Following an extended break, the 15th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas finally get back on the hardwood on Saturday, as they begin their Big East schedule with a trip to Milwaukee to take on Marquette.
The Hoyas has won seven straight games and 10 of their first 11 overall. The lone loss came against then top-ranked Indiana on Nov. 20 (82-72 OT). The team has been idle since Dec. 22, after recording a 65-48 win over American University.
The Golden Eagles opened the 2013 portion of their schedule in thrilling fashion, outlasting Connecticut in the team's conference opener 82-76 in overtime. The win was the third straight for Marquette which comes in at 10-3 overall. Marquette has won 17 straight games at the Bradley Center, tied for the sixth longest active streak in the nation.
Georgetown holds a narrow 7-6 advantage in the all-time series with Marquette. The Golden Eagles won the last matchup, an 83-69 decision last March.
Georgetown isn't going to blow anyone's doors off with gaudy offensive numbers. The team is averaging a modest 66.6 ppg this year, but does so efficiently, converting 46.3 percent from the floor. Defense has been the key to Georgetown's strong start, as the Hoyas rank ninth nationally in points allowed at a mere 54.7 ppg. The team has a productive one-two punch in the frontcourt in forwards Otto Porter (13.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Greg Whittington (12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Porter is a versatile player, who not only leads the team in scoring and rebounding, but also in steals (22), while dishing out 3.2 assists per game. Markel Starks (11.1 ppg) gives the team backcourt balance, as the third Hoya currently averaging double figures.
The Hoyas were red-hot in the first half, converting 55.6 percent of their shots (15-of-27) en route to a 40-25 advantage at the break against American. The team cooled off over the final 20 minutes (.320 shooting), but was able to earn the win by holding American to a meager .286 shooting. Porter had a big game, recording a double-double with team-highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Whittington added 13 points in the win.
Marquette's first 3-pointer came at the most opportune time, as Junior Cadougan's triple at the buzzer forced overtime against UConn, a game in which the Golden Eagles won with impressive play in the extra session. Marquette received 18 points from both Cadougan and Davante Gardner in the game. Vander Blue joined them in double figures with 13 points.
Marquette is a lot like the Hoyas in regard to their scoring. The team is shooting an impressive 47.3 percent from the floor, although it has resulted in a rather mediocre 71.3 ppg. Blue leads three Golden Eagles in double figures with 13.3 ppg. Gardner and Cadougan round out the top offensive threats at 12.9 and 10.2 ppg, respectively. In addition to his scoring, Cadougan is also a deft distributor, leading the team with 4.6 apg. The bench has been a real strength for Marquette, as the team's reserves are averaging 32.1 ppg (eighth nationally), while shooting .521 from the floor.