Georgetown Basketball: March 2001 News Archive
Commandant of the Marine Corps and Georgetown basketball alumnus Gen. James Jones (SFS' 66) was featured in The HOYA at a Gaston Hall speech last week.
“It’s an amazing experience to see how a Georgetown graduate changed the world. It’s something to aspire to,” said sophomore Ethan Cross.
Here's a link to Ken Denlinger's review of the 2000-01 season in the Washington Post . With four returning starters and a solid recruiting class, expectations will be high for next year's Hoyas.
"The victory over Syracuse generated a rush onto the court by students that won't soon happen again," Denlinger writes. "Beating the No. 12 team no longer will be seen as special to a program that may well be ranked in the top 15 in preseason polls this fall."
The Washington Post reports that Georgetown officials have talked to organizers of the BB&T Classic which have expressed prior interest in Georgetown's participation in the local tournament."It's not something that right now is high on our radar screen, but we'll continue to talk", said Director of Athletics Joe Lang. For some history on Georgetown, the BB&T and its combative promoter, check this article from the Washington Times.
"When the final buzzer sounded at the end of Thursday night’s game in Anaheim there was no miraculous layup by Nathaniel Burton, there was no wild celebration. The Hoyas’ season had come to an end at the hands of local rival Maryland. But as Georgetown filed off of the court while the Terrapins celebrated, they did not hang their heads in shame. Nor should they have. This tournament was only the first glimpse of something truly spectacular on the horizon. This tournament was a sign. Let it be known: Georgetown is back. "--Mike Hume, The HOYA
All good things come to and end, including the 2000-01 season.
Georgetown could not match the intensity of Maryland down the stretch, falling to the Terrapins 76-66 Thursday night in the NCAA Western Regional semifinal.
The game saw lots of elements featuring the good and bad of the 2000-01 season. The Hoyas played well in the first half, opening five point leads on the terrapins and forcing nine Maryland turnovers. Of frustration to players and fans was that the Hoyas could only convert two points out of the nine first half turnovers. Facing a zone near the end of the first half, the Hoyas sagged, with two plays of frustration that lost the lead: an intentional foul on Mike Sweetney that allowed Maryland four points and a six point turnaround, and a missed dunk by Demetrius Hunter that popped in and out of the basket. Maryland began a pattern of picking up numerous offensive rebounds after missed shots, one of which allowed them to take the lead at 38-36 on a second shot at the buzzer.
Maryland quickly built the lead to nine in the second half, thanks to six early points by Lonnie Baxter (26 points, 14 rebounds). Much is made in the local press Friday about how Baxter was motivated by comments by Georgetown players that he was soft, but Baxter's performance was not that unexpected for a second team All-ACC center. What was unexpected was the inside game of Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, who appeared tentative inside and failed to adjust to Baxter's play. Boumtje-Boumtje fouled out with no points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
To their credit, the Hoyas never gave up. Kevin Braswell and Lee Scruggs continued to power the Hoyas back into the game, cutting the lead to 59-56 with under five minutes to play and 67-62 with 3:17 to play. Maryland pulled away with good free throw shooting down the stretch while the Hoyas were forced into three point shooting attempts with predictable results, missing 5 of 6 attempts from three in the last minute.
Amidst all the stories and all the stats, only one bears repeating: Maryland outrebounded the Hoyas 51-41, with 21 offensive rebounds.
""We have a good team, and Maryland has a good team," said Kevin Braswell in post game comments. "I think today Maryland showed they can rebound. They went to the offensive boards hard, We didn't stop them. With that in mind, it's going to be hard for a team to beat them. With the quickness that they have, they tried to get the ball out of the net as soon as we make a shot, and push it up the floor. It happened to us a couple of times, when they tried to fast-break, and I think they have good quickness on that team as well."
"Tomorrow I'll get my clubs and go play golf [but] in the next couple of days, once I can look at things more subjectively, I won't be sorry about the way our guys played, " said Coach Esherick. "All season our guys worked extremely hard."
