Georgetown is trying to put the memory of last season’s disastrous play in the Big East behind it. One loss it would particularly like to forget was to Jeremy Hazell and Seton Hall.
The 11th-ranked Hoyas take on the Pirates on Thursday night, looking to slow down one of the nation’s top scorers in Hazell.
Georgetown (12-2, 3-1) is hoping to get a measure of revenge against Seton Hall (10-5, 1-3) after the Pirates defeated the then-12th-ranked Hoyas 65-60 on Jan. 25, snapping a four-game losing streak in the series.
Georgetown shot a season-low 32.7 percent and had 17 turnovers in the loss, which was part of a season-high five-game skid for the Hoyas. They would eventually finish 7-11 in the Big East - their worst such record in five seasons under coach John Thompson III.
Thompson has Georgetown off to stronger start in conference play this season. It bounced back from a three-point defeat at Marquette on Jan. 6 with a 72-69 come-from-behind win at home over No. 13 Connecticut on Saturday.
Austin Freeman scored 28 of his career-high 33 points in the second half to help the Hoyas rally from a 19-point deficit. Freeman was 12 of 20 from the field, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and also had seven rebounds with three steals.
Freeman, who has moved into the team lead in scoring with 15.4 points per game, had 20 against Marquette. In 2008-09, the junior guard averaged 11.4 points.
“There’s growth each year at all ends of the floor. Austin is doing a much better job - and he continues to do a better job - of playing the game, instead of watching the game,” Thompson said. “He’s more engaged when the ball’s not in his hands.”
Freeman, though, has struggled in two career contests against Seton Hall, scoring 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting.
He and the Hoyas will be looking to find a way to slow Hazell, something few teams have been able to do. Hazell scored 23 against Georgetown last season despite shooting 5 of 21.
Hazell had 33 points as Seton Hall snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday with an 83-76 win over Cincinnati. Also a junior guard, Hazell made five of 10 3-pointers to help the Pirates rally from a 12-point first-half deficit.
Hazell is second in the Big East in scoring, trailing Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody, and overall is among the leaders in Division I, averaging 23.3 points. He has scored 30 or more points in three of his last five games.
Seton Hall is 0-3 against Top 25 teams, but the losses have been by an average of seven points and one came in overtime. Hazell was a big factor in keeping those games so close, scoring a combined 79 points against West Virginia and Syracuse. However, he shot 5 of 20 and finished with only 13 points against Connecticut on Jan. 6.
Seton Hall has lost its last two road games against Georgetown. The Pirates also have dropped 13 in a row away from home against Top 25 foes since beating Pittsburgh in 2006.