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 Cruise Past Kiwis

MEN’S BASKETBALL Hoyas Cruise Past Kiwis Strong Defense Marks GU Victory By Mike Hume Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Junior forward Courtland Freeman had seven rebounds.

Georgetown tore into the New Zealand Select Team with an explosive first half and breezed to an 87-53 victory in its final exhibition game before its season opener Friday, Nov. 16, against arymount.

Prior to the game, the New Zealand team performed the country’s ritual Haka dance of challenge, but it was the Hoyas who were dancing early, all over the New Zealanders. Georgetown sprinted out to a 33-0 lead before New Zealand scored its first basket with 8:31 remaining in the first half.

“We totally took them out of their rhythm with our defense,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said. “We did a really good job.”

Precise shooting, smothering defense, thundering blocks and dominating rebounding on the defensive end led to the early game romp and allowed the Hoyas to post a 50-14 lead at half time. Georgetown shot 18-36 from the floor in the first half and 16-30 in the second half to finish the game with a shooting percentage of 51.5. Conversely, Georgetown held New Zealand to an abysmal 12.1 first half shooting percentage with the Select Team converting only four field goals.

“I hope we keep shooting as well as we have been,” Esherick said. “We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket.”

Junior center Wesley Wilson led the defensive effort with five first-half blocks. Junior forward Victor Samnick pulled down eight first-half rebounds to help the Hoyas vault out to the insurmountable early lead.

Senior guard Kevin Braswell posted a game-high eight assists and scored 11 points, including two three-pointers, while sophomore ike Sweetney added 10 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

Samnick ended the game with game highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds in what was an impressive individual effort. He also added three blocked shots.

“Victor has gradually moved his game to the point where he can play on the perimeter and still rebound,” Esherick said. “His freshman year, he was uncomfortable at small forward and I was afraid that he would turn the ball over.”

Offensively, Samnick shot 7-13 from the floor and was 1-1 in three point attempts.

“When he hits that [outside] shot it really opens things up for Mike and Wes,” Esherick said.

Samnick’s play is particularly reassuring as freshman Harvey Thomas did not dress for the second game and still has not been declared eligible by the NCAA.

Esherick has not given any indication of when that decision could come.

The final 34-point margin of victory was even deceiving as Georgetown played a much slower second half in the wake of their early-game breakout. In fact, New Zealand outscored the Hoyas 39-37 in the second half, though the Hoyas pulled their starters for the game roughly six minutes into the final frame. Georgetown also experienced a six and a half minute offensive cold streak that saw the Hoyas score only one basket, a layup by freshman guard Tony Bethel. Sophomore forward Omari Faulkner ended the spell with just over one minute left in the game.

Bethel and fellow freshman guard Drew Hall saw a significant amount of playing time with Bethel posting 27 minutes on the court, while Hall logged 23. The pair also saw time playing alongside each other in the backcourt. Esherick said that he is “very comfortable” with an all-freshman backcourt.

“Tony and Drew have impressed me with their practice habits,” Esherick said. “Drew doesn’t know what college basketball is about, but he does know what the point guard position is about.”

Hall had three assists and 10 points on the day, while Bethel added eight points and three assists of his own.

On the whole the Hoyas looked strong. Georgetown seemed very comfortable on offense, moving well without the ball and finding the open man. They passed the ball well and posted a team total of 22 assists on 34 field goals. Esherick said that this is the result of the team’s improved ball handling.

“Tony and Drew can really handle the ball and Gerald’s ball handling has improved,” Esherick said. “We don’t have as much emphasis on getting the ball inside this year.”

“At the beginning of the year, I made the conscious decision that we had the mobility on offense and defense to look to shoot quicker and push the ball up court.”

Esherick said that while they will still work the ball inside to Wilson and Sweetney, they will shoot more from the perimeter and went on to say that he felt that Bethel did not shoot the ball enough.

Although Esherick was largely pleased with the team’s effort, he did say that he thinks there is “a lot of stuff we still need to work on.” Specifically, Esherick mentioned that he had not yet installed some plays into the Hoyas’ game plan, but that he would do so before next Friday’s season opener against Marymount.

Tip-off against the Saints will be Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in cDonough.

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