(22) Georgetown (13-1) at Pittsburgh (14-2)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Mon Jan 14, 2008
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Georgetown thoroughly dominated its most recent game against Pittsburgh when the teams met in last season’s Big East tournament championship game. The Hoyas, though, might not recognize the Panthers this time around.

Fifth-ranked Georgetown (13-1, 3-0 Big East) looks for its sixth straight win on Monday when it visits No. 15 Pittsburgh (14-2, 2-1) at the Petersen Events Center.

Georgetown and Pitt have met three times in just over a calendar year, with each winning a tight game on its home floor during the 2006-07 regular season. But when they played for the Big East championship on March 10 at Madison Square Garden, the Hoyas held the Panthers to 26.2 percent shooting in a 65-42 blowout.

“I think about our two losses to them all the time,” said Pitt guard Ronald Ramon. “Both of those defeats took a ring away from us, so it’s something that stays with you.”

While the only major contributor Georgetown lost from last year’s Final Four team was junior Jeff Green, who entered the NBA draft, Pittsburgh has an entirely different look in 2007-08. Three senior starters graduated, and the other two Panthers starters won’t be on the floor - senior forward Mike Cook is out for the season with a torn ACL, and junior guard Levance Fields is sidelined with a broken foot.

But Pitt has won three of four since losing Cook and Fields in back-to-back games, largely due to the play of Sam Young. The junior forward has increased his average from 7.2 points in 2006-07 to 18.4 points - fourth in the Big East - this season.

He had a career-high 28 in an 84-70 win over Seton Hall on Saturday, and Young - who grew up a Georgetown fan - needed no reminder who was next on Pitt’s schedule.

“It’s definitely something we’re all looking forward to, but me especially since I’m from the D.C. area,” Young said. “We’re ready for a little revenge. I feel like we’re the better team until they prove otherwise.”

Young came off the bench for Pitt the past two years, but the team’s second-leading scorer was in high school the last time the teams met. DeJuan Blair is averaging 12.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks, emerging as a major force in the paint despite being only 6-foot-7.

Blair, though, will be facing the biggest challenge of his brief college career against Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert.

The 7-2 center, best known for his shot-altering defense, is the Hoyas’ leading scorer at 12.6 points per game and shooting 60.3 percent from the field, second in the Big East.

Most of Hibbert’s shots come close to the basket, but he may be adding another skill to his resume after Saturday’s win over Connecticut - 3-point specialist.

Hibbert swished a tiebreaking 3-pointer with four seconds left to give Georgetown a 72-69 victory. It was the second 3-point attempt of his career - he took one in a blowout win over Fordham on Dec. 31 - and he’s made both.

“That’s not a fluke. That’s not a once-in-a-lifetime thing that Roy makes that shot,” coach John Thompson III said. “If you leave him open - he has shown every day in practice and a few times this year - if you’re not going to play him, he can make that shot.”

Following the lead set by Hibbert, Georgetown’s success is again predicated on its defense. The Hoyas allow 55.9 points per game, the fifth-best mark in the nation.

They lead the country in defensive field-goal percentage defense at 34.6 percent and also are tops in shooting percentage at 52.4 percent.

This is the 70th meeting for the Big East rivals, with Georgetown holding a 39-30 edge after winning four of the last five.

Pitt is 2-1 against Georgetown at the six-year-old Petersen Events Center, where no team has beaten the Panthers twice. The Panthers are 80-8 there and carry a 12-game home winning streak into this game.

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