- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2004

PHILADELPHIA — Georgetown is picking the wrong time to play its worst basketball of the season, and the Hoyas better learn how to attack zone defenses because they can expect to see plenty in their final six games.

Guard David Hawkins, a District native, scored a game-high 27 points to lead Temple to a 59-53 victory over Georgetown yesterday before 6,795 at Liacouras Center. The Hoyas turned the ball over 15 times.

The turnover show in the first half was stunning because of how inept the Hoyas looked, especially against a non-conference foe. Midway through the first half, Georgetown (13-8) lost the ball on six straight and eight of nine possessions to fritter away a 10-1 lead.

In the final 2.7 seconds of the half, the Hoyas turned the ball over twice and trailed 29-23 at halftime. Fortunately, Georgetown sorted itself out in the second half and only collected three more turnovers. The 18 turnovers was two shy of the Hoyas’ season high.

“You call it sloppy? I don’t call it sloppy — I call it not being focused,” said guard Gerald Riley, who finished with a team-high 15 points and five turnovers.

Temple’s zone, less suffocating then previous seasons, was good enough to shut down the Hoyas.

The Hoyas shot 31.5 percent (17 of 54), their second-worst game of the season, and scored their second-fewest points. Georgetown opened the second half missing its first 12 shots before Riley hit a 15-foot jumper from the right wing that reduced Temple’s lead to 39-27.

Coming off an embarrassing 15-point loss at Virginia Tech on Wednesday, Georgetown was looking to improve in all areas during the second game of a three-game trip that ends Wednesday at troubled St. John’s (5-16, 0-10 Big East).

When the Hoyas lost at West Virginia 62-58 on Jan.10, Mountaineers coach John Beilein confused the Hoyas with a 1-3-1 zone. When Providence drubbed them 74-61 on Feb.7, the Friars deployed a loose 2-3 zone. Including yesterday, Georgetown’s three lowest-scoring games are against teams that play strictly zone.

“There were some things we did today that encouraged me because of how we played our last game,” Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. “Our last game was probably one of more discouraging performances, I thought we did some really good things today to make me feel much better after we lost than the last time we played.”

The 6-foot-4 Hawkins, from the District’s Carroll High School, overpowered the Hoyas with his offensive repertoire. He plowed through the lane, backed Hoyas down, and pulled up in traffic. Hawkins’ 27 points matched Connecticut’s Emeka Okafor for an opponent’s individual high against Georgetown. If Hawkins had been making his 3-pointers — he was 1-for-8 — he might have scored 40 points.

Hawkins, the nation’s third-highest scorer, made eight of 19 shots from the floor and was 11 of 13 from the free throw line. At one point, he slammed down a two-handed follow-up dunk off point guard Mardy Collins’ missed 15-footer from the left wing. Hawkins took off about 6 feet from the basket, soared over 6-9 Georgetown center Courtland Freeman, and threw the ball down with authority.

“Me and Coach Chaney were just talking about it, that was the best [dunk] since I’ve been here,” Hawkins said. “I just went to the front rim and it came off perfectly.”

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