Seton Hall 68,
-- Any good feeling Georgetown may have carried over from Sunday's overtime victory melted away midway through the first half tonight against Seton Hall. With the Hoyas failing to execute basic fundamentals, the Pirates capitalized -- and snapped a nine-game Big East losing streak with a 68-54 victory.
"I don't know what to say about that," Coach Craig Esherick said about the errors in fundamentals. "We didn't get a good start, dug ourselves a hole in the first half."
A big reason Georgetown was unable to mount a charge was the play of Seton Hall sophomore guard John Allen (27 points).
"It seemed like every time we had a chance to cut the lead to seven or to five, Allen would make a play," Esherick said. "He'd make a drive to the basket, draw a foul or get a big rebound."
When Georgetown (9-3, 1-1) pulled within eight with 2 minutes 38 seconds left, Allen made eight straight free throws.
The setback was more frustrating for the Hoyas, because they had played far better in more daunting conditions on the road against top-ranked Duke.
Power forward Mike Sweetney had 22 points for the Hoyas and passed out of double teams well enough. But outside threats were almost nonexistent. Tony Bethel missed his nine shots and Gerald Riley was 1 for 6 and in foul trouble most of the game. Backup guards Drew Hall and RaMell Ross were a combined 2 for 12.
"We didn't hit our shots," Sweetney said, "and made a lot of mistakes on defense. . . . They capitalized on our mistakes. Every night isn't going to be yours."
Esherick had ripped the officiating after Sunday's victory over West Virginia, insisting that opponents were fouling Sweetney far more than they were being called for while the Georgetown perimeter players were whistled too often for hand-checking. Seton Hall Coach Louis Orr also had criticized the officiating after a loss to Notre Dame Sunday, but not nearly as severely as Esherick.
In the first couple of minutes tonight, Esherick was given more material to rail about. There was contact on Sweetney but no foul called. Within seconds, Bethel was called for an off-the-ball foul. Esherick was the model citizen, staying seated on the bench with no obvious anger.
"I thought the officials were very good today," Esherick said. "Believe me, they did not cause us to shoot 2 for 20 from the three-point line, did not cause us to travel every other time down the floor in the first half, didn't cause Allen to get all those rebounds, didn't cause us not to play defense on Allen."
Orr also had no complaints about the officials.
"We told our players to make the officials have to make calls," he said.
Esherick was able to reserve his anger for his players after a first half in which the Hoyas had 12 turnovers and trailed 39-26 at intermission.
On several possessions, the Hoyas botched some of the simplest situations. Sweetney double-dribbled at the top of the key. Backup forward Courtland Freeman threw a weak entry pass toward Sweetney that was intercepted and turned into a dunk by Seton Hall's Kelly Whitney. Then Freeman was called for steps, and point guard Andre Barrett hit an open three, after an offensive rebound, at the other end.
After another Barrett three increased Seton Hall's lead to 30-21 with 5:39 left before halftime, Georgetown backup forward Victor Samnick was called for holding the ball too long.
With Sweetney hitting two baskets and Samnick a dunk off a Sweetney pass, the Hoyas narrowed the deficit to seven in the opening four-plus minutes of the second half. Then Riley picked up his third foul, and Esherick was forced to go deep into a bench missing Ashanti Cook and Darrel Owens with ankle injuries.
Seton Hall is 6-7, 1-3.