EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 15 – With seconds remaining in Georgetown’s 99-91 victory over Seton Hall Monday night, junior point guard Kevin Braswell had a chance for an uncontested drive to the hoop for a layup that would have broken the 100-point barrier for the Hoyas. Instead, Braswell held onto the ball, a choice emblematic of the poise and maturity that has helped propel Georgetown to an undefeated record and top 10 national ranking.

For the second time in 10 days, No. 9 Georgetown defeated No. 18 Seton Hall in convincing fashion, this time taking down the Pirates in their own house on national television. Braswell led the Hoyas with 26 points and five assists, while freshman power forward Mike Sweetney recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Seton Hall (11-5, 2-3 Big East) jumped out to an early lead in the contest and widened the margin to eight points by 11:36 in the first half. The Pirates rode freshman phenom Eddie Griffin in the early going, with Griffin pouring in nine early points. Georgetown responded at the offensive end, and a three-pointer from the top of the key by Braswell gave the Hoyas their first lead since the opening minute, 31-30.

After trading baskets, another three from Braswell triggered a 16-0 Georgetown run that silenced the sometimes-boisterous Continental Airlines Arena crowd of 11,878. The Hoyas (16-0, 4-0 Big East) used the run to take a 53-47 lead into the half.

“Defensively, in the first half, we weren’t playing particularly well,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said. “However, when they made a run, we regrouped.”

Much like in the first Seton Hall game, Georgetown pulled away early in the second half and widened the lead back to double digits, but unlike the previous game, Seton Hall clawed their way back. A long three from senior forward Lee Scruggs gave the Hoyas a 69-58 lead with 14 minutes left in the game, but the Pirates slowly chipped away at it.

With 9:16 remaining, Seton Hall guard Darius Lane hit a baseline jumper to narrow the Georgetown lead to one and send the crowd into a frenzy, but the momentum was short-lived. On the following play, Georgetown calmly worked the ball around, and Braswell nailed a three-pointer from the top of the arc.

“We had the crowd going. The bench was going. Everyone was going,” Griffin said. “As soon as he hit that three we died, man. We had worked so hard to come back to within one and he hit that three and it took the life out of us.”

Braswell’s three sparked a second run by Georgetown, capped off by a vicious Sweetney dunk with three minutes left that put the Hoyas up 92-80 and started the exodus of Pirate fans from the arena. Seton Hall finished the game with a pair of unanswered buckets, but it was too little, too late, and Georgetown won its first road game over a ranked opponent since Allen Iverson’s freshman season.

Georgetown punished Seton Hall at the offensive end all night with a balanced attack, and five Hoyas finished in double-digits, led by Braswell’s 26 points. Scruggs and rejuvenated senior guard Anthony Perry provided a lift off the bench for the Hoyas, contributing 13 and 11 points, respectively. Georgetown’s bench outscored Seton Hall’s 37-13.

Perry has stepped up his game in recent weeks, seeing significant time and strengthening the already-deep Georgetown bench. After a prolonged slump last season and some early-season struggles, Perry is averaging 13 points in Big East play while shooting 47 percent from downtown.

“Georgetown has a lot of weapons,” Seton Hall Coach Tommy Amaker said. “They wore us down. They’re certainly deserving of all the things that are being said about them.”

The Hoyas’ defense was especially successful in wearing down Griffin in the second half. The freshman struggled from the field in the second period after scoring 16 before the half. A rough fall to the floor in the first half bruised his hip, and Sweetney’s constant pounding inside wore Griffin down further, resulting in Sweetney outscoring his fellow freshman 12-3 after halftime.

Sweetney also helped Georgetown to a rebounding advantage of 56-47 over Seton Hall despite Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje’s foul trouble, with the senior center fouling out in just 17 minutes on the court. Sophomore Wesley Wilson filled in admirably in the middle, scoring eight and grabbing seven rebounds, while Scruggs contributed eight boards and three blocks.

Esherick was extremely pleased with his team’s performance on the road. “They’ve done an excellent job on the road . [and] that’s attributable to Kevin Braswell,” he said. “The upperclassmen have done a great job in terms of leadership.”

“It’s the team doing it together,” Braswell said, emphasizing the intangibles that have been the backbone of Georgetown’s strong start. “We keep everything together as a team.”

“We’re ranked high right now, but we are the hungriest team,” Perry added. “We’ve had a lot of teams do a lot of things to us. They’ve killed us throughout the years I’ve been here. We’re hungry right now. We keep that in mind, and it makes us work harder.”

Georgetown looks to remain undefeated when it continues its Big East schedule tomorrow night against Pittsburgh (10-6, 2-3 Big East). The Panthers travel to D.C. to take on the Hoyas at MCI Center at 7 p.m.

Related Links

 Men’s Basketball Page

 Men’s Basketball Schedule

 Men’s Basketball Roster

 Box Score vs. Seton Hall (1/15/01)

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