The men’s basketball team continued its undefeated streak to “open” the season with a convincing road win over No. 19 Seton Hall Monday night, 99-91.
Junior point guard Kevin Braswell led all scorers with 26 points, breaking out of a self-imposed, season-long scoring slump. Braswell’s ability to come up with a big scoring night exactly when the team needed it, indiactes the his decreased scoring this season is a matter of choice and not a result of a mediocre shoting percentage.
The key to Braswell’s high efficiency (only 15 shot attempts) was his ability to knock down three pointers and foul shots, reminding a national T.V. audience that, as head Coach Craig Esherick said after last season’s first-round win the Big East Tournament over West Virginia, “Kevin is our best shooter.”
Braswell also dished out five assists and kept the Hoyas moving at an up-tempo pace, taking advantage of the strong nights from the team’s more offense-orietned players such as senior guard Anthony Perry and senior big man Lee Scruggs.
The highlight of the game came from sophomore shooting guard Demetrius Hunter, whose first-half drive and dunk was replayed nearly continuously on ESPN the next day. On the play, Hunter started from the right side of the court, sliced into the pain and elevated in the lane. Seton Hall’s first-year forward Eddie Griffin was late with the help defense, leaving him with an up-close look at the serious jam. Hunter’s head was nearly rim high and he finished off the play by authoritatively throwing it down with his right hand.
Overshadowed by Braswell, Griffin and his own poor shooting to start the game, first-year power forward Mike Sweetney played like a dominant power forward and statistically held his own with Griffing, especially after senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje put the defensive clamps on Griffin in the second half. Sweetney went for 14 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Perry, Scruggs and Hunter joined Braswell and Sweetney in double figures with 13, 11 and 11, respectively.
Seton Hall opened the game with hot shooting, building an early lead. Boumtje-Boumtje’s foul trouble (two fouls in the first two minutes) clearly had a major impact on the Hoyas’ defense and several breakdowns gave Griffin some wide-open looks at long jumpers, including a couple of three pointers.
Besides Griffin, Seton Hall’s first-year point Andre Barrett gave the Hoyas lots of problems for the second consecutive time this season. After the Jan. 5 contest, Esherick indicated that Barrett was as much a problem for the Hoya defense as the more famous Griffin and sophomore shooting specialist Darius Lane.
For the contest, Barrett, in a very young-Braswell-style performance, finished with 19 points, seven assists and five steals against 12 missed shots and a pair of tunrovers.
Georgetown’s bench, led by Perry, Scruggs and inspired first-year center Wesley Wilson, turned the momentum of the game. A barrage of three pointers by Scruggs, Perry and Braswell, along with Wilson’s athleticism keyed a run that pushed the Hoyas to lead as large as 14 points.
Seton Hall got back in the game int he second half, closing to within one point at 75-74 near the 8:00 mark.
Braswell responded with a timely long-range bomb. The shot came immediately following a post out of an interior double team; however, Braswell paused a moment, freezing the defense, before bombing away from slightly behind the thre-point line on the left-center side of the court.
From there, the Hoyas put the game away as the Pirates faded.