Missouri and Georgetown both survived scares in their respective season openers, and have made relatively easy work of their opponents since. The first true test of the season for each team may come against the other.
The No. 9 Tigers face the No. 16 Hoyas in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday as each team prepares for a more difficult part of its schedule.Following a 62-59 win Nov. 12 against Old Dominion, Georgetown won its next five over mid-major opponents by an average of 16.0 points, including an 87-72 victory Saturday against UNC-Asheville.Big East preseason player of the year Austin Freeman scored 32 points, shot 11 for 15 from the field and tied a school record with seven 3-pointers in the win. The Hoyas (6-0) broke the game open with a 23-0 run over an 8 1/2-minute span of the first half in which Freeman scored 10. Freeman's 20.2 points per game trail only Connecticut's Kemba Walker and West Virginia's Casey Mitchell in the Big East."I just wanted to be aggressive," Freeman said. "Just come out and take good shots, don't force anything."Julian Wright added 16 points, but Georgetown committed a season-high 23 turnovers including six from Chris Wright and seven by Jason Clark."We're a work in progress," coach John Thompson III said. "There is a lot of room for growth in that locker room."A victory against a top-10 team would be a step in the right direction with Temple looming Dec. 9 and 14th-ranked Memphis awaiting Dec. 23.Missouri (5-0) is also undefeated, but nearly wasn't after its season opener. The Tigers trailed Western Illinois with three minutes remaining before pulling out a 66-61 victory. No Missouri player scored in double figures -- the first time that had happened since 1951.Missouri started the second half on a 16-1 run Sunday and defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 91-63 behind a season-high 18 points from junior guard Kim English and Ricardo Ratliffe's 10 points and 10 rebounds."I've been playing pretty much consistently the same all season. I just try to be a common force out there," English said. "When I'm out there, I'm not worrying about anything else except winning."Ratliffe, a junior transfer, recorded his third double-double of the season and his fourth game with at least 10 boards."He's a relentless rebounder," coach Mike Anderson said. "He can help us get our fast break started and it's nice when you have a guy you know will get you some boards."The Tigers capitalized on 26 turnovers by the Golden Lions. They're forcing 22.8 per game, second-most in the nation.After facing Georgetown, Missouri has a trip to Oregon on Thursday, a home date Dec. 8 against 5-1 Vanderbilt and the annual rivalry game in St. Louis against No. 20 Illinois on Dec. 22.The Tigers and Hoyas last met Feb. 20, 1982, when Georgetown won 63-51.Georgetown has won 16 of its last 17 regular-season non-conference matchups while Missouri has won its last 12.