Rocked And Rolled - Part II

West Virginia broke into the top 25 rankings for the second time this season, only to be again broken by an inside-based team.

Roy Hibbert scored 20 points and No. 16 Georgetown dominated No. 22 West Virginia on both ends in a 71-53 win on Monday that resembled an earlier lopsided loss to Marquette after WVU became ranked.

The Hoyas (19-5, 9-2 Big East) controlled the paint and used its length and quickness to disrupt West Virginia's cutting sets and its 1-3-1 zone. It held WVU to 37.7 percent shooting overall while missing just four shots in the first half in winning its eighth in a row, the longest winning streak since the 2003-04 team won its first nine.

The Mountaineers (19-6, 7-5), meanwhile, playing their third top-20 team in 10 days, showed a mix of fatigue and interior intimidation by Hibbert. WVU had no answer for the 7-2 center, who choked down the lane to cut off backdoor tries, allowing the Hoyas to extended the 2-3 zone and switch every screen. The athleticism and solid on-ball defense harassed WVU from the start, as Georgetown quickly built a 24-8 lead via a 17-0 run midway through the first half. Hibbert, the reigning Big East Player of the Week, scored the final six points of the push, his free throw to finish the spurt coming off a putback try with 7:47 left in the first half after a seven-minute scoring draught by the Mountaineers.

The striking efficiency was present from the start. The Hoyas made six of their first seven shots in taking the lead for good with a 9-8 edge nine minutes in. That segued into the 17-0 run in which GU established inside dominance with 13 of the points coming on the interior. Georgetown led 24-8 with 7:47 left in the first half when Rob Summers put an end to the five-plus minute scoring draught. WVU could never piece together an attack on GU's zone, however, which bothered the smaller Mountaineers. There was no space or time to get off shots, and WVU missed 20 of 28 shots in the first half – and made only four of 16 3-pointers, three of which did not even hit the rim as it trailed 37-20 by the break.

Georgetown, which beat No. 11 Marquette by 18 on Saturday, then scored 11 of the first 13 points of the second half to seal the game with a 48-22 lead. The final 15 minutes were a mere afterthought for a team that has won its last eight by an average margin of 16 points and moved within a half-game of first place and fifth-ranked Pitt, which lost to Louisville at home. Jeff Green added 15 points for the Hoyas; Jonathan Wallace added 14. Hibbert, Green and Wallace were all part of the same recruiting class that came to Georgetown three years ago and are now controlling each league foe they face.

West Virginia was led by Darris Nichols and Joe Alexander, who each scored 10 points. It missed 18 of 27 3-pointers and got to the free throw line just three times for six shots because of its inside inability. Georgetown shot 17 free throws, making 14, just one of which did not come via Hibbert, and was its prototypically solid outside shooting self, making five of a svelte 12 from long range. It was an expected letdown for WVU, which upset then-No. 2 UCLA on Saturday, that led to a beating that was unabashedly brutal.

The Mountaineers were held to their second-fewest first-half points this season in the most complete performance by any opponent this season.Georgetown's height and offensive finesse – head coach John Thompson III runs a Princeton-based set – have not been approached by any foe, and that carried into the defensive end, where West Virginia had five turnovers in the first eight minutes, four of which were by Alex Ruoff, playing half-speed largely because of a cold. WVU finished with 15 turnovers; Georgetown had 17, but balanced that with 18 assists.

Hibbert owned WVU in the paint in the first 20 minutes, making five of six and taking away the paint on the other end. The Mountaineers, unable to hit outside and unwilling to challenge inside, were left with jumpers of screen – the majority of which were badly missed by Frank Young when he faded away. GU had a 35-19 edge in rebounds and had x of its x points in the paint. It tied for West Virginia's most lopsided loss since a 20-point home defeat by Boston College in 2004. WVU trailed by as many as 30 at 67-37 with 5:58 left on a pair of Wallace free throws.

The lone excitement after the second media timeout came when Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, Jr. elbowed Alexander as he was talking with WVU head coach John Beilein along the sideline. Beilein approached Ewing, Jr. and told him not to shove his player. Ewing, Jr. threw a minor elbow around as he swiveled, and the officials intervened. Ewing, Jr. was called for a technical one minute later when he talked to Alexander after the WVU sophomore fouled him. That set off a series of quick whistles and the officiating crew settled play.

The differential in play – though not the pure win-loss outcome – was shocking considering the two teams rank 1-2 in the Big East in scoring defense and are known for protecting the ball and playing an intelligent game. But West Virginia reverted to its road-game offerings by lacking in execution and shooting poorly in losing for the fourth time in six Big East road games. WVU has yet to beat a league team that is in the top half of the standings. Both teams emptied their bench in the final four minutes. Back-up point guard Joe Mazzulla made his first appearance in six games for the Mountaineers as he continues to recover from a deep thigh bruise suffered against Marshall.

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