7:00 PM ET, February 18, 2010
Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
Syracuse and Georgetown both slipped up against unranked Big East opponents their last time out, but both teams have generally played their best against top-flight competition.The 10th-ranked Hoyas' trip to upstate New York last month was a rare exception.Georgetown has throttled two top-10 visitors to the Verizon Center, though, and it'll have revenge on its mind Thursday night as it tries to deal the fifth-ranked Orange their first road loss.A win and a season split with Syracuse (24-2, 11-2) would give the Hoyas (18-6, 8-5) their seventh victory over a Top 25 opponent, something no other team in the country can boast.Then again, after losing 71-68 at Rutgers on Sunday afternoon, it's hard to imagine Georgetown hanging with a team that's tied with Villanova atop the Big East."It is frustrating to the coach and I think it is frustrating to the guys also," coach John Thompson III said of his team's inconsistency. "We just have to make sure as we go forward we limit that -- have a little more of a steady flow instead of the ups and downs."There's plenty of reason to believe the Hoyas will bounce back Thursday. Following a 73-56 loss at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 25 -- a game Georgetown led 14-0 -- the Hoyas shot 63.8 percent and averaged 96.0 points in consecutive Saturday routs of then-No. 8 Duke and second-ranked Villanova.Sandwiched in between those victories, though, was a home loss to South Florida."We need to find a way to keep our focus," said sophomore center Greg Monroe, who's averaged 18.4 points and 6.0 assists in his last five games. "I really wish we could just play some games that don't count, lose them so we can come out before every game with that intensity and that focus. ... Everybody has to get mentally prepared and understand that the same focus and intensity that they bring against the better teams, they have to bring to every team."Syracuse's two losses have come at home to unranked opponents in games where it failed to even approach its Division I-leading field-goal percentage (52.2). The Orange shot a season-low 41.4 percent in falling 66-60 to Louisville on Sunday.Leading scorer Wes Johnson, nursing a bruised thumb on his shooting hand since a nasty fall at Providence two weeks ago, was 5 of 20 from the floor and had a pair of shots blocked in the final minute. He's shooting 28.6 percent and his scoring average has dropped six points since the game against the Friars."I'm just missing shots," said Johnson, who had 14 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and seven turnovers against the Hoyas last month. "It ain't anything mentally or physically. My body is still not 100 percent, but I wouldn't really blame it on that. The shots that I did take, I really just missed them."Syracuse is the only team in the nation without a road loss, and that's largely due to Andy Rautins. The senior guard averages 9.3 points in home and neutral site games, but is scoring 15.3 in visiting arenas.He had 15 points, six assists and six steals at home last month against Georgetown.The Hoyas, meanwhile, will likely need a better game from Monroe if they're going to win a fourth straight at home against the Orange. He had eight points and six turnovers before fouling out at Syracuse.Of even more importance is a big game from Chris Wright, who was held to seven points in the first meeting. Georgetown is 16-0 when it gets 10 or more from the junior guard, who expects a charged atmosphere for one of the Big East's best rivalries."It's an honor to play in a game like this, to be a part of history," Wright said. "I'm sure it's going to be electric.'
|Avg Points Allowed||66.9||65.1|