"The hurt is real deep. There were a lot of tears," said Lee Scruggs, who finished his abbreviated Georgetown career with 10 points and 6 rebounds off the bench. "Still," he said, "it was a great season."
Some post-game links follow below:
Take an opportunity to relive the pre-game coverage with an archive of stories covering Thursday's Sweet 16 game.
Among the stories: a Los Angeles Times account about Georgetown alumnus (and Business School namesake) Bob McDonough looking to swap his sky box seats for two tickets in the Georgetown student section. "I want to be where the emotion is," McDonough said, "rather than be with stuffy people my age."
Washington Post: "Hoyas, Terps: Far Away, So Close" (March 22)
For the first time in five years, Georgetown University returns to the "Sweet 16" of college basketball following a 76-57 win over Hampton University in the NCAA western sub-regional in Boise, Idaho.
The Hoyas (25-7) faced a young Hampton team that was the talk of the nation, and the clear crowd favorite in faraway Boise.The Pirates (25-7) played the Hoyas close early, and when the Pirates tied the score at 16 with 10:47 to play, the Boise crowd roared for more. Georgetown needed to get the crowd out of the game, and did so with perhaps its best single run of the season, a 26-6 run over the rest of the first half that propelled the Hoyas to a 20 point halftime lead, 42-22.
In the second half, early foul trouble on Mike Sweetney allowed the Pirates to close the gap to 50-35 with 13:45 to play, and the crowd again rose to its feet for the underdog Pirates. In a crucial stretch, Hampton failed on two possessions and Georgetown countered with a dunk by Wesley Wilson to increase the lead. The Hoyas answered every Hampton charge, and the Pirates were not able to close within 15 the rest of the way.
Post-game links follow below:
"Eight seconds, Burton waits, Burton waits, Burton drives..
"It's Good! "It's Good! "It's Good! "It's Good! "It's Good! "It's Good! "It's Good!
"My God, It's Good! "My God, It's...So...Good!"
Mar. 15--Georgetown fans are no stranger to last moment NCAA heartbreak over the years, which makes a game like Thursday's 63-61 win over #7 Arkansas all the more amazing. The Hoyas overcame a seven point second half deficit with a buzzer-beater to defeat Arkansas 63-61, thanks to a defensive stand and a buzzer beater that required official review before the Hoyas headed to the locker room with their first NCAA win since March 21, 1996.
The game marked only the third time in 22 NCAA tournament appearances that a lower seeded Georgetown team defeated a higher seeded opponent since the introduction of tournament seeding in 1979. The other two were the #9 Hoyas defeating #8 Illinois in the first round of the 1994 tournament, and #3 Georgetown defeating #2 Maryland in the 1980 Eastern regional semifinal.
Thursday's game was billed as featuring Arkansas' vaunted press against Georgetown's height inside, but neither were the factor many had thought. The Hoyas performed well against the press, while the inside game stalled early with bad passing and shot selection. In fact, following a back and forth first half which saw the Razorbacks (20-11) lead 31-30, the trio of Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Mike Sweetney, and Wesley Wilson were a combined 0-4. Instead, guard play from Kevin Braswell and Anthony Perry helped keep the Hoyas astride with the Hogs in what announcers called "ugly" despite relatively good shooting on both sides.
A key moment of the game occurred near the end of halftime, where a malfunctioning buzzer delayed play for almost ten minutes. The problems forced Boise State and NCAA officials to dismantle the horn and the red light over the basket which signals the end of a half. Little did anyone know that these two factors would be so important just twenty minutes later.
In the second half, Georgetown's inside game reawakened while Arkansas began to drive inside as well. Arkansas took a 47-43 lead midway through the half and extended the lead to 52-45, which was closed to 57-all with just over five minutes to play. Arkansas held a narrowing until the final two minutes, where Kevin Braswell's coast to coast drive gave the Hoyas a 61-59 lead with 1:43 to play. Arkansas' Joe Johnson tied the score at 61 with 0:35.8 seconds remaining, and that .8 was the final act to an improbable finish.
