What Georgetown showed yesterday was rare, so quick and so thorough a domination that Coach Craig Esherick and the 6,039 at MCI Center could look at a significant part of the future: junior college transfer Lee Scruggs. And the early judgment, based on an 11-minute debut, was that he's about 25 pounds from being terrific.
"He needs to move his entire belongings into the weight room," Esherick said of the 6-foot-11 Scruggs after Georgetown's 85-57 rout of Coastal Carolina. "He did very well considering he only practiced four times [since transferring from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College]. He looked like he knew what he was doing, looked like he belonged out there. I'm very pleasantly surprised how quickly he's picked things up."
Even with Coastal Carolina guard Matt Gladieux putting on a shooting clinic (7 for 11 from three-point range and 29 points), the Hoyas (7-3) had the much smaller Chanticleers (2-8) under control by halftime. Georgetown clinched its fifth consecutive victory in a hurry, more than doubling a 10-point lead in the first eight minutes of the second half.
That happened with the Hoyas' usual strengths: steals and blocked shots. Center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (18 points, six rebounds) had five of Georgetown's 11 blocked shots and point guard Kevin Braswell (14 points) had six of the team's 11 steals. More encouraging to Esherick, the Hoyas had 20 assists and threw the ball away just three times in the second half. For much of the season, they have been close to a turnover machine.
"I hope that's because we're getting better," Esherick said.
Coastal Carolina Coach Pete Strickland was upset over how quickly his team fell so far behind. Its next game is Sunday against 14th-ranked Maryland at Cole Field House.
"We looked at the scoreboard and just got dejected," he said. "As a coach, this is something you can't abide by."
The 6-5 Gladieux is a 23-year-old senior from Ohio who has transferred twice, from Toledo after two seasons to Division II Bellarmine and then to Coastal Carolina. On one sequence, he backed away from Georgetown's Anthony Perry on the left wing, then backed away some more before swishing about a 24-footer.
"Once we figured out that Matt Gladieux was a good player," Esherick said in his only criticism of the players, "that changed the game completely."
Braswell continued to score well and also direct the team, making 6 of 9 shots and mustering eight assists while losing the ball just once.
As Esherick indicated, Scruggs clearly knows how to play. He scored seven points, two on a tough bank shot after a quick move along the the right baseline and two more on a six-foot turnaround. But he also committed three fouls and, at 215 pounds, seems unable to hold his position against a modest breeze let alone the sort of interior bulk most Big East Conference teams feature. Esherick has declared Scruggs off limits to reporters until February.
Another Georgetown newcomer, freshman Victor Samnick, had a game-high nine rebounds and two blocked shots in his second consecutive start at small forward. But junior Nat Burton, the player he replaced and a starter nearly all of last season, did not miss a shot while scoring 13 points in 19 minutes and playing Gladieux as well as anyone. Most of Burton's six field goals were fast-break layups, but he also hit his only three-point try.
"Victor is a better rebounder," Esherick said. "Nat is a better shooter. Both play great defense. We'll use them depending on the matchups."
At 6-8, Samnick is four inches taller than Burton -- and Esherick said: "Victor is a very, very good rebounder. I would hate to take him out of the lineup."
Burton, who says he still is not completely recovered from an ankle injury suffered more than a month ago, has reacted positively to coming off the bench.
"As long as we're winning, I'm fine," he said. "I take my hat off to Victor Samnick. He works hard, has been playing well."