College Hoops Tuesday Recap: Georgetown Passes First Test

December 9th, 2009

The Jimmy V Classic annually brings together four programs for a night of basketball and a great cause: to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. But one couldn't help but to notice the importance of Tuesday night's game against Butler (and their game against Washington on Saturday in the Wooden Classic) to a Georgetown squad whose biggest test came against Temple. In the first of two games billed as opportunities for John Thompson III's team to show whether or not they'd be a Big East title contender the Hoyas knocked off the Bulldogs 72-65 at Madison Square Garden.

Greg Monroe posted a double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Austin Freeman added eighteen in the win. Gordon Hayward (24 points) was the most productive Bulldog but made just seven of nineteen shots. As a team Butler shot just 31.1% from the field, getting outrebounded by fourteen (40-26) and thus failing to take advantage of twenty Hoya turnovers and twelve more field goal attempts. As a matter of fact neither of the games at the Garden would be considered masterpieces but with the goal being to win the game the Hoyas had a good night. 

Washington's going to offer an entirely different challenge, playing at a faster pace than Butler on both ends of the floor. If the Hoyas can cut down on the turnovers and as a result win in Anaheim they'd have to be considered a serious contender in the Big East. They're more mature than the club that wasted the momentum gained from their win at Connecticut to open conference play last season, meaning that they're more likely to be factor than not. 

Three Key Happenings

1. Indiana wins the nightcap. Will either Indiana or Pittsburgh end up in the NCAA Tournament? That's up for debate but the 74-64 win still qualifies as a solid win for Tom Crean's program. The Hoosiers lost a school-record 25 games last season so despite the issues that the Panthers clearly have offensively this is a good step for IU. Pitt took sixteen more shots yet shot just 31.9% from the field due to the combination of poor offensive execution and good Indiana defense.

The Hoosiers played man as well as zone, confusing the Panthers following a hot start from Ashton Gibbs. Verdell Jones III led the Hoosiers with 22 points and Jeremiah Rivers showed glimpses of possibly emerging as the leader the young team needs. While not a win that will stand out on a resume beating the Panthers is a nice building block for Coach Crean's program. 

2. BYU conquers the pace and the Sun Devils. Arizona State has the ability to take a team that wants to play with some pace and slow them to a crawl due to their matchup zone (see: Duke in the NIT Seaon Tip-Off). But while the Cougars weren't able to get the game to the pace that they prefer they were more than effective in the Marriott Center, turning the ball over jsut six times to nineteen assists in their 81-68 victory.

Four players reached double figures for Dave Rose's team with Jackson Emery and Tyler Haws leading the way with seventeen points apiece. Haws also led the way with eleven rebounds on a night in which Jimmer Fredette was 1-for-13 from the field and Jonathan Tavernari just 2-for-8 off the bench. BYU showed off their versatility and ability to adapt, two qualities that should help them in Mountain West play.  

3. Kansas State gets payback in Manhattan. The last time the Wildcats played Xavier things got out of hand, with the Musketeers ripping KSU to the tune of 103-77 in Cincinnati. And that was a team that included Michael Beasley, but it was also a harbinger of things to come for an Xavier squad that eventually made it to the Elite 8. But sometimes you're the hammer and others the nail, and that was the case on Tuesday night as the Wildcats beat Xavier 71-56.

Jacob Pullen scoerd fourteen second-half points in leading Kansas State with sixteen while Curtis Kelly added 15 points and nine rebounds, but the K-State defense was the story in holding the Musketeers to 29.4% from both the field and from three. The Wildcats have challenged themselves in the non-conference, also playing in Puerto Rico, games that should pay off within the Big 12 as well as a possible NCAA Tournament selection.

Top Three Games

1. Tennessee State 70, Detroit 69 A Hamilton Nash blocked shot saved the victory for the Tigers, who pulled ahead with 25 seconds to go on a Jeremiah Crutcher hoop. Josh Sain led the victors with 25 points and six rebounds.

2. Dayton 56, George Mason 55 Mason nearly stormed back from a brutal first half in which they scored just nineteen points. But thanks to Chris Johnson (14 points) and some timely rebounding the Flyers were able to hang on for dear life. 

3. Illinois 79, Vanderbilt 68 Demetri McCamey led the Fighting Illini with 23 points as Illinois held off a Vanderbilt team that had four player score in double figures. Mike Tisdale and D.J. Richardson combined to add thirty points to the winning effort. 

Three Notable Performances

1. F Justin Rutty (Quinnipiac) Rutty accounted for 30 points and 15 rebounds in the Bobcats' 83-74 loss at Rhode Island. 

2. F Greg Monroe (Georgetown) The sophomore scored 24 points and grabbed fifteen rebounds in the Hoyas' 72065 win over Butler in the Jimmy V Classic. 

3. F Chris Gaston (Fordham) The freshman dropped an impressive line in the Rams' 93-77 win over Stony Brook with 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.