Punchless Hoyas Fall to Seton Hall

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Byline: Ken Wright, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Georgetown's Mike Sweetney has no help. If somebody doesn't step up soon, Sweetney might as well declare himself eligible for June's NBA Draft when this season ends.

Georgetown coach Craig Esherick's much-publicized public plea for Sweetney to get some respect from the officials fell upon deaf ears, because Sweetney made only nine trips to the foul line last night.

But Esherick has much bigger things to worry about than the referees' indifference toward his junior power forward. Esherick needs to find some scorers to complement Sweetney before this season gets away from the Hoyas.

Georgetown shot a season-low 32.2 percent and scored a season-low 54 points, as Seton Hall stunned the Hoyas 68-54 last night before 7,114 at Continental Airlines Arena.

With the loss, the Hoyas (9-3, 1-1 Big East) remain winless on the road. Georgetown came into the game averaging 83.5 points and struggled to score 54. The Hoyas made 19 of 59 shots and were two of 20 from behind the 3-point arc.

The smaller Pirates (6-7, 1-3) outrebounded the Hoyas 38-37. Sweetney led Georgetown with 22 points. Reserve forward Victor Samnick was Georgetown's only other double-figure scorer with 11 points off the bench.

The Hoyas got slapped around by a bad team. To add insult to injury, the Hoyas turned the ball over 19 times. They couldn't shoot or pass.

For the Pirates, guard John Allen scored a season-high 27 points and went 10-for-10 from the foul line, including eight of eight in the second half, when the Hoyas were intentionally fouling in a futile attempt to remain within striking distance.

Allen and point guard Andre Barrett, the Pirates' starting backcourt, combined to outscore Georgetown's backcourt duo of Tony Bethel and Gerald Riley 43-5. Bethel and Riley went one for 15. Toss Drew Hall (one of seven) into the mix and Georgetown's three-guard rotation went 2-for-22 from the floor. Meanwhile, Allen, a 6-5 sophomore out of Coatesville, Pa., scored 13 of the Pirates' last 18 points.

"We played like men tonight," said Seton Hall's beleagured coach Louis Orr, who snapped a nine-game Big East losing streak dating to Feb. 9. "[Sweetney] got 22, but we did a good job on the perimeter - they were 2-for-20 from three and no one else really had a huge game for them."

Immediately following the win, the Seton Hall faithful were calling it a "huge upset" and the biggest win of Orr's tumultuous two-year reign.

Georgetown appeared to play down to its competition in the first half. The Hoyas' inability to properly run its offense created numerous scoring opportunities for the Pirates.

Inexplicable Georgetown turnovers at the top of the key had Seton Hall off and running the other way. Georgetown's first half (26 points) was the Hoyas worst offensive showing of the season. Georgetown's previous low was 30 against Virginia on Dec. 28.

"We didn't hit our shots and could never develop a rhythm," Esherick said. "Our shots weren't dropping."

One could sense that it was going to be a long half for the Hoyas when freshman forward Brandon Bowman scored Georgetown's first six points to open the game. Bowman came into this game as only a 32.5 percent shooter.

The traffic on the New Jersey turnpike ran smoother than the Hoyas' offense in the first half. Sweetney didn't get the ball consistently, taking only seven shots in the half, but led the Hoyas with seven points. Georgetown also turned the ball over 11 times.

The first half illustrated Georgetown's backcourt predicament - Sweetney can't get the ball and nobody else can score or defend the perimeter. …