Georgetown-Pittsburgh Preview

BY foxsports • January 27, 2012

Georgetown is anticipating a difficult game with Pittsburgh now that Tray Woodall finally appears healthy.

The Panthers are 11-0 all-time at the Petersen Events Center against top-10 opponents as they get ready to host the No. 9 Hoyas on Saturday.

Georgetown (16-3, 6-2) is tied for second place in the Big East and Pittsburgh (12-9, 1-7) is tied for last, but the Panthers played six times without Woodall during their eight-game skid Dec. 23-Jan. 21.

The junior guard, who has been hampered by an abdominal injury, bounced back from a scoreless effort in last Saturday's 73-62 loss to then-No. 23 Louisville with 17 points and nine assists Wednesday as Pitt ended its slide with its first conference win, 86-74 over Providence.

"It seems that he allows everyone else to be themselves, everyone else to slide into their role that they're most comfortable being with, with him with the ball in his hands," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "He makes everyone better."

Woodall averaged 14.1 points and 8.3 assists while shooting 52.4 percent in Pitt's first seven games.

"I think the guys really have a lot of confidence in him, and he was playing at a high, high level before he went down, obviously, 14 points and eight assists a game, shooting high percentages, taking care of the ball," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon said. "His numbers, you just look at the games before he got hurt, were very impressive."

Woodall clearly has a positive effect on Ashton Gibbs, who scored 22 points Wednesday. Gibbs, the preseason Big East player of the year, is averaging 18.2 points on 41.2 percent shooting this season when Woodall plays compared to 15.2 and 36.5 percent without him.

"There is definitely more space," Gibbs said. "He is an extra playmaker. At the same time he is a scoring option too so the defense has to respect him."

The Hoyas have limited opponents to 38.0 percent shooting during a three-game win streak. Their 39.3 field-goal percentage defense is an improvement from their 41.8 mark last season.

"We are bigger, we are a little more physical, we are more versatile and I think that that is part of the reason, just as far as the pieces that we have and the people that we have," Thompson said.

The Panthers have shot 44.8 percent in winning four of their last five against the Hoyas, but they believe it will be more difficult on the offensive end this time around.

"Their size is really what stands out to me, they play very big," Dixon said. "When they go to the bench, they get dramatically bigger and athletic and physical."

Georgetown has not played since overcoming season-low 29.3 percent shooting in last Saturday's 52-50 home win over Rutgers. Henry Sims had 12 points and 10 rebounds, although he was just 2 of 9 from the field.

"We still are growing, I think we still have a lot of room for improvement," Thompson said.

Top scorers Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson haven't been factors in the past against Pitt. Clark has scored 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting in three meetings and Thompson has scored two points on 1-of-9 shooting in two games.

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