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

Hoyas Can’t Hang On

PISCATAWAY, N.J., Jan. 5 – Bad became worse for the Georgetown men’s basketball team Saturday night, as it suffered a loss at the hands of perennial Big East cellar-dweller Rutgers after squandering three different leads, extending its losing streak to four. The Scarlet Knights (10-5, 1-2 Big East) outlasted the Hoyas (9-5, 0-2 Big East) 89-87 in overtime despite having fallen behind by 18 with four minutes to go in the first half, trailing 39-21.

Junior forward Victor Samnick missed a five-foot jumper in the final seconds of overtime that would have given the Hoyas the lead. After the miss, Rutgers sophomore forward Herve Lamizana made the front end of a one-and-one but inexplicably shot an airball on the second shot, allowing Georgetown one last chance to salvage a win. But Lamizana deflected freshman guard Drew Hall’s baseball pass, and time expired.

After Rutgers tied the game at 50 shortly into the second half, Georgetown regained the lead, extending it to 10 after a Gerald Riley lay-up with less than eight minutes to go in the second half. The Hoyas would not make another field goal in regulation, as the Knights closed the game with an 18-8 run.

Georgetown opened the extra session with five straight points, all scored by sophomore forward Mike Sweetney, who had 26 on the night, but Rutgers answered with an 8-2 run to seal the victory.

“This is a loss that’s going to stick with me a long time,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said after game.

Rutgers’ full-court press was the key to the game’s turnaround. After the Hoyas attained their 18-point lead, the Knights effectively and consistently pressed for the balance of the game, forcing a slew of Hoya turnovers. Rutgers scored 33 points off of 25 Georgetown turnovers.

“We got sloppy with the ball,” Esherick said.

The high-intensity press also prevented the Hoyas from establishing any consistent offense in the second half, allowing the undersized Knights to beat them in points in the paint, 32-28.

Overtime would likely have been unnecessary had Rutgers not shot just 57 percent from the free throw line in regulation. The Hoyas were solid from the line, shooting 77 percent overall and 84 percent in the second half.

In addition to leading all scorers, Sweetney also had a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior point guard Kevin Braswell added 20 points, and sophomore swingman Gerald Riley scored 13, including several clutch jumpers to stop Rutgers’ runs.

Lamizana led a balanced Rutgers attack with 19 points as well as seven blocks. Forward Ricky Shields added 16 points, and Mike Sherrod and Rashod Kent each contributed 14.

The loss dropped the then-No. 23 Hoyas out of the national rankings. They also lost to Miami Jan. 2, 79-71.

Esherick said that the Hoyas can still rebound from this string of losses: “I told the guys, `It’s Jan. 5 – We’ve got a lot basketball to play . and we’ve got to recover.”

Georgetown will next see action tomorrow against No. 16 Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Ma.

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