Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Finally Wins a Close One

ATHLETIC SUPPORTER GU Finally Wins a Close One I had pretty much given up. Connecticut had broken my spirit, broken Georgetown’s NCAA hopes and almost broken my wall where I punched it right after the loss.

This left me in a position to sit down and enjoy the Syracuse game on Sunday afternoon – the first game on the newly dedicated Jim Boeheim Court – without having to worry about the ramifications of a win or loss, because it pretty much seemed that a Big East Tournament victory would be needed to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth.

What a difference a day makes.

National television. A decibel-meter destroying 29,215 Syracuse fans on hand in the dome, far and away the largest college basketball crowd of the season. A newly dedicated court after the loyal coach that has spent his life as an Orangeman (player, assistant, head coach . sound familiar?). An opportunity for the first season sweep of Syracuse since 1988. A chance for redemption, no matter how small or large it might be.

And Georgetown took the bait. The Hoyas started strong, finished strong and held it together in the middle for a 75-69 victory that gave Georgetown win No. 16 (or 15 if you want to be that guy who doesn’t count Marymount – leave that to the computers). In addition, it opened the door to the what-ifs, something that happens when a team has conference losses of one point (Pittsburgh, Connecticut), in overtime (Villanova, Rutgers) and in four miserable, nerve-wracking overtimes (Notre Dame).

What if Victor Samnick hit that jumper against Rutgers? What if Villanova’s Brooks Sales doesn’t hit his first three pointer of the year in the final minute against Georgetown? What if Drew Hall’s three against Pittsburgh didn’t rim out? What if we hit the shot at the end of regulation against Notre Dame? Or the end of overtime? Or double overtime . you get the point.

And the most frustrating of them all, what if we foul against poor free-throw shooting Connecticut with 30 seconds (or 20 or 10) left in the game? Who knows, but I do know that Georgetown would probably have had a better chance to win the game.

Craig Esherick should have told his players to foul, and then Georgetown would have had time to get of a legitimate shot for a win or tie. Do I think Coach Esherick was wrong? Yes. Am I a basketball genius? No. Do coaches make mistakes under pressure? Hell yes. If Braswell pulls up and hits a long three are we having this one-sided conversation? Hell no.

One decision does not a bad coach make, and as much as I wanted to strangle Esherick after the Connecticut game, I am glad the team is in his hands. He can obviously motivate, although I often wonder what is going on at the offensive end of the court – why can’t we run a motion offense similar to a team like Georgia, a team with far less talent than Georgetown that ran circles around the Hoyas earlier in the year?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for Bulldogs coach Jim Harrick to make an appearances on the Hilltop anytime soon, as I respect and appreciate the fact that Georgetown runs a class program. (Harrick left UCLA and Rhode Island under shady circumstances, then tried to get former Hoya Kenny Brunner into Georgia, the same Kenny Brunner that assaulted a fellow Fresno State student with a samurai sword in the second stop of his nomadic basketball career.)

No, all I want is an offense (which has improved vastly over the course of my four years on the Hilltop) and an end of game play that does not involve Braswell waiting at the midcourt circle until there are a few seconds left on the court, then being left to create his own shot and jack up a long three pointer. Maybe fewer turnovers, too.

This being said, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the rest of the season – wins, losses and objects hurled at televisions. The way I see it, Georgetown will have to be lucky to get into the NCAA Tournament without winning the Big East Tourney. That being said, the only thing standing between the Hoyas and the Big East Championship Trophy are a bunch of teams Georgetown can beat.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. The Big East is waiting, eight days away. Madison Square Garden. Four games, four days, four wins.

As the Indians’ manager in Major League so wisely put it, “Might as well win the whole damn thing.”

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