American U.-Georgetown Preview
After eclipsing the 80-point mark in consecutive games for the first time in more than a year, Georgetown appears to be leaving its offensive struggles behind.
The 15th-ranked Hoyas look to continue their scoring surge Saturday when they finish their non-conference schedule by hosting Washington neighbor American University.
Led by an impressive showing from sophomore forward Greg Whittington, Georgetown (9-1) captured its sixth straight victory last Saturday in an 81-68 win over Western Carolina. Whittington had a career-high 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting and added 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
"It was nice to have a good game and score a lot, but I still need to work hard every day," Whittington said.
Fellow sophomore Otto Porter Jr. followed up his career-best 22-point performance in an 89-53 win over Longwood on Dec. 10 with 12 points against Western Carolina to reach double figures for the seventh time in his last eight games. Junior guard Markel Starks has also provided a boost with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting in his last two games.
After averaging 49.0 points on 35.9 percent shooting during a three-game stretch Nov. 30-Dec. 8, the Hoyas have hit 51.7 percent from the floor in their last two victories.
"Offensively, I think (the Hoyas) are growing as I've watched them on tape and then saw them in person," Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said.
Georgetown will try to keep rolling against an American team that has held its own defensively despite struggling to string wins together.
The Eagles (4-7) have held opponents to 60.4 points per game and 40.0 percent shooting in December, but a lack of offense has limited them to two wins in five contests.
Stephen Lumpkins has been perhaps the only consistent scoring option for American, averaging 15.5 points along with 8.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. The senior forward had 12 points and 15 boards for his third straight double-double Tuesday in a 72-65 loss at Hampton.
Senior guard Daniel Munoz, who had seven points on 3-of-11 shooting, is the only other American player averaging in double figures at 10.0 per game.
American's starters, who shot 13 of 39 (33.3 percent) from the field Tuesday, will likely have to improve their efficiency if they hope to pull off a huge upset and avoid a third straight defeat. The Eagles are 4-1 when they score at least 60 points, but they're among the 10 lowest-scoring teams in the nation at 55.7 per game.
It doesn't figure to get any easier against the Hoyas, who rank 10th in the nation in scoring defense (55.4 ppg).
"Right now, we've got to worry about ourselves," American coach Jeff Jones said. "We're not going accept this kind of performance, but it's not going to be cured overnight."
Georgetown has won the last eight meetings in the in-city matchup, including an 81-55 victory last season behind Starks' 18 points. The Hoyas have won 44 of their last 45 non-conference home games.
After this contest, they have a two-week layoff before starting Big East play at Marquette on Jan. 5.