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

Sweetney Stands Out Against Coastal

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Junior Mike Sweetney led Georgetown against Coastal Carolina at MCI Center Monday.

On Tuesday night, the Georgetown men’s basketball team finished its series of season-opening tune-up contests with a romp of Coastal Carolina. The 87-60 was the expected outcome for the No. 40 Hoyas against the No. 279 Chanticleers. The Hoyas, however, were concerned with more than just the win.

Georgetown has a number of difficulties to resolve before the team’s first real tests begin. One of these problems is establishing an effective starting lineup to give the Hoyas the advantage in the early minutes of games. Play this season has indicated that two of these starting positions likely belong to junior forward Mike Sweetney and senior center Wesley Wilson, however the remaining three are not as solidified.

The two guard positions have the most variation. Georgetown junior guard Gerald Riley, who currently leads the team in scoring, along with Sweetney, is the only upperclassman to start at a guard position this year. Riley showed his scoring ability in the Hoyas’ last game against the Towson Tigers by scoring 22 points in as many minutes.

The junior did not produce the same results on Tuesday. Riley and sophomore Tony Bethel started at the guard positions and neither was able to establish much perimeter offense early. The duo collectively missed their first four shots and was only 2-of-9 with a little under six minutes left in the half.

The Hoyas got most of their scoring, and the early lead, from the familiar person of Sweetney. The junior and likely all-American was the only Hoya on the floor with any points eight minutes into the half. Sweetney out-muscled and out-finessed a smaller Coastal Carolina team with a variety of excellent post moves. The third-year standout also fought through double- and triple-teams to keep Georgetown comfortably ahead.

There were few flaws in Sweetney’s game in the first twenty minutes. The power forward passed out of double-teams, blocked shots, earned steals and even ran the floor like a guard. any of Sweetney’s post moves earned him points on trips to the line where he was excellent, making 12-of-15.

Sweetney, unlike Georgetown’s guards, is not a cause for concern for Coach Esherick this season.

“I am trying to develop a bench,” Esherick said. “I also have to see who will run this team.”

The Chanticleer’s floor leader, junior guard Alvin Green, kept his team together early in the game. The Chanticleers lasted an impressive 12:30 before surrendering a double-digit lead that never dipped below 10 again.

Coastal Carolina’s play in the early going was certainly aggressive. The Chanticleers fought hard, but committed the six fouls required to put the Hoyas in the 1-and-1 at the foul line in only four minutes. Georgetown took full advantage of Coastal Carolina’s aggressive style and made 24-of-31 foul shots to the Chanticleer’s small but accurate 6-for-6 showing.

Coastal Carolina also compounded its troubles down the stretch by turning the ball over 30 times. Most of these were due to the Hoyas excellent perimeter defense. The Hoya guards combined for 11 of the team’s 20 steals. Riley paced the Hoyas with five takeaways.

Down the stretch the Chanticleer’s succumbed to the Hoyas’ defensive pressure and failed to keep the game close. A 20-4 Georgetown run closed out the half with Georgetown ahead 45-25.

The second half was more of the same. Mike Sweetney dominated again before he sat down for the final time midway through the second half. The junior finished with 26 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Perhaps more impressive for the big man – who is by no means known for his quick hands – were his four steals.

Although Sweetney refused to be denied on offense, in many ways Coastal Carolina allowed Georgetown to beat them. The Chanticleers committed a staggering 26 fouls in the contest. The Hoyas gained 38 points on the Chanticleers from Coastal Carolina’s miscues.

Georgetown got a big win, but the Hoyas did so largely by depending on Sweetney, a player whose ability was never in question. The Hoyas will have to find the answers to the frequently asked point guard questions in future games.

The Hoyas must also find offensive production from other players aside from the likely future All-American. South Carolina is an undefeated, competitive team that will give the Hoyas’ younger players their first real challenge. Esherick has watched several aspects of the young players’ play during the season’s first four games in order to plan for future contests.

“Shot selection and rebounding will be important,” Esherick said. “The freshman are picking things up, but they have to learn quickly.”

The learning curve will have to be steep for this year’s underclassmen. Big East play begins in less than a month and tougher teams and larger challenges await the Hoyas.

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