- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2004

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Ranked teams haven’t been kind to Georgetown this season.

No. 23 Providence became the third ranked team in as many games to blow out the Hoyas this season. Sophomore guard Donnie McGrath scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack as the Friars pummeled Georgetown 65-50 last night before 10,397 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

The Hoyas also lost by 24 to then-No.1 Connecticut on Jan.14 and by 19 to top-ranked Duke at MCI Center on Saturday.

The Hoyas (11-5, 2-4 Big East) have lost five of their last six games and travel to Miami (13-6, 3-2) on Saturday for a key conference game. Georgetown’s 50 points last night were a season low.

The win was the fifth in 10 days for Providence (14-3, 5-1). Star forward Ryan Gomes was held to eight points and 10 rebounds, but his teammates more than made up for it. Senior guard Sheiku Kabba scored 15 points, unheralded freshman guard Dwight Brewington had 12 and reserve forward Tuukka Kotti added eight points off the bench.

“Their guards and perimeter people hurt us, and that was the ballgame,” Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said.

Shooting guard Gerald Riley provided one of the few bright spots for the Hoyas. Riley had been in somewhat of a slump but broke out of it with a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the second half, on 7-for-15 shooting.

Hoyas forward Brandon Bowman was the only effective player for either team in the first five minutes. Georgetown’s second-leading scorer produced the team’s first five points and added four rebounds. He finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Bowman’s teammates, meanwhile, missed plenty of open shots. The Hoyas were 2-for-10 from the field in the first six minutes but stayed within 7-5 because the Friars had early shooting troubles of their own.

But the Friars got on track, while the Hoyas didn’t. Georgetown was 7-for-25 in the first 20 minutes and trailed 35-18 at intermission. The Hoyas finished the game 18-for-53 (34 percent) from the field.

“Our defense is becoming our staple,” Providence coach Tim Welsh said. “Any time you hold somebody under 35 percent you are most likely going to win the game.”

It wasn’t as if Providence’s 2-3 zone was suffocating Georgetown’s halfcourt offense. There were plenty of open spots, but the Hoyas couldn’t make their shots.

“I’m not going to give [the 2-3 zone] credit,” Riley said. “We had a couple of turnovers we needed to not make and get the ball up to the rim but weren’t able to because we had [16] turnovers that hurt us.”

Providence ripped off a 28-8 run to end the first half, powered by the Friars’ long-distance shooting. Providence made five of nine 3s during the run, including two by Brewington, who had a game-high 10 points at the break. For the game, the Friars made eight of 15 3s.

Providence showed why it is tied with Pittsburgh atop the conference standings after the best Big East start in school history. All five starters scored in the first half, and the Friars backcourt of McGrath and Kabba combined to score 17 points.

With that kind of balance, the Friars didn’t need Gomes to have a great game against the Hoyas. Gomes, the reigning Big East player of the week, came in as the conference’s second-leading scorer at 20.3 points. He took only two shots — and made both — in the first half.

However, Gomes contributed in other ways, mainly on the glass. The Big East’s fourth-best rebounder yanked down seven rebounds in the first half, just a little less than three shy of his average.

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