Providence (11-4) at (22) Georgetown (10-3)

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  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sat Jan 10, 2009
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Struggling Georgetown seems ready for a break in its run of matchups against ranked teams. Providence, meanwhile, is probably primed for a stiffer challenge.

The ninth-ranked Hoyas are in danger of losing three in a row for the first time in nearly three years as they host the upstart Friars in a Big East matchup Saturday.

Georgetown (10-3, 1-2) had a grueling start to league play, beating then-No. 2 Connecticut 74-63 on the road in its opener before dropping its next two - both against ranked teams. The Hoyas were routed 70-54 at home last Saturday by Pittsburgh, now the top-ranked team in the country, then lost at No. 13 Notre Dame 73-67 two days later.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III, though, wouldn’t use the tough schedule as an excuse for losing two in a row. The Hoyas haven’t dropped three straight since Feb. 12-19, 2006.

“Yes, it was a difficult stretch with two road games and a quick turnaround. But so what?” he said. “It’s the Big East.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Georgetown, which will face No. 11 Syracuse on Wednesday night, second-ranked Duke on Jan. 17 and No. 25 West Virginia on Jan. 22.

Facing unranked Providence (11-4, 3-0) could give the Hoyas a breather, but the Friars have a chance to win their first four Big East games for the first time in their history.

Providence won its first three conference games by an average of 12.4 points, but it faced St. John’s, DePaul and Cincinnati - teams with a combined 1-6 record in league play.

“It feels better than being 0-3, but it’s such a long season that you don’t get a whole lot of time to enjoy it,” Friars coach Keno Davis.

Providence has won four straight overall and has been outstanding on defense during that stretch, giving up 62.8 points per game with opponents shooting 40.0 percent. The Friars will now try to stop a Hoyas team coming off two straight poor offensive showings.

Georgetown shot 41.7 percent (25-for-60) from the floor, hit 22.2 percent (4-for-18) of its 3-pointers and was 59.1 percent (13-for-22) from the free-throw line against Notre Dame.

“This is an unforgiving league, so we have to do it every night in every aspect of the game,” Thompson said.

Junior forward DaJuan Summers, who leads the Hoyas with 14.9 points per game, was held to 11 on 3-for-7 shooting Monday. He had 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting in a 68-58 win at Providence last Feb. 18.

The Friars went 6-12 in Big East play and 15-16 overall in 2007-08, but they’ve won seven of their last eight and are 3-0 in the conference for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

Guard Sharaud Curry said it’s a high point for seniors who have never experienced such a strong start.

“To be 3-0 is huge,” he said. “Maybe people will start looking at us as being able to have an impact this year.”

Curry had 15 points in an 87-79 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday night, while Weyinmi Efejuku led a balanced Providence scoring attack with 18. He topped all players with 25 points in last year’s matchup with the Hoyas.

Georgetown leads the all-time series 37-19.

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