Georgetown-West Virginia Preview
Georgetown's 11-game winning streak has been both dramatic and impressive, with four squeakers over ranked opponents.
West Virginia isn't in the AP Top 25 but may still present one of the ninth-ranked Hoyas' toughest tests.
Georgetown must go to Morgantown on Saturday and snap a four-game losing streak to the Mountaineers in order to post its longest win streak in 11 years.
The Hoyas (13-1, 3-0 Big East) have won 11 in a row for the first time since Jan. 17-Feb. 24, 2007, and the current streak hasn't come easily. It includes victories over then-No. 8 Memphis, then-No. 12 Alabama and then-No. 4 Louisville - all decided by three points or fewer.
Georgetown extended its run Wednesday with yet another dramatic win over a ranked foe, rallying from a 17-point deficit to defeat No. 20 Marquette 73-70.
Hollis Thompson, whose 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left gave the Hoyas a 57-55 road win over the Crimson Tide last month, provided more late heroics against the Golden Eagles by hitting the deciding 3 with 24 seconds to play.
"We've said this in jest, but it's true: Hollis' confidence is always flowing. And our confidence in him is always going," coach John Thompson III said. "We run a play to get him a shot, it goes in, and then his teammates were coming down the court, (saying), 'Let's do this, let's do that,' trying to get him shots."
The Hoyas certainly have reason to be confident in Thompson - no relation to his coach - who is hitting 50 percent from beyond the arc after going 4 of 5 against Marquette. Due largely to his effort and that of senior guard Jason Clark, who is averaging a team-high 15.9 points and had a game-high 26 on Wednesday, Georgetown is in position for its first 12-game winning streak since opening the 2000-01 season 16-0.
Achieving it may be easier said than done. The Mountaineers (11-4, 2-1) have beaten the Hoyas four straight times - once at home, twice on the road and once in the Big East tournament - since their last loss in the series March 14, 2008. Georgetown has been ranked in all four defeats, and was at No. 13 for a 65-59 home loss to an unranked West Virginia team in the only meeting last season.
Clark led the Hoyas with 16 points in that game last Jan. 8, while Thompson was held to six. Georgetown shot 50 percent from the floor but got outrebounded 32-23 and committed 18 turnovers.
Seven of the last nine ranked opponents to visit Morgantown have lost, including three straight.
None of those games have come since March, but this West Virginia team is also no slouch, having taken then-No. 6 Baylor to overtime Dec. 23 before falling 83-81 in the Las Vegas Classic championship game.
The Mountaineers have alternated wins with losses in their last five games, including an 85-64 victory Wednesday at Rutgers. Senior guard Darryl Bryant led the way with 29 points while making 7 of 13 from the field, bouncing back from a 3-for-16, 11-point effort in his previous game, a 67-48 loss at Seton Hall on Dec. 30.
"Consistency (in scoring) is definitely something I'm striving for because that's something my team needs me to do," said Bryant, averaging 18.0 points. "If my team didn't need it, I wouldn't be striving for it, but they need me to score."
Teammate Kevin Jones leads the Big East in scoring at 19.6 points per game but has averaged 14.0 over the last three. The senior forward, who also averages a conference-best 11.6 rebounds, had 15 points and eight boards in last season's victory over Georgetown.