Men’s basketball edged by Pitt

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January 25, 2001

The men’s basketball team lost for the first time this season, falling this past Saturday against Pittsburgh, 70-66. The Hoyas are now 16-1 (4-1 in the Big East), but are more solidly in first place of their Big East division due to Syracuse’s two losses to both Seton Hall and Notre Dame this week. Georgetown meets Notre Dame this Saturday at the MCI Center.

After opening the contest by winning the opening tip, senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje turned the ball over on the Hoyas’ first possession and missed a short shot on the Hoyas second possession, an inauspicious start to what was supposed to be a relatively easy game for the Hoyas.

Despite the poor first possession, the Hoyas took care of business early in the game and jumped to a reasonable lead behind sophomore shooting guard Demetrius Hunter.

Hunter hit the Hoyas first field goal with a 21-foot three pointer from the left wing. He followed up a few minutes later with a five-foot baseline jumper that came as a result of an offensive rebound of his own missed three pointer.

Then, on the first play after the first official timeout, Hunter completed an alley-oop from junior point guard Kevin Braswell.

Hunter finished the first half with 11 points on five-of-eight shooting. He also contributed three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 17 minutes.

The momentum of the game quickly shifted, however, as a drained Hunter went to the bench along with the foul-troubled Braswell.

“He was tired,” Esherick said when asked about Hunter leaving the game despite his good play. “he plays extremely hard [on defense and] he asked to come out.”

By the time Hunter’s foul prompted the second official timeout with 10:32 left in the half, the Hoyas were behind, 15-13. When Braswell returned with 7:57 left in the contest, the Pirates were ahead 22-17, having outscored the Hoyas 16-6 with Braswell on the bench.

“[Kevin going to the bench] hurt us. I was concerned about [him picking up his third foul because] their point guard had the ball in his hand a lot,” Esherick said.

Braswell’s return to the game got the Hoyas back into the contest and a three by senior big man Lee Scruggs, off a pass from Hunter, (with Braswell back on the bench as a precaution) along with a tip in by Scruggs helped the Hoyas to a slim 35-33 half-time lead. Esherick said the Hoyas were “fortunate to be up at the half.”

Any thoughts of the Hoyas continuing their run early in the second half was immediately crushed when Donatas Zavackas opened the half with a three-pointer from the top of the key. The Pirates continued the run over the next five minutes, taking a six-point lead on a three-point shot by Julius Page.

“Page played great,” Esherick said. “We’d play great defense for 28 seconds and then they got good shots.”

From there, the Hoyas made several runs to get back in the game, even taking the lead on a few occasions, including the team’s final, one-point, 66-65 lead with 3:52 left in the contest. Sophomore forward Victor Samnick’s only basket on a nice baseline drive was Georgetown’s last score of the game.

“Zavackas hit big shots when we made a couple of runs,” Esherick said.

From there, the Hoyas committed three turnovers, missed four three pointers and had a major break down on defense in the final 30 seconds.

“A couple of times at the end of the game we could have [gotten] good looks; the ball just bounced the wrong way,” Esherick said. “Pittsburgh played extremely well.”

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