After a timeout and a pass from Victor Samnick, Burton held the ball with the intent of finding Kevin Braswell for a last second shot, which is practically mandatory for any last second attempt this year. With Braswell contained, Burton opted to go himself, with the senior guard attempting a left handed drive down the stretch as the clock wound down. The shot rolled in at the buzzer...er, horn, and the Hoyas had won.
Or had they?
Arkansas officials protested that the shot clock had gone off before the ball left Burton's hand (remember, there were 35.8 seconds left). A two minute review by the officials confirmed that Burton's shot was indeed good.
"We looked to see if it was a shot clock violation [and] it was not," referee ted Hillary. "The ball was out of his hand [before the shot clock expired]. Time had expired before the ball went through the net."
The decision set off a second wild celebration by the team en route to the locker room, while the Razorbacks could only stand stunned, victims of an eighth loss this year after holding a second half lead.
"We were in position," said Arkansas Nolan Richardson, recalling the 52-45 lead that evaporated down the stretch. "I felt like if we could have made another play or two ... but we made some bad decisions. Basketball is game of decisions, and we made some real bad ones at the wrong time."
"We did everything we were supposed to do, except the kid made the right decision in taking the ball to the basket. The kid just made a very good play, and you've got to praise him for that."
Post-game links follow below:
Despite a first round clunker in the Big East tournament, Georgetown University joins four other Big East schools in the 2001 NCAA Tournament, Georgetown's 22nd NCAA bid for the men's tournament and its first since 1997.
The Hoyas were seeded 10th in the west regional, where they will face Arkansas (20-10) on Thursday in Boise, Idaho. The Boise sub-regional is unusual in that it features three D.C.-area teams in Georgetown, Maryland, and George Mason. The winner of the Georgetown-Arkansas game would likely meet #2-seeded Iowa State (25-5) on Saturday.
"Seeds are something I am not concerned with," Coach Esherick told the Washington Post. "We have no control over the seed. We just have to get ready for Arkansas."
Although the Big East tournament was an especially hard loss, the selection is a culmination of a lot of hard work by the team over the past year, from the early 16-0 start to battling through tough losses, to big wins over Syracuse and Notre Dame at season's end. And it's not only the first NCAA bid for the seniors, but for all the undergraduates--the last NCAA bid came when today's seniors were in high school.
Some links to the announcement:
Coach Esherick was not pleased with the #10 seed.
"Seventy voters from The Associated Press had us in the Top 20 most of the season," Esherick told the Associated Press. "And today we are ranked No. 20 in the coaches' poll. To drop almost to No. 40 doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I thought we were going to be judged on how we played during the course of the season. I certainly was surprised when we got a 10."
"There's a difference between giving [16-14] Georgia credit," Esherick told the Washington Post, "and penalizing Georgetown. No one told us we'd be penalized for the schedule we played ahead of time. No one said: 'Craig, don't play that schedule..."
"We played 30 Division I games," he said. "If the committee doesn't think some of those teams don't belong in Division I, they need to tell them that."
Okay, so why was a Top 20 team seeded tenth?
NCAA committee chairman and Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese did not mince words: "I can tell you Georgetown got seeded as low as they did because of their non-conference schedule. I think what got Georgetown over the hump was that they went to Notre Dame late in the year and won. I think they had to win that game, and, I think, they knew it," he said in this quote from the Associated Press.
While Georgetown's first round Big East loss could not have helped, but a careful analysis of the field indicates that the selection committee placed particular emphasis on strength of schedule over poll rankings. For example, Georgia, a 16-14 team, was selected over teams like Richmond (21-6), Villanova (18-12) and Alabama (21-10) because its schedule was ranked as the toughest in the country. (The NCAA committee did not give Georgia a pass, though, seeding them in an 8/9 game against Missouri with the winner to face top-seeded Duke.)
By contrast, Georgetown was only #42 in the RPI and its strength of schedule was #105. Only one of the 34 at-large selections (St. Joseph's) had a weaker strength of schedule, and they were 25-6. Courtesy of Collegerpi.com, an analysis of the Georgetown's strength of schedule shows that of its 13 non-conference opponents, ten were in the bottom half of the RPI, including Nicholls State (207), Houston (212), Maryland-Eastern Shore (247), Howard (274), Bethune-Cookman (281), Grambling State (284), Coastal Carolina (285) and Morgan State (307). None of the Hoyas' better non-conference opponents, such as Minnesota (73), UNLV (99), or Louisville (129), qualified for the NCAA's.
