Georgetown is building confidence defensively as it prepares for a tough stretch next week. American’s offense doesn’t appear to pose much of a challenge.
In perhaps the least-daunting matchup left on their schedule, the 16th-ranked Hoyas look to remain undefeated Saturday and take advantage of an Eagles team that has had trouble scoring.
Georgetown (5-0) has two matchups next week against teams that are currently ranked, facing No. 23 Butler in the Jimmy V Classic in New York on Tuesday night before meeting No. 12 Washington four days later in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif.
Before those contests, Georgetown has what essentially amounts to yet another tune-up. The Hoyas, who have allowed 54.6 points per game, aren’t expected to have much trouble against the Eagles (1-7), who average 59.6.
Georgetown held Mount St. Mary’s to 41.5 percent shooting in an 83-62 victory Monday night. It was also a second straight impressive game offensively for the Hoyas, who set a season high in points last Saturday in a 97-64 win over Lafayette.
Greg Monroe leads four Georgetown players in double-figure scoring with 14.8 points per game. The sophomore center had a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds Monday.
Junior guard Chris Wright, averaging 13.8 points, added a season-high 18.
Monroe and Wright were also consistent last season, when the Hoyas went 16-15. The improved play of Julian Vaughn and Jason Clark, though, has Georgetown believing it can challenge for a Big East title.
Vaughn had a career-high 14 points and matched personal bests with eight rebounds and three blocks against Mount St. Mary’s. Clark added 12 points and four steals after setting career highs for points in his previous two games.
“(Vaughn and Clark) are in their second year now,” coach John Thompson III said. “You see the growth, you see the development, you see their comfort level is higher. Their teammates’ confidence in them and their confidence in themselves is better right now.”
Vaughn, who transferred from Florida State before the 2008-09 season, has joined Monroe to give the Hoyas two strong frontcourt players. Vaughn is averaging 7.2 points after posting 1.8 last season.
“(Last year) I put pressure on myself, but this year I definitely learned to relax,” Vaughn said. “I worked really hard this summer and I think I’m just trying to make sure it pays off by relaxing and playing hard.”
Clark is shooting 52.5 percent and averaging 13.2 points, eight more than last season.
Stephen Lumpkins is American’s top scorer after struggling as a freshman. The forward is averaging 13.9 points after being held to 3.4 in 2008-09.
Lumpkins had 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks to lead the Eagles to their first win of the season, 59-53 over Howard on Tuesday night.
Riley Grafft is the only other player averaging double figures in scoring for American, contributing 10.0 points. The 6-foot-11 Grafft, also averaging 5.9 rebounds, will be asked to help contain Monroe.
The Hoyas have won six straight against the Eagles and lead the series 42-8.