Marquette Golden Eagles (15-9, 6-5 BE) at No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas (19-5, 8-4 BE)
Sunday, Noon CST
Verizon Center—Washington, D.C.
TV: ESPN and ESPN360.com (Mike Patrick and Len Elmore with the call)
When the Georgetown Hoyas started 1-4 in Big East play, many were questioning whether or not they could compete with the top teams in the Big East. In their last 7 games, they've answered their critics with an emphatic, "Yes, we can."
During the Hoya's current seven game winning streak, they have beat not one, not two but three top-15 opponents. GU's wins against Villanova and Syracuse came on the road.
Coach John Thompson III's team is, like Marquette, very perimeter oriented. Their top three scorers are all guards, and all three can score in a multitude of ways.
That trio is led by the preseason Big East Player of the Year, Austin Freeman. The senior has been the go-to-guy for Georgetown this year, averaging 18.5 points per game, having connected on 45.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He's stepped up during the Hoyas recent seven-game win streak, averaging 21 points-per-game.
Freeman is joined in the backcourt by the Hoyas two other leading scorers, fellow senior Chris Wright and junior Jason Clark. Both players are averaging 12.5 points per contest, but Wright is having a down year scoring-wise in comparison to last season. As a junior, Wright averaged 15.2 points, and 4.1 assists, shooting 47% from the field. This year, his scoring and shooting percentage is down, but he is averaging another assist-and-a-half per game.
The junior, Clark, has assumed a similar role as last season. He has averaged the aforementioned 12.5 points per game, a 2 point improvement on his numbers last year, while seeing a drop in his shooting percentage from beyond the three-point line, going from 42.4 percent last year to 38.2 this year.
Last year's Georgetown team ran their offense through their down low stud, Greg Monroe. With his depature to the NBA, the Hoyas have suffered on both ends of the court inside the paint. Georgetown ranks 218 in the country rebounding the basketball, averaging just 34.3 rebounds-per-game. To put that into perspective, Marquette averages 35.3 rebounds-per-game.
The main contributors down low for the Hoyas this year has been senior Julian Vaughn, sophomore Hollis Thompson, junior Henry Sims, and freshman Nate Lubick. Vaughn leads the group with 6.6 rebounds per game, along with scoring 9.2 per game. Thompson is the only one of the group that likely to step out to the perimeter and shoot, as he enters Sunday's contest shooting 46.8% from three-point land.
Georgetown will be hosting a Marquette team coming off a great comeback victory in Tampa against the USF Bulls. The Golden Eagles were down 16 twice in the second half, before coming back to win 59-58. The performance may have been unimpressive but with the way Buzz Williams' group plays, the Hoyas can be assured of one thing Sunday afternoon: they won't go down without swinging.
Preview: at No. 11 Georgetown
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