Georgetown’s Greg Monroe has dominated more seasoned, but less imposing big men. Now he’ll get a chance to take on a player who matches his size and experience in Wichita State freshman center Garrett Stutz.
Monroe and the 21st-ranked Hoyas face Stutz and the Shockers on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
In Saturday’s 81-53 victory over Drexel, Monroe posted season highs with 20 points and eight rebounds while hitting 7-of-9 from the field and all six free throw attempts.
“His instincts are great at both ends of the floor,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “You tell him something once, and he understands what you’re saying and when to apply it and how to apply it.”
Monroe is averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while shooting 68.4 percent from the field, and he leads the Hoyas (2-0) in each of those categories.
“The kid is good. This is just the beginning,” said senior guard Jessie Sapp, who had eight points and tied a career high with five steals Saturday. “He’s been working hard. This is the result of working hard.”
Georgetown’s first two opponents have guarded the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Monroe with mostly juniors and seniors, but none of them were more than 6-8 or 225 pounds. He should get a bigger challenge Thursday from Stutz, a 242-pound 7-footer coming off his best game for Wichita State (2-1).
In his first start, Stutz scored 22 points and went 10-of-13 from the field in a 65-44 win over Centenary on Monday. He averaged 9.0 points through his first two games.
“Garrett has great hands, and he did a good job of sealing his man in their man-to-man,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall told the school’s official Web site. “It’s really hard to move the ball on the perimeter. They deny and do the best they can to make every pass an adventure. We were able to go over the top, and he just has soft hands.”
Stutz also had the first two assists and first two blocked shots of his collegiate career. He’s only averaging 3.3 boards, but the Shockers have outrebounded their opponents by 16.6 per game.
The Hoyas have been outrebounded by 3.0 per contest, but have won by an average of 18.5 points.
Georgetown hit 61.5 percent from the floor in the first half Monday as 11 of its first 12 field goals came in the paint. The Hoyas shot 52.8 percent - their best since hitting the same percentage in a 74-42 win over St. John’s on Jan. 30.
Sophomore guard Austin Freeman scored a season-high 16 points and hit 6-of-7 shots, matching a career-best shooting effort with more than two field-goal attempts. Chris Wright, the team’s second-leading scorer with 13.5 points per game, had 11 points and a career-high seven assists versus Drexel.
The Shockers have improved their shooting percentage in each game, hitting 53.1 percent on Monday behind Stutz and freshman guard Toure’ Murry’s season-best 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Now they face one of the nation’s top defenses. Georgetown has held opponents to 30.5 percent from the field this season after leading the nation in 2007-08 at 36.6.
This is the first meeting between these programs. The winner plays either No. 12 Tennessee or Siena in the tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon.