can always do better, but I think were playing at a high level that many people didnt expect.”

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