Charles Nailen/The Hoya Sophomore guard Tony Bethel soars to the rim in the Hoyas blowout victory over Latvia Select Friday night.

It was a basketball game for three minutes and 30 seconds. The Latvia Select team led the Hoyas 14-10 early in Friday night’s exhibition at McDonough Gymnasium. Then the Hoyas went to a full-court pressure defense and erased any doubt that the contest would be near close, demolishing Latvia Select 132-58.

The Hoyas, however, were not concerned with losing to the European squad. Georgetown instead used this first exhibition game as the first game-like opportunity to test the players’ skills.

“We were excited to play against someone else. I don’t know how well I can judge this team on how we did,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said.

The Hoyas came out with a pent-up energy that reflected the team’s lack of competitive situations since practice began. The jitters had to be calmed first however. The Hoyas played erratically and were briefly behind in the contest.

When Georgetown settled in and started to pressure the Latvia Select team the Hoyas pulled away rapidly. The first of two Hoya runs was a 17-0 scoring burst created by Latvian turnovers in the backcourt.

The Hoyas, specifically two of the new freshmen, capitalized on the Latvian miscues. Point guard Ashanti Cook and forward Brandon Bowman combined for 30 points and six steals in the first half. The Southern California tandem went to the California State Championship game as teammates at Westchester High in Los Angeles.

Another set of high school teammates anchor the Georgetown backcourt. Sophomore guards Drew Hall and Tony Bethel played their high school ball at Maryland’s Montrose Christian High. Hall missed the exhibition game with an ankle injury. But his former and current teammate Bethel made up for his absence during the second Hoya run of the period.

Georgetown went on a 21-1 tear that made the score 48-19 and put the game permanently out of reach for Latvia. This run featured athletic plays by Bethel, Bowman and Cook. These young players showed the quickness and dynamic offense playmaking ability that made them high school stars.

Comfortably ahead, the Hoyas closed out the rest of the half by outscoring Latvia 36-7 to lead 84-26.

A number of statistics stand out from the Hoyas’ first minutes of competitive basketball this year aside from the outrageous score. Georgetown outscored Latvia 48-8 in the paint and 38-2 off turnovers while shooting an incredible 66 percent from the field.

With little reason to concern themselves with the score, the Hoyas set out in the second half looking to fine tune some of their set offensive plays. As the Hoyas looked to test some of their reserve players and the Latvian team attempted to make the game respectable, the game got erratic.

For much of the second half no team seemed to posses the ball. Ten players scrambled around the court with little cohesion. Both teams were held without a field goal for three separate periods of 1:30 or more. The Hoyas only managed to score 48 points in the period compared to the remarkable 84 from the first half.

The team’s focus, however, was not on trying to score 200 points.

“The game got a little out of hand at the end. It was important to finish without another injury and we were successful at that,” Esherick said.

The final score was clearly a dominant win and an excellent opportunity for the new Georgetown freshmen to test their game legs. The team played effectively in its first attempt to try its offensive sets against another squad.

The miscues by the Latvian team, whether forced by the Hoya press or not, played a large role in the convincing win. The Latvian Select team shot 29.1 percent for the game and turned the ball over an incredible 41 times.

The freshman duo from California showed hints of their strengths and weaknesses in the contest.

“Ashanti and Brandon did OK. They did a good job in the full court with steals. They had to stay with their man more in the half court. They hustled, which is the most important thing,” Esherick said.

The class of the program performed as he was expected to and more. In only 17 minutes of play, junior forward Mike Sweetney went 8-12 for 22 points and added eight rebounds. Sweetney also showed more athleticism than Hoya fans are used to from the Big East standout.

“He made an athletic play on the sideline that he would not have made last year,” Esherick said.

The Hoyas next face Princeton on Nov. 10 in a closed scrimmage in Princeton, N.J.

“This next scrimmage will be more of an indicator of how this team will play this year,” Esherick said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.