After getting off to disappointing start to conference play, Georgetown is suddenly making a run to the top of the Big East standings.
Providence is also turning its season around, but it still has a long way to go to fully recover from its awful conference start.The 13th-ranked Hoyas look to win six straight Big East games for the first time in three years Saturday when they host a Friars team seeking its first road victory in more than a year.Georgetown (17-5, 6-4) entered conference play ranked ninth, but tumbled all the way down to No. 23 after losing four of its first five Big East games. The Hoyas haven't lost since falling to Pittsburgh on Jan. 12, however, and are now within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Panthers."Lately I think our guys have found ways to win games," John Thompson III said. "We just have to find a way to keep that going, which sounds very obvious but is very difficult in this league."Georgetown, which hasn't won six straight conference games since Jan. 19-Feb. 5, 2008, has seen an improvement in offense during its winning streak, averaging 72.4 points on 50.4 percent shooting after averaging 63.0 points in its 1-4 start. The Hoyas' last two victories have each come over ranked foes, defeating then-No. 8 Villanova 69-66 last Saturday and No. 14 Louisville 62-59 two days later."We're not getting Georgetown at the ideal time obviously," Providence coach Keno Davis said. "They're playing as well as anybody in the Big East or even as well as anybody in the country right now. I think our guys are looking forward to that kind of challenge, to play against the best and see if we can hang in there and have a chance at the end of the game."Davis' team has managed to play with some of the nation's top programs lately, having also defeated Louisville and Villanova in the last two weeks.The Friars (14-9, 3-7) are coming off Wednesday's 68-63 win over South Florida, their third victory in four games. They're still tied for the Big East's third-worst record, though, no thanks to an 0-6 start to conference play.Providence is led by one of the league's top scoring threats in senior Marshon Brooks, who has topped the 20-point mark in 16 of his last 17 games.Brooks, second in the Big East in scoring at 23.3 points, had 18 in the Friars' 79-70 home loss to the Hoyas last season.Georgetown's Chris Wright had 21 points in that game, while Austin Freeman added 17, and those two have been carrying the Hoyas' lately.Wright finished with a season-high 24 points against the Cardinals, while Freeman had 13. Freeman had averaged 24.3 points in the first four games of the winning streak."We have a poised group," Thompson said.Thompson's team has won four straight over the Friars since a 68-65 home loss on March 5, 2005, and Georgetown is 19-4 all-time against Providence in Washington.Although the Friars have come up with some impressive wins lately, they've dropped 11 consecutive road games -- six coming this season -- since a 79-62 win at DePaul on Jan. 14, 2010. They've also lost 19 straight road games against ranked opponents since defeating then-No. 4 Connecticut by 10 points on Jan. 24, 2004."You go on the road and you have to be able to execute even better than you do at home," Davis said. "I know our guys are looking forward to the challenge."