Providence-Georgetown Preview


The last time Georgetown was on this kind of a roll, it reached the Final Four.

The 12th-ranked Hoyas look to stretch their win streak to 10 games Saturday in their Big East home opener against Providence.

Georgetown (11-1, 1-0) is enjoying its longest run since an 11-game streak Jan. 17-Feb. 24, 2007. The Hoyas won 30 games that season before losing to Ohio State in the Final Four.

Expectations were not high after Georgetown lost its top scorers from last season, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright.

Key contributions from some unheralded returning players and newcomers, however, have made an impact. Three freshmen reserves combined for 25 points in Wednesday's 71-68 upset at previously unbeaten No. 4 Louisville.

"You say freshman class, and they are freshmen and this is their first Big East experience, but they've been doing that since the summer," coach John Thompson III said. "It's a group that plays hard and competes."

Sophomore guard Markel Starks continued his surge with a career-high 20 points as he made all four 3-point attempts. Starks is averaging 17.3 points on 64.3 percent shooting over his last three contests.

"When you're in the heat of the battle you're just playing in the flow of the game, shots are going to come,'' Starks said. "Whether you make them or miss them, those are shots you've got to be able to take. I took them and they were able to fall.''

Georgetown last started 12-1 in 2007-08, and Thompson is trying to temper the enthusiasm generated by the fast start.

"We are one game into league play," the coach said. "It was a very good big win against a very good team in a difficult place to play. We aren't worrying about validation right now. We just want to try to accumulate wins."

The Hoyas have won five straight over the Friars (11-3, 0-1), winning 83-81 at home in last season's lone meeting despite Marshon Brooks' 43 points and 10 boards.

The Friars have more balance with the departure of Brooks, the nation's second-leading scorer at 24.6 points per game in 2010-11. Three players average at least 15 points, led by Vincent Council's 16.5 mark.

Council, however, has missed all 14 shots and totaled six points from the line over his two previous meetings with the Hoyas.

Providence, which has dropped 16 straight conference road games, is seeking to recover after its seven-game win streak was snapped in its Big East opener, a 91-67 loss at St. John's on Tuesday. The Red Storm shot 56.5 percent - the worst mark allowed by the Friars all season.

"Defense? That was awful,'' coach Ed Cooley said. "I promise you we will correct that attitude. That was the worst defensive game I ever coached.''

Gerald Coleman scored 20 points for Providence, which matched a season high with 20 turnovers. Council and Bryce Cotton combined for 18 points and 12 turnovers.

"Our kids were pathetic today in every way,'' the first-year coach said. "Every wart re-emerged. We were very selfish. We just weren't tough and when you're not tough and show that passion to compete, that's very sad to see.''