- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2004

Georgetown’s lack of an interior presence cost it last night.

Villanova’s powerful tandem of Curtis Sumpter and Jason Fraser dominated in the paint, combining for 32 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to an easy 75-60 victory over the Hoyas before 7,738 at MCI Center.

With the loss, the Hoyas (12-6, 3-5 Big East) are in a five-team pack near the bottom of the standings, while Villanova (13-8, 5-3) moved into a third-place tie with Providence. Georgetown’s loss sets up an important game tomorrow against Miami (13-9, 3-5) at MCI Center.

“The boards have been a consistent problem, and it’s been something that we have been working on,” Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. “We can’t have any more bad defensive games after today. Today has got to be it. We have to figure out how to be a better post defensive team and how to be a better rebounding team.”

Sumpter led all scorers with 24 points. Fraser finished with eight points, and reserve forward Will Sheridan added seven. Villanova won the rebounding battle 38-25.

In a second half that saw six lead changes, the Wildcats broke open the game with a five-minute, 19-2 run that built their lead to 56-42 with 10:11 left. Derrick Snowden nailed three consecutive 3-pointers in 1:13 for Villanova, which outscored the Hoyas 43-29 in the second half.

In the first half, Georgetown had a 20-14 lead erased in 49 seconds by the Wildcats. Villanova reeled off six points to negate Georgetown’s biggest lead of the half.

Villanova opened the game showing no aftereffects from a loss to third-ranked and undefeated crosstown rival Saint Joseph’s. It pounded the ball inside on three straight possessions to the 6-foot-10 Fraser, who threw down three thunderous dunks on the Hoyas to set the tone.

That was all Esherick needed to see. Georgetown’s fifth-year coach quickly went to a 2-3 zone after Fraser shredded the Hoyas’ interior.

“I didn’t do a very good job at all in post defense,” Georgetown center Courtland Freeman said. “It’s something we’ve got to work on.”

Villanova shot 53.8 percent (14 of 26) in the first half. The Wildcats opened the game by making their first five shots before sophomore guard Allan Ray missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 13:01 left in the half.

Villanova’s impressive first-half shooting would have been even better if forward Andreas Bloch hadn’t missed all six of his attempts, including four from behind the 3-point arc. Villanova was 2-for-9 from long range.

Despite Villanova’s accuracy, the Wildcats were unable to shake the Hoyas. Georgetown trailed 32-31 at intermission because of some decent shooting of its own. Behind sophomore point guard Ashanti Cook’s team-high 12 points (five of six shots), the Hoyas went 13 of 29 in the half.

“We’ve got to go get in the gym and watch some film because we shouldn’t have left [Snowden] open a couple of times,” Georgetown senior guard Gerald Riley said. “Those were some big shots that hurt us.”

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