Earlier this week, Georgetown overcame its worst shooting performance of the season to narrowly avoid a letdown against the last-place team in the Big East.
The sixth-ranked Hoyas likely need a better showing Saturday night when they visit Louisville, a team which has won its only two games against ranked opponents this season.
The Hoyas (19-2, 9-1) shot a season-low 39.3 percent and needed to rally from a 10-point deficit to beat last-place South Florida 63-53 at home on Tuesday.
“Winning is important. Winning is good. You guys can talk about good win, bad win, ugly win,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “We win. We have to learn and we have to grow from it.”
The Hoyas, who are 6-2 on the road, will try to extend their overall winning streak to seven games as they look to beat the Cardinals (17-6, 7-3) for a fifth consecutive time. Georgetown won 73-65 last season in the first Big East matchup between the teams, keeping Louisville winless in this series since March 7, 1953.
The Cardinals, though, are looking to go 3-0 against Top 25 opponents this season after beating No. 16 Marquette 71-57 on Monday to snap their conference rival’s 14-game home winning streak. Their other win over a ranked team also came against the Golden Eagles, who were at No. 13 when they lost 71-51 at Louisville on Jan. 17.
A victory for Louisville on Saturday could put them back in the Top 25 for the first time since being ranked 22nd in mid-December. The Cardinals have been receiving votes in the eight polls since then.
Georgetown is hoping DaJuan Summers can build on an outstanding performance in engineering the win over the Bulls, scoring a career-high 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The sophomore forward, second on the team with 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, is still recovering from a sprained ankle that kept him out of a 74-42 win at St. John’s on Jan. 30.
“I wouldn’t say 100 percent but it’s better than it was the past couple of games,” Summers said of his ankle.
If the injury bothers Summers, the scoring load could fall on Roy Hibbert, who had 13 points and eight rebounds Wednesday. The senior center leads the team with career-high averages of 13.1 points and 7.0 boards.
He had 20 points and 11 rebounds in last season’s matchup with Louisville as he outplayed Cardinals center David Padgett, held to eight points on 1-of-6 shooting. The 6-foot-11 senior has worked his way back from a knee injury which forced him to miss 10 games earlier this season, and is averaging 10.1 points but has not been very effective on the glass with just 4.2 rebounds per game.
Padgett, though, has blocked 21 shots in 13 games to help shore up a Louisville defense which is allowing 60.0 points per game, second in the conference to Georgetown (56.7). The Cardinals have held their last two opponents to a combined 107 points and 32.4 percent from the field.
Louisville also is getting solid production from sophomore guard Jerry Smith, the team’s top scorer at 11.3 points per game. Since going 0-for-7 from the field in last month’s win over Marquette, Smith has averaged 13.2 points over the last six games while shooting 58.7 percent from the field—13-of-27 from 3-point range.
“He had an excellent freshman year and he’s having an outstanding sophomore season. Probably consistently from start to finish the best on the team,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a very good athlete.”