Georgetown KO's Hampton, will duke it out with UM next

Hoyas oust Pirates with 76-57 victory

March 18, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

BOISE, Idaho - Georgetown coach Craig Esherick estimates waking up four times the night before his Hoyas defeated Hampton, 76-57, in a second-round NCAA tournament game.

It wasn't Hampton center Tarvis Williams and his 40-inch vertical leap that was the source of Esherick's discomfort. Nor was it the Pirates' overall team. What bothered Esherick was that he knew the BSU Pavilion would be filled with an overwhelmingly pro-Hampton crowd.

"I was scared to death," Esherick said.

And for the first 11 minutes of the opening half, his fears were becoming reality. The crowd was rocking, the score was tied, and the Pirates looked hungry for another upset.

But then the Hoyas went on a 24-4 run over the last nine minutes of the first half that essentially eliminated the Pirates and propelled Georgetown into the Sweet 16.

The Hoyas will face Maryland on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

"We knew coming into the game the crowd was going to root for Hampton," Hoyas center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje said. "We said if we can make a run at them, the crowd would calm down. Usually, I think we have our best game when we have the crowd root against us. It gets us to play harder."

Hampton, who became the unofficial home team during its stunning win over second-seeded Iowa State on Thursday night, used every bit of emotion generated by the crowd to stay close with Georgetown at the beginning of the game.

The woefully undersized Pirates relied on quickness and hustle as well as some blocked shots by Williams to tie the game at 16 with 10:52 left after trailing early by six. The game-tying points came courtesy of a Cleveland Davis dunk on an alley-oop pass by guard Marseilles Brown that drew the loudest ovation of the day.

That, though, was the last time the pro-Hampton crowd had anything substantial to cheer about.

Georgetown's defense forced three turnovers and limited the Pirates to some poor outside shots for the rest of the half. Offensively, the Hoyas got hot from the outside, as guards Lee Scruggs and Baltimore native Kevin Braswell nailed three-pointers.

The latter one by Scruggs put the Hoyas up 38-20 with 1:48 left in the half. Georgetown took a 42-22 lead into halftime.

"We were getting yelled at because we weren't getting the ball inside enough," said Braswell, who led the Hoyas with 15 points. "Once we spread the floor and things started opening, we started making some shots. We turned the defense up and started pressing and getting some turnovers and getting baskets off the turnovers."

Hampton was able to put together a series of mini-rallies in the second half, but it never got the Hoyas' lead under 15 points.

One such run came when Hoyas forward Mike Sweetney fouled out with 16:44 left after fouling Hampton forward Isaac Jefferson on an attempted layup.

That was only Sweetney's fourth foul, but he drew a technical foul for protesting the call, which eliminated him from the game.

The Pirates converted just two of the four free throws to cut the lead to 46-31. The Hoyas used another Scruggs jumper to get the lead back to 17 on the next possession.

Even without Sweetney, one of the Hoyas' best rebounders, Georgetown still dominated the boards. The Hoyas out-rebounded Hampton, 51-27, for the game.

Williams, who, after such a strong defensive NCAA tournament, undoubtedly improved his stock for the upcoming NBA draft while helping his school gain national attention.

"I was rooting for Hampton when they played Iowa State," Esherick said. "I thought the band was great. I thought the cheerleaders were great. The crowd was into the game. Now I didn't want to play them. But I was excited watching that game and excited for Hampton. For them to be able to play the way they played in this tournament was amazing."

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