The men’s basketball team finished its season with a 76-66 loss to Maryland in the West region semifinals, last Thursday night. The Hoyas controlled the first 15 minutes of the game but couldn’t survive a sensational performance by Maryland center Lonny Baxter.
The Hoyas led by as many as five late in the first half, when two Braswell free throws made the score 36-31 with just more than two minutes left in the half. The Terps then closed the half on a 7-0 run to give them a 38-36 lead. Maryland’s Byron Mouton hit a running jumper as time expired in the half. The Hoyas initially played good defense and forced a miss, but the Terps batted the ball outside before Mouton picked it up and went in for a score.
Baxter was the key factor of the game, especially since he helped hold Georgetown senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje scoreless. Despite solid performances from most of the Hoya front court, Baxter gave the Terps a major, and unexpected, advantage inside.
For the game, Baxter scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Both numbers were the highs for both teams. Baxter was 9 of 14 from the floor and went to the free-throw line 13 times as the Terps outscored the Hoyas by seven points at the charity stripe.
One result of the Terps aggressive inside play was that Georgetown needed all of its front court depth. Georgetown was called for 28 fouls, in comparison to only 15 for Maryland, and seven Hoyas had at least three fouls?including Boumtje-Boumtje (5), senior Lee Scruggs (3), first-year power forward Mike Sweetney (3) and sophomore center Wesley Wilson (4).
As a unit, the Hoya front court had decent numbers. The four big men combined for five blocks and four assists. Sweetney had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Scruggs joined him in double figures. Scruggs and Wilson each had six rebounds off the bench. The problem was that, in order to beat the Terps, the Hoyas needed Boumtje-Boumtje to lead the way up front.
Sweetney totally dominated Maryland’s Terrence Morris, who hit only 1 of 11 shots. Morris did have four blocks.
In the backcourt, junior point guard Kevin Braswell was the most dynamic player for either team, scoring 17 points, despite hitting only 3 of 12 field goal attempts. Braswell, however, did not have a game as floor leader, tunring the ball over six times and dishing out only two assists. On defense, he held Maryland’s Steve Blake to one point and grabbed three steals.
In the second half, Braswell kept the Hoyas in the game, but he couldn’t bring the Hoyas back to a leading margin.
His three pointer in the final five minutes made the score 63-59 Maryland, but the Hoyas couldn’t capitalize on the momentum of the shot. Baxter scored on the next possession for the Terps and a fast break layup by Maryland forward Danny Miller pushed the lead back to eight points, and the Hoyas never came within five the rest of the game.
Sophomore shooting guard Demetrius Hunter more than held his own against Juan Dixon, holding the the Terps’ star to 13 points and only eight field-goal attempts. Hunter scored 11 points but missed 8 of his 12 shot attempts and had no assists.
Senior reserve guard Anthony Perry had his only poor game of the post season, missing 5 of 6, including the Hoyas’ final shot of the season, also the final shot of his career.