- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2004

Georgetown coach Craig Esherick’s blueprint for Big East success is to win all the home games and pick up a few victories away from MCI Center. But so far, the Big East road has been an 0-3 dead end for the Hoyas.

If Georgetown is to realize its postseason aspirations, a fast turnaround is needed. The Hoyas (11-5, 2-4 Big East) get a chance to begin tonight at Miami (13-7, 3-3).

“We have won two games on the road, but they haven’t been league games,” Esherick said. “We lost to Boston College at home and we lost three games on the road in the conference. So we need to win a couple road games to get on the plus side.”

Overall, the Hoyas are 2-3 on the road this season, with a last-second 79-78 win at Penn State and an 85-62 romp at The Citadel. But they lost at West Virginia (62-58), No.6 Connecticut (94-70) and No.23 Providence (65-50).

With seven of their final 11 games on the road, the Hoyas’ season will depend on whether the team can win away from MCI, where they’re 9-2.

“If we all come to play, [Miami] is definitely a game we can get on the road,” said senior guard Gerald Riley, who is Georgetown’s leading scorer (16.8).

The Hoyas also need to win at least some road games to prevent a repeat of last year, when they didn’t clinch a Big East tournament spot and an NIT berth until March3 in the next-to-last game of the regular season.

The Hoyas are currently 12th in the 14-team Big East. A win over Miami would thrust Georgetown back into the middle of the pack in the conference standings. The top 12 finishers qualify for the league tournament, something Georgetown has never failed to do in 25 seasons.

The Hoyas only need to hold off Virginia Tech to qualify for the Big East tournament because cellar-dwelling St. John’s is winless (0-7) in the conference and looks to be heading nowhere.

The Hokies are 1-5 in league play under first-year coach Seth Greenberg and play the Hoyas twice. If Georgetown continues to struggle on the road and loses one or both of these games, Hoyas fans can start to panic.

Georgetown’s remaining home schedule is no breeze, with all four teams sporting winning records and two ranked in the AP Top 25. The Hoyas play Villanova (11-7, 3-3), Miami, No.20 Syracuse (13-3, 3-2) and No.7 Pittsburgh (20-1, 6-1).

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