For the Georgetown Hoyas, it’s time to bring on the big guys.
The No. 16 Hoyas defeated American 73-46 on Saturday, completing the easiest part of the schedule. They’ve held their unranked opponents to an average of 53.1 points and now will get a chance to see how they fare against a couple of tougher teams.
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Georgetown will play No. 23 Butler on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, then face No. 12 Washington on Dec. 12 in Anaheim, Calif.
A year ago, Georgetown‘s coach John Thompson III endured an unsettling season. His team won 10 of its first 11 games before staggering to a 16-15 finish and an NIT bid. He’s hoping to avoid a repeat.
“I think we are a significantly better team this year than we were at the start of the season,” Thompson said. “Hopefully, we keep moving in that direction. We’re getting better.”
The Hoyas were led by Chris Wright and Henry Sims, who each scored 12 points. Greg Monroe had nine points, a career-high 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Julian Vaughn added 11 points as the Hoyas (6-0) held the Eagles (1-8) to 27 percent shooting from the field.
Monroe, the 6-foot-11 sophomore, nearly had his third double-double of the season, but missed six of nine field goal attempts. Sims, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, had his first game in double figures.
Only in Georgetown‘s second game, a sloppy 46-45 win over Temple, were the Hoyas seriously challenged. Against Tulane, Savannah State, Lafayette, Mount St. Mary’s and American, they coasted to easy wins.
“Margin of victory has nothing to do with being ready,” Thompson said. “Are we ready for next week? We’ll see if we’re ready next week?”
Thompson had to be pleased with how the Hoyas played against the Eagles, a team that participated in the last two NCAA tournaments. American is much less experienced than it was a year ago, losing five of six leading scorers and having just one senior on the roster.
American coach Jeff Jones admits that there’s an enormous difference in the level of talent between his team and Georgetown.
“It’s pretty considerable,” Jones said. “We’re just different teams at different cross-sections.”
He thinks Georgetown can be a national contender.
“I think they have the ability to be really good,” Jones said. “You can’t get too carried away right now, (but) they certainly have the chance to be one of the top teams in the country.”
Wright and Monroe were key participants of last season’s meltdown, and both say they’ve learned from that experience.
“Just be consistent – even keel,” Wright said. “Last year, we got to a point where we got too complacent as a team. We won a few big games, then – last year is a whole nother story.”
“I think it’s about finishing,” Monroe said. “Preparing for the long haul.”
After Nick Hendra, who led the Eagles with 14 points, hit a jumper to tie the score at 9, Georgetown went on a 23-7 run with 2:34 to play in the first half. American shot 30 percent in the first half, and went more than 14 minutes without a point from a player other than Hendra.
Georgetown, which led 34-23 at halftime, outscored American 29-9 to take a 63-32 lead.
“We weren’t as crisp as we should have been,” Wright said about the first half.
It was the third time the Hoyas held a team to fewer than 50 points.