N.C. State-Georgetown Preview
Georgetown has already shown it is capable of withstanding a furious rally from its opponent. That skill may come in handy again Sunday night against a team that has proven capable of mounting such a rally.
The No. 20 Hoyas can improve to 5-0 for the third time in four seasons, but to do so they'll need to defeat fellow unbeaten North Carolina State in the championship game of the Charleston Classic.
Georgetown (4-0) advanced to the finals of the eight-team tournament by overcoming a challenge from Wofford that was perhaps tougher than expected. The reigning Southern Conference champions mounted a second-half rally that trimmed the Hoyas' lead from 15 to five, but coach John Thompson III's club pulled away in the closing minutes.
"Good teams, well-coached teams, are going to make runs,'' Thompson said. "It's how we respond, to settle down and say, 'Let's take that away.'''
Senior guards Chris Wright and Austin Freeman led the way with 18 and 14 points, respectively, for the Hoyas, who shot 57.1 percent from the field and outrebounded Wofford 36-20.
"That composure,'' Thompson said. "In several of our games this year we've shown it. And that's good to see so early in the year.''
Freeman is averaging a team-high 18.5 points and shooting 60.0 percent, including 11 for 21 from 3-point range.
Freeman, Wright, and the rest of the Hoyas now must contend with another opponent that has shown it doesn't give up easily. The Wolfpack (3-0) let an early double-digit lead evaporate Friday against George Mason and fell behind with 12 minutes remaining, but responded with a 19-2 run to put the game out of reach.
"It was a good run for us," coach Sidney Lowe told NC State's official website. "We got stops on defense, and we were able to get out and run and put pressure on their transition defense. Both of our runs in this tournament started with defense, and that is the way we have to continue to play."
The Wolfpack have held all three of their opponents below 40 percent shooting and to fewer than 70 points. A defensive struggle could be in order against the Hoyas, who are allowing 58.0 points per game.
"They are a very good team, with great players," Lowe said. "They are experienced, and play with great composure. It will be a great test for us, but that is what we are here for. We are here to play against the best, and that will be the case on Sunday."
Freshman Ryan Harrow led NC State with 14 points off the bench against the Patriots, while fellow reserve Richard Howell added 13 and 11 rebounds. Four Wolfpack players - Harrow, Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie, are averaging at least 12 points through the first three games.
NC State, which holds a 4-1 edge in the all-time series against Georgetown, is seeking its third consecutive 4-0 start.