Georgetown-Washington Preview

Washington failed the only real test it had. Georgetown just

passed a big one.

Each team faces another tough challenge Saturday, though it may

be more important to the psyche of the 17th-ranked Huskies.

They still don’t have an impressive win on their resume – and

the Pac-10 might not present them with many chances for one – so

handing the No. 15 Hoyas their first loss could provide a key boost

of confidence.

“The next one is a heavyweight fight,” Huskies captain Quincy

Pondexter said of this matchup at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim,

Calif.

This marks only the second time Washington (6-1) has had to play

away from home or face a team from a major conference. The first

such game came Dec. 3 in a 99-92 overtime loss at unbeaten Texas

Tech – unranked at the time but now No. 23.

The Huskies bounced back to beat Cal State Northridge 88-76 on

Sunday.

“We’ve still got a lot of growing to do,” Pondexter said after

scoring 20 points to see his team-leading average dip to 22.0 per

game.

Pondexter is the lone senior on a team facing the most daunting

portion of its schedule. After playing Georgetown (7-0), the

Huskies meet previously ranked Portland next Saturday before facing

No. 16 Texas A&M.

Coach Lorenzo Romar sees this stretch as good preparation for

Pac-10 play even though his Huskies are the conference’s lone

ranked team.

“Now starts what you could call the ‘pre-Pac-10’ part of our

schedule,” Romar said. “Top 25 opponents, opponents who will come

out and really test us.”

Hoyas coach John Thompson III had a similar idea in mind this

week, with the difference being his team is tuning up for a

conference schedule that includes five current Top 25 teams.

Georgetown hadn’t beaten a ranked team or even one from a major

conference before knocking off No. 22 Butler 72-65 on Tuesday.

“This is a week that was put together by design, it wasn’t by

accident” Thompson said. “In the Big East we will play a tough game

on Tuesday or Wednesday and then another tough one on Saturday. I

want our guys to be used to that emotional ride.”

The Hoyas have a big advantage inside for this matchup, with

center Greg Monroe going against a team which has no player taller

than 6-foot-9 Matthew Bryan-Amaning.

The 6-11 Monroe is coming off the best performance of his

career, finishing with 24 points and 15 rebounds Tuesday. The

reigning Big East rookie of the year is averaging a team-high 15.3

points and ranks second in the conference with 10.7 boards per

game.

His presence creates space for Georgetown’s perimeter players,

who have shot 35 of 78 from 3-point range (44.9 percent) in the

last five games.

“Greg gets everybody else open because they have to pay

attention to him,” said Austin Freeman, who had 18 points and was 4

of 5 from beyond the arc against Butler.

Freeman, Chris Wright and Jason Clark are the other scorers

averaging in double figures for Georgetown.

They all start in the backcourt and could take turns trying to

slow down Isaiah Thomas, last season’s Pac-10 freshman of the year

who is only 5-8 but averaging 20.3 points.

The production of the 6-6 Pondexter may be key because he could

often face the much bigger Monroe in the post. Pondexter ranks

among the Pac-10’s top three in free throws made (51) and

percentage (87.9), but Monroe has avoided foul trouble this season

and hasn’t finished any game with more than three fouls.

The first meeting between these schools marks Georgetown’s first

game in California since 2001.