Georgetown has one of the nation’s best defenses, but its ongoing rebounding problems have coach John Thompson III concerned.
The eighth-ranked Hoyas close their non-conference schedule on Monday when they host Fordham.
On Saturday, Georgetown (9-1) bounced back from its first loss of the season - 85-71 to second-ranked Memphis on Dec. 22 - with a 78-51 victory over American University. DaJuan Summers scored 16 points, Roy Hibbert added 14 and Chris Wright had 13.
The Hoyas shot 60.4 percent from the field, but they also had a season-low 28 rebounds, only two more than the much smaller Eagles.
Georgetown is 12th in the Big East with 37.1 rebounds per game.
The 7-foot-2 Hibbert, who grabbed only one offensive rebound Saturday, leads the Hoyas with 6.4 boards per game, but that’s below his 6.9 average from the past two seasons.
“Our rebounding is an issue,” Thompson said. “We have to pursue the ball better than we have been. For us to win this year, we have to do a better job of limiting people to one shot and, just as important, getting second shots for us. It’s across the board; it’s not just Roy.”
Hibbert and the Hoyas may have no such problems against Fordham (6-5), which ranks 313th among 341 Division I teams in rebounding at 29.7 per game.
Georgetown opens the Big East season Jan. 5 at Rutgers, and Hibbert thinks the team’s rebounding will come around in time for conference play.
“We just have to limit them to one shot and put a body on someone as soon as the shot goes up,” he said. “We have to have a hand up when they’re shooting and go rebound.”
Hibbert did score in double figures for the first time in four games, having dropped into a tie with Summers for the team scoring lead at 12.2 points per game.
He also helped the Hoyas put together another solid defensive game Saturday as they held the opposition to 55 points or less for the third time in four games. Georgetown’s opponents are averaging 55.2 points on 36.1 percent shooting.
The Rams (6-5) had one of their better offensive games of the season Friday, shooting 54.2 percent from the field in a 72-60 win over Binghamton. Bryant Dunston had 24 points and 14 rebounds as Rhode Island won for the third time in four games.
Fordham blew a 17-point lead in the second half but came back to win, one game after shooting just 36 percent in a 58-54 loss to North Carolina Greensboro.
“This was a gutsy game for us,” coach Dereck Whittenburg said. “We didn’t play well the last game and hadn’t been shooting well. Tonight we shot 54 percent from the field and showed some character and didn’t panic when they made that comeback.”
This is the second game of the season against a Big East opponent for the Rams, who lost 80-63 at Syracuse on Nov. 16.
Fordham’s last win over a ranked opponent was a 68-67 victory over then-No. 24 St. John’s on Dec. 9, 2000. Since then, it has lost nine straight against Top 25 opponents.
The Rams lead the all-time series against Georgetown 27-22, but this is the first matchup since the Hoyas won 75-65 during the 1978-79 season.