- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Georgetown captain Courtland Freeman was king of the court last night. With five-tenths of a second left, his powerful dunk kept the Hoyas out of the Big East cellar.

Sophomore point guard Ashanti Cook fed the cutting Freeman from the foul line after Georgetown’s center set a high screen, and Freeman finished with authority to give the Hoyas a 71-69 victory over St. John’s before 7,203 at MCI Center.

“I’m happy I caught the ball and was able to finish,” Freeman said. “It was a perfect pass by Ashanti.”

Freeman’s heroics snapped a three-game Georgetown losing streak and improved the Hoyas to 11-3 overall, 2-3 in the Big East and 9-1 at home. The slam also stopped a seven-game losing streak against the Red Storm.

In a game that saw 16 ties, nine lead changes, and neither team able to lead by more than six points, Freeman emerged as the biggest star. He had a game-high 18 points — just three points shy of tying his career high — and added 12 rebounds and a career-high seven assists. It was Freeman’s first career double-double.

“That’s as good as Courtland Freeman has played in his career, and I’m going to start expecting him to play like that,” Hoyas coach Craig Esherick said. “I thought he was awesome. Defensively, he did a good job, rebounding he did a good job, scoring he did a good job and he had seven assists, too. We were running our offense through him most of the second half.”

With the game tied 69-69 and 26 seconds left, Georgetown was in position to hold the ball for the final shot with the 30-second shot clock off. Cook, who finished with a game-high eight assists, went to work when the game clock reached eight seconds.

The Red Storm guards were doggedly pursuing Cook at the top of the key until Freeman came up and set his screen. St. John’s senior forward Grady Reynolds, who was covering Freeman, jumped out on Cook when Freeman set the pick but did not roll to the basket with him.

“We didn’t want to let them have a second opportunity if we did miss the shot and were happy to go to overtime,” Cook said of Georgetown’s final play. “[Freeman] caught the ball and put it on the rim.”

The Red Storm (4-11, 0-5) limped into Chinatown at 0-4 in Big East play for the first time ever. Regardless, the first half pitted two evenly matched teams. The difference was St. John’s ability to knock down 3-pointers, although the Red Storm came in as the Big East’s worst 3-point shooting team at 31.1 percent.

Sophomore Elijah Ingram made three of five 3-pointers in the first half for a team-high 11 points. The 6-footer Ingram, who came off the bench for the second consecutive game, entered the game at the 17:22 mark for 6-9 center Abe Keita and never left.

Ingram, who is from East Orange, N.J., has had disciplinary issues in the past week. Last Friday, he was involved in a scuffle with teammate Kyle Cuffe and had to be separated by coach Kevin Clark. The following day, Ingram and Reynolds overslept and were late for a film session. Clark didn’t start Ingram or Reynolds in Sunday’s 85-74 loss at Villanova.

While the Hoyas couldn’t control Ingram in the first half, the Red Storm’s post players had problems with Freeman. Freeman, who came into the game averaging 9.2 points, had a game-high 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Hoyas woke up in the second half and shot a sizzling 54.2 percent. Freeman paced four Hoyas in double figures, while forward Darrel Owens scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half. Forward Brandon Bowman scored nine of his 14 points and guard Gerald Riley seven of his 11 in the second half as the Hoyas outscored St. John’s 37-33.

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