Despite the lower seed, Georgetown's RPI is practically identical with that of its first round opponent, Arkansas (#41), but the Hogs had a more competitive strength of schedule at 57.
Because of Big East weekend commitments, no game summary was posted on the site. Here is a link to the recap in The HOYA.
Six days and counting for the loneliest banner in McDonough Gym.
A copy of an NIT banner continues hangs perilously in the Georgetown locker room, due to be destroyed next Sunday to exorcise the demons of three straight NIT bids. Sunday's convincing victory over #13 Notre Dame serves notice to the conference that when Georgetown can combine its inside and outside games, well, to borrow a phrase from two decades ago, "this could be the most dangerous team in the tournament."
The stakes could not have been higher for the Hoyas entering the game. As Barker Davis of the Washington Times put it, "Beat West division champion Notre Dame (19-8, 11-5) in front of its sellout senior day crowd and earn a Big East bye and some serious respect from the NCAA tournament selection committee. Lose and face a first-round Big East game against NCAA-desperate Connecticut, drop out of the AP rankings and finish the regular season without a road victory over a team headed to the big bracket."
Georgetown started off slowly but did not wilt in the face of the traditionally tough ND crowd. Strong inside work by Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje and Mike Sweetney helped neutralize ND's strength inside, keeping all-American Troy Murphy contained after an early start. A pair of three pointers by Lee Scruggs reignited the Hoyas' outside game, and Georgetown's 37-34 halftime lead was both surprising as well as prescient--Notre Dame had not lost a game this season while leading at halftime, but was 5-7 when trailing at the break.
Georgetown opened the second half strong, increasing its lead to 56-40 early in the half. Notre Dame answered with a volley of three pointers through much of the half, knocking the lead to as little as six but no closer. Time and again, big plays came from everyone--defensive stops by Boumtje-Boumtje, back to back threes by Demetrius Hunter, strong inside play by Sweetney, or a key play by Kevin Braswell. Although a pair of Hoyas in Gerald Riley and Anthony Perry suffered from the field (combining for 0 for 12 shooting), it seemed everyone else was on top of their game. The Hoyas were also strong on the free throw line: 16 for 21 shooting, including 10 of its final 12 attempts.
Georgetown's defense kept the rallies at bay. The Hoyas outrebounded the Irish 53-36, held Ryan Humphrey to five points, and limited Murphy to 5 for 17 shooting after starting the game 3 for 4. Notre Dame was able to shoot 23-28 from the foul line to power past Georgetown on Jan. 27, but was only 7-12 from the line Sunday, thanks to fewer fouls and the Hoyas' efficient defense.
Still, the Irish peppered the basket with long range shooting to keep them close. Hunter's back to back three pointers extended a six point lead with 8:39 to play, and with less than two minutes to play the Hoyas led by as little as five at 66-61. Kevin Braswell's three pointer sealed the deal and brought Georgetown the coveted bye in the first round. And with all the teams fighting for at-large berths, a bye sends a strong message to the NCAA tournament committee that this team belongs in the field of 65.
For senior Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, the regular season finale marked a huge turnaround from Jan. 27. Here's his box score in the first ND game and the second:
MIN FG FT REB A PF PTS January 27 14 0-3 0-0 1 0 3 0 March 4 31 6-10 4-5 9 2 2 16"Our focus was on getting the bye," Sweetney said to the Times. "And this was really important because we accomplished that and we ended the season by beating two ranked teams. Notre Dame and Syracuse are both very good, and I think beating those teams gives us a good name going into the post season."
Three weeks ago Georgetown was reeling after a 24 point loss at Providence and a crushing loss at home to Villanova. The Hoyas have now won four of five, and have earned a day off on Wednesday. Well done!
Post-game links follow below.
The One-Stop Web Site For Hoya Basketball