Georgetown 91, Howard 66
Georgetown has been in exams for more than a week -- and the one the basketball team had last night against Howard at MCI Center earned a B-plus from Coach Craig Esherick.
"I think that's the best game we've played so far," Esherick said as the Hoyas remained unbeaten after seven games with a 91-66 victory before a crowd of 7,102 that included Secretary of State Colin Powell, a member of the Howard board of trustees.
"But we flunked the [rebounding] boards. That's my biggest concern . . . the whole seven games, something we've got to work on."
Howard made a brief run at Georgetown late in the first half behind senior guard Ron Williamson, whose 25 points overall put him comfortably over 1,000 for his career. But the taller Hoyas soon pulled away by holding the Bison (1-6) to eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second half while guard Tony Bethel and front-court standouts Mike Sweetney and Wesley Wilson each was in double figures by that time.
With eight minutes remaining, 6-foot-8 power forward Sweetney had his 27th career double-double in points and rebounds. In addition to his 23 points and 15 rebounds, he had three assists and four blocked shots. Kyle Williams, a 6-6 forward, had 12 rebounds for Howard, but shot just 4 for 20.
The 6-11 Wilson had 13 points on just seven shots and was a rebound shy of a double-double. He also had three blocked shots in what Esherick said was "his best game of the season."
Esherick was pleased the Hoyas had assists on 27 of their 33 baskets, were 7 for 16 on three-point shots and made nearly 80 percent of their 23 free throws. But Howard had just three fewer total rebounds and 19 on the offensive end.
"That's something we'll definitely fix," swingman Gerald Riley said. "And once we get that in place, we'll be ready to go."
The Hoyas will return to campus Christmas night to begin preparation for a game at Virginia on Dec. 28. All the players were joyous about the break and the end of tests.
"It's been a long week," Riley said. "We finally got over the hump."
Wilson's early surge, which included a dunk and a 10-foot baseline turnaround, was mainly why the Hoyas had a 10-point lead after the first seven minutes and a 16-point advantage after the first 15.
From that 35-19 Georgetown lead, Williamson started to ignite the Bison and caused Esherick to recall the 41 points he had in the game between the teams two years ago. On back-to-back possessions, he hit three-pointers. Soon, he ran his consecutive free throw streak to 15 with three after being fouled by Riley outside the three-point arc.
After some tradeoff baskets by each team, including a pull-up by Williamson and a dunk by Mario Grove, Howard had cut the Georgetown lead to 44-37 at halftime. But Williams and Bison freshman guard Louis Ford each had three fouls by intermission.
Howard got within five but Riley helped spark a five-minute run that lifted Georgetown to a 61-45 lead with 13:27 left.
* OHIO 54, NAVY 52: In Athens, Ohio, Brandon Hunter had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks and the Bobcats survived a missed shot at the buzzer by David Hooper to snap a three-game losing streak.
Ohio (2-4) appeared to have the victory sealed when Navy guard Jason Jeanpierre lost the ball out of bounds with 3.1 seconds left.
But Ohio's Steve Esterkamp committed his fifth foul on the inbounds play to set up Hooper's shot, which hit off the backboard for the Midshipmen (3-6).
* COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 68, AMERICAN 65: Steven Miles had 19 points and 15 rebounds in an overtime loss in Charleston, S.C. Glenn Stokes had 15 points for the Eagles (3-4). Charleston is 8-1.
* MARY WASHINGTON 60, VMI 56: In Lexington, Va., Cris Hairston scored six of his 12 points during a crucial 10-2 run as the Division III Eagles beat the Keydets for their ninth consecutive victory and first ever over a Division I team. VMI (4-4) had not lost to a Division III team since losing to Roanoke College, 51-50, on Dec. 9, 1987.