Following back-to-back wins over ranked teams—the latest came after a cross country trip—Georgetown returns home hoping to avoid a letdown as it faces Old Dominion on Saturday.
The 11th-ranked Hoyas (8-0) are off to their best start since going 10-0 to open 2003-04 - the season before John Thompson III was named coach.
Their impressive season-opening run continued last Saturday, beating then-No. 17 Washington 74-66 in Anaheim, Calif. That win came four days after a 72-65 victory over then-No. 22 Butler at Madison Square Garden, and Thompson said the scheduling was by design.
“Washington and Butler have two really different styles of play,” Thompson said. “I wanted that (challenge), because within our league, we have that on a weekly basis.”
Before opening Big East play against St. John’s on New Year’s Eve, Georgetown tunes up with home games against Old Dominion (6-4) and Harvard on Wednesday.
While star center Greg Monroe keyed the two latest wins with a combined 39 points and 16 rebounds, Julian Vaughn provided a spark last Saturday with his best performance of the season.
The junior forward made 7 of 9 shots for a season-high 18 points while pulling down seven rebounds last Saturday. It was a far better effort than his four points and five rebounds against the Bulldogs.
Vaughn, used as a reserve last season after transferring from Florida State, has struggled to be consistent. He’s the only starter not averaging double digits in scoring with 8.6 points and 5.8 boards per game.
“Jules is going to have a few more nights like (last Saturday),” Thompson said. “He’s done a really good job being a presence for us. We just went to him, and he did what he was supposed to do.”
The Hoyas have split four meetings with the Monarchs, winning the last one 66-48 on the road Nov. 28, 2007.
Old Dominion, however, beat then-No. 8 Georgetown 75-62 in the last meeting at McDonough Arena on Nov. 19, 2006. That stands as the Hoyas’ only loss on campus in six games under Thompson—they usually play at the Verizon Center.
The Monarchs have since dropped four in a row to Top 25 opponents.
Repeating that upset might be a tall task for Old Dominion, which has dropped four of six after a 4-0 start.
The Monarchs haven’t played since Dec. 11, losing 58-50 at Dayton while making 2 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. They’ve struggled from 3-point range over the last five games, connecting on 21.4 percent.
Senior forward Gerald Lee, though, is providing a strong presence in the paint, averaging 15.9 points in the last seven games.
Lee had 24 points and 12 boards in the last meeting with Georgetown, but he didn’t have to face the 6-foot-11 Monroe, who is averaging 15.3 points and 10.3 rebounds.