Austin Freeman’s injured ankle isn’t expected to be a problem for Georgetown.
Connecticut’s Kemba Walker seems to have ended his slump.
Two of the Big East’s top scorers appear ready for Wednesday night’s meeting in Hartford, as Freeman looks to lead the ninth-ranked Hoyas to a ninth straight win when they face Walker and the No. 13 Huskies.
Georgetown (20-5, 9-4) received a bit of a scare Sunday when a Marquette player landed on Freeman’s ankle while he was on the floor late in the first half. He went to the locker room to get taped up and started the second half on the bench.
Freeman entered 3 minutes later and scored eight of his 17 points after halftime as the Hoyas rallied for a 69-60 victory.
“I was in pain, but I played through it,” said Freeman, third in the Big East with 18.5 points per game. “It didn’t hurt as much while I played, so I’m good.”
Freeman’s performance helped Georgetown to its longest conference winning streak since reeling off 11 in a row in its 2006-07 Final Four season. The Hoyas are in sole possession of third place in the Big East after opening 1-4.
“That’s just how the Big East is,” said Chris Wright, who had 20 points. “We won eight (straight) games, and we’re still in third place.”
The Hoyas are playing better defense during their run, limiting four of their last six opponents to 60 points or fewer, but Freeman’s play has also keyed the turnaround.
The Big East preseason player of the year is averaging 20.5 points on 50.4 percent shooting during the winning streak after averaging 9.7 and shooting 32.3 percent in his previous three games, all losses. The Hoyas are 13-1 when he scores 15 or more.
Freeman had 33 points and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range in last season’s 72-69 home win over UConn, Georgetown’s fourth straight victory in the series after losing the previous 11.
Walker finished with nine points on 2-of-7 shooting for the Huskies (19-5, 7-5) in last season’s meeting, and he had been experiencing similar shooting woes over the last couple of weeks.
Walker, second in the conference with 22.8 points per game, entered Sunday’s matchup with Providence averaging 15.2 on 29.5 percent shooting over his previous five contests.
The junior guard seemed to find his touch against the Friars, finishing with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a 75-57 win. It was Walker’s 16th 20-point game of the season and UConn, 1 1/2 games back of the Hoyas, is 14-2 when he reaches that mark.
“It felt good just to be back. I haven’t been myself lately,” Walker said. “I brought the energy, played hard and things went well for me. I was relieved.”
Walker was aided by a surprising performance from Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who scored 25 points and shot 10 of 17 off the bench. The sophomore forward came into the game averaging 4.5 points.
“I’m going to keep working and hopefully things will keep happening like this,” Coombs-McDaniel said. “Everyone contributed and the more things come together the better our team is going to be.”
The Huskies, 7-1 at the XL Center, have won two of three overall after dropping two straight.
UConn is 3-1 against teams ranked in the top 10, while three of Georgetown’s last five wins have come against teams ranked 15th or higher.