Marquette challenges Georgetown in pivotal Big East matchup

The Georgetown Hoyas will be out for a revenge in a Big East Conference rematch against the Marquette Golden Eagles when the two powerhouse squads meet up at the Verizon Center.

Back on Jan. 5 these teams were matched up in Milwaukee early on in the Big East Conference schedule. In that bout Marquette pulled out a 49-48 victory on its home floor. The win evened the all-time series between the two squads at seven games apiece.

Though teams like Syracuse and Louisville have reached the very top of the national rankings it is Marquette that has a share of the top spot in the Big East at 8-2 in league play. The Golden Eagles have earned back-to-back wins coming into this contest after downing DePaul, 89-78, on Saturday. Marquette is 17-5 overall, but has fared much better at home (13-0) than on the road (2-4). Up next Marquette will host another premier program when Pittsburgh comes to the Bradley Center.

After stumbling to begin league play with three losses in its first five matchups in the Big East, Georgetown has really turned it on with wins in five straight contests. At 7-3 in conference action the Hoyas are just a game behind Marquette and Syracuse for the top spot in the Big East standings. Overall Georgetown is 17-4, including a strong 12-1 mark at home. Georgetown also gets another conference contender when it visits Cincinnati next time out.

Five players scored in double figures led by 18 points from Vander Blue, as the Golden Eagles shot at a 56.4 percent clip in the win over DePaul. The Golden Eagles had twice as many assists (18) as turnovers (9) and outscored the Blue Demons 50-30 in the paint and 15-9 in second-chance points.

Blue (15.0 ppg) has been a dynamic scorer for Marquette this season and one of only two players on the roster averaging in double figures. Davante Gardner (12.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is the other as he has been one of the best options off the bench not only in the Big East but the country overall. Junior Cadougan (9.0 ppg, 4.3 apg) can score when need be but has made more of an impact by setting up his teammates. Marquette won't blow anyone out of the water with their offensive firepower as they score a respectable 70.1 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting. On the defensive end the Golden Eagles are holding foes to 62.6 points a game on 40.5 percent shooting.

Led by a double-double from Otto Porter (19 points, 14 rebounds) and a team- high 20 points from Markel Starks, Georgetown was able to hold off Rutgers last time out. The Hoyas yet again fed the ball inside as much as possible, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 34-18 in the paint.

Georgetown is definitely a team built from the inside out, led by Porter (15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg), who is tied for second in the conference in rebounds. Georgetown doesn't blow by anyone offensively, though it is an efficient unit on that end. The Hoyas are shooting at a 46.3 percent rate on the season, but score the second fewest points per game (64.4) in the Big East. On defense the Hoyas have been extremely tough, holding teams to just 55.7 points per game on 37.6 percent shooting. Both of those marks are among the top 15 nationally. Starks (12.2 ppg) is the best player roaming the perimeter. Nate Lubick (7.4 ppg, 5,.2 rpg) has not been a prolific scorer but a rather efficient one, as he finishes off 63.7 percent of his shots from the field.