Georgetown 85, VMI 48
When the Georgetown schedule was announced months ago, local fans circled yesterday's game against Virginia Military Institute as a chance to see former Montrose Christian standout Jason Conley, who last season became the first freshman to lead the nation in scoring.
But the 6-foot-5 Conley strained a tendon in his right foot Sunday and will miss about a week, and the Hoyas took advantage of that during an 85-48 victory before 6,631 at MCI Center.
"He's someone that could get our big guys in foul trouble," Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick said, "and be hard to guard for some of our wing people. It would have been a little different with him."
Conley averaged 29.3 points last season, and his 22.2 average this season was nearly a third of the VMI offense. He also leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 per game.
"It would have been nice to play, but the injury was just enough to keep me out," said Conley, who moved to the area from San Antonio in ninth grade. "But I'll be all right."
Georgetown's Drew Hall played with Conley for a year at Montrose Christian, and Tony Bethel arrived a year after he left.
"We used to go hard at each other in practice," Hall said. "It would have been fun."
The other connection was Georgetown's Mike Sweetney (23 points in 22 minutes) and VMI point guard Richard Little (11 points, 3 assists, 5 turnovers), who were teammates at Oxon Hill High.
Esherick was pleased with Georgetown (8-1) holding VMI to 24-percent shooting while making 28 of 34 free throws and gaining a 23-point advantage on turnovers. Also, freshman guard Ashanti Cook (15 points in 31 minutes) and some other reserves played extensively because Hall, Bethel and Gerald Riley were in foul trouble much of the first half.
The players had today off before beginning preparations for next Wednesday's road game against Duke.
"We've played some big-time teams that overpowered us before," VMI Coach Bart Bellairs said. "Those guys had a chance to taunt us but didn't. They were tough and mean, but very, very classy."
The Keydets (5-6) stayed with Georgetown longer than expected, mostly because they overcame a size disadvantage to gain an even split on points inside and second-chance points in the opening 16 minutes. They would have remained competitive longer but for some atrocious free throw shooting and trailed 41-23 at halftime.
A spin move inside and four foul shots by Sweetney gave the Hoyas a seven-point lead in the opening four minutes. But VMI kept within that margin, thanks to some disciplined offense. Radee Skipworth made a two-dribble move across the lane for a six-foot flip, and Tadas Mankeviius hit a layup after his teammates beat a trap.
After pulling within 28-20, however, the Keydets were outscored by 10 points over the last seven minutes before halftime, most of them coming on baskets by Cook and foul shots by senior center Wesley Wilson, who had 12 points and eight rebounds.
VMI missed nine free throws during that stretch, highlighted by Zach Batte's four-tries-to-make-one situation. He missed the first and second shots, but got a third when Brandon Bowman was called for a lane violation. He missed that, but swished the fourth after Wilson was caught in the lane too soon.