Georgetown has traditionally been known for playing tough defense, but its improved offense may determine whether or not the Hoyas repeat as Big East champions.
The seventh-ranked Hoyas look for another strong offensive outing Saturday when they hit the road looking for a sixth straight win over Rutgers in their conference opener.
Georgetown’s recent play offensively has the Hoyas (10-1) primed for another successful run through the league after winning the title with a 13-3 mark in 2006-07. The Hoyas look to win their sixth consecutive conference opener.
“We get started now,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “You know what’s coming. The opposition knows what’s coming. There are no surprises.”
Whether it’s out of a methodical set or in transition, from inside or out, the Hoyas are averaging 85.6 points in their last five games - almost 11 better than their 74.9 season average. Georgetown averaged 66.0 points during its first six contests.
“We have offensive personnel such that there’s no need for guys to take slightly contested shots,” Thompson said. “Because if you pass it to the next guy that’s wide open, he’s going to make it.”
All five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season in Georgetown’s 82-55 home win over Fordham on Monday—the team’s second straight victory since losing 85-71 at No. 2 Memphis on Dec. 22.
Guard Jonathan Wallace had a season-high 19 points to top 1,000 for his career, while leading scorer DaJuan Summers added 15 points and nine rebounds.
Summers, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, averages 12.5 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Wallace is averaging 10.3 points per game. Both started on last season’s team that reached the regional finals of the NCAA tournament and have complimented preseason All-American Roy Hibbert, who averages 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Fellow starters Austin Freeman (9.3 ppg) and Jessie Sapp (9.1), along with reserves Patrick Ewing Jr., freshman Chris Wright, and sophomores Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers offer even more options for the Hoyas, who are shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
“We’re a really deep team,” said Hibbert, who is averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last two games versus Rutgers. “Coach can go to the bench and pull two, three guys that can score right off the bat.”
The Hoyas are still one of the nation’s top defensive teams, giving up 55.2 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot 35.2 percent.
Georgetown won 68-54 at Rutgers on Jan. 17 in the teams’ only meeting last season. Summers had 17 points and Hibbert 16 for the Hoyas, who have held the Scarlet Knights to an average of 54.4 points during their five-game winning streak in the series.
Rutgers (8-6, 0-1) opened league play with a 68-45 loss at South Florida on Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights shot 38.9 percent and made just three field goals in the final 11:15 in being held to their fewest points this season.
“If you don’t shoot the ball well, and that’s what we’ve struggled with all season long, it makes it pretty tough,” said Rutgers coach Fred Hill, whose team is shooting 40.2 percent.
Leading scorer JR Inman was held to a season-low eight points, but had 14 rebounds off the bench for Rutgers, which went 3-13 in the Big East last season.
Inman, who averages 15.5 points and 8.8 rebounds, had 13 points in last season’s loss to Georgetown.
Rutgers, which has lost three of its last four, won 66-59 on Feb. 11, 2003 for its most recent victory over the Hoyas.