Georgetown sophomore point guard Kevin Braswell has been a significant contributor in many of his team's wins this season. Tonight against West Virginia, two late fouls by Braswell might have cost the Hoyas the game.
Braswell, the Hoyas' catalyst and last week's co-Big East player of the week, scored just three points and missed 7 of 8 shots in Georgetown's 69-64 loss.
Yet despite Braswell's shooting woes, it was his fouls that hurt Georgetown (10-8, 2-5 Big East). Braswell picked up his fourth foul on a technical with 3 minutes 58 seconds remaining. When he picked up his fifth with 2:42 left, Georgetown fell apart.
"I thought the play that really hurt us was when Kevin Braswell picked up that fourth foul on the technical," said Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick. "That enabled West Virginia to put a lot of pressure on defense, and it took us out of our flow on offense."
Junior center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje led Georgetown with 19 points, but he, too, was in foul trouble in the second half, finishing the game with four fouls.
Despite the pressure, West Virginia held only a slim 65-64 lead one minute remaining, and Georgetown had the ball. Freshman guard Demetrius Hunter missed a drive to the basket with 30 seconds to play, but junior guard Anthony Perry rebounded, and the Hoyas had a chance to play for the last shot.
Junior guard Nat Burton, who had five three-pointers earlier in the game to lead Georgetown's rally from an early 14-point deficit, missed a drive to the basket with 12.9 seconds to play, and Perry fouled West Virginia freshman point guard Tim Lyles on the rebound. Lyles made both free throws to give West Virginia a 67-64 lead, then 6-foot-9 senior forward Marcus Goree blocked Perry's three-point attempt that could have tied the game with 2.9 seconds to play. Lyles hit two more free throws to seal the win.
Braswell took responsibility for the technical foul called against him late in the game. West Virginia sophomore forward Chris Moss was called for traveling, and in frustration, held on to the basketball. Braswell tried to knock the ball from Moss's hands, and when he did, the two wound up squaring off and pushing one another.
"I made a stupid play. I admit it," Braswell said. "It was entirely my fault."
Braswell and Moss both received technical fouls. With Braswell in foul trouble, West Virginia (11-6, 3-3) went right after the Hoyas in the back court.
Braswell scored his only points a few seconds later on a three-pointer that gave Georgetown its biggest lead of the night, 61-53. But when the Mountaineers back court of Lyles and sophomore Lionel Armstead went after Braswell and Perry, the Mountaineers emerged victorious.
Lyles, the late-game hero for West Virginia, wasn't even in the arena when the game started. Like the Hoyas, who couldn't leave Washington until Wednesday morning because of a snowstorm, Lyles was stuck in his home town of Baltimore, where he was attending the funeral of a friend. The freshman point guard got to the arena with 11:41 to play, entered the game at 10:09 and finished the night with nine points.
"When I saw him come in," Armstead said, "I knew it was game time."