Of the three games on Georgetown’s homestand, the matchup with South Florida is the easiest to look past. It’s difficult, though, to overlook the Bulls’ Dominique Jones.
Trying to remain perfect at the Verizon Center, the No. 7 Hoyas attempt to slow down the high-scoring Jones and end South Florida’s first three-game Big East win streak Wednesday night.
Georgetown (16-4, 6-3) opened this critical stretch with a surprisingly easy 89-77 victory over then-No. 8 Duke on Saturday. The Hoyas shot 71.7 percent to match the third-highest mark in school history, their best effort since shooting 71.9 percent against St. John’s in 1980.
“With the offensive players we have, we know where our shots are coming from and they’re doing an outstanding job night-in and night-out to help each other get shots,” coach John Thompson III said. “With as good as they are as offensive players, hopefully we will have other days like this.”
Greg Monroe and Chris Wright each scored 21 points and Austin Freeman added 20 for the Hoyas, who played in front of their first sellout crowd with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in attendance.
“I think we all came out with a little bit more energy than usual,” Wright said. “We were all over the place, defensively and offensively.”
Another sellout could be on tap Saturday when No. 2 Villanova visits, although a crowd short of capacity is expected for the matchup with South Florida (14-7, 4-5). The Hoyas are 10-0 at the Verizon Center, with their only home loss coming on campus at McDonough Arena to Old Dominion on Dec. 19.
Georgetown’s big offensive effort over the weekend didn’t go unnoticed.
“They’ve got one of the best players in the country in Greg Monroe who can score and pass as well as anybody,” South Florida coach Stan Heath said. “But they shoot the ball so well from 3 so it’s hard to figure out where you’re going to skew your defense a little bit.”
The Bulls, though, don’t resemble the pushovers they have been in seasons past. Their success is due largely to Jones, who has averaged 37.0 points during the three-game win streak.
Jones scored 24 of his 37 in the second half of a 70-61 victory over then-No. 17 Pittsburgh on Sunday. He has earned back-to-back Big East player of the week honors.
“He’s just doing what he does. … He’s just carrying the load,” guard Chris Howard said. “He may be the LeBron or the Kobe of this team. The way he’s playing is lifting us up.”
While Georgetown has three players who average at least 15 points, Jones is the only healthy Bull averaging at least 12.
“We’re going to really have to dig down deep,” Heath said. “We’re going to have to have somebody else step up too. Dominique has been unbelievable, but we need to get a couple more guys (going).”
South Florida is 0-9 in Big East road games against Top 25 opponents, and 1-3 against Georgetown since joining the conference in 2005. Wright scored 17 points in a 65-40 Hoyas road victory Feb. 18.