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Hoyas and Huskies collide in key Big East tilt

The No. 7 Georgetown Hoyas look to keep pacing the Big East Conference as they visit Gampel Pavilion to battle Kevin Ollie's Connecticut Huskies.

Georgetown began its Big East slate with back-to-back losses to Marquette and Pitt, but it followed the poor start with 11 wins in 12 games. The Hoyas notched their ninth win in a row on Saturday as they coasted to a 57-46 victory over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, where the Orange had won 38 straight games. Coach John Thompson III's squad is by no means an offensive juggernaut, as it is second to last in the conference in scoring with 65.0 ppg. However, it has managed to climb inside the top 10 in the national polls by limiting its opposition to 55.7 ppg with very physical play on the defensive end.

Shabazz Napier has been a force for UConn recently, averaging 27.5 ppg while going 11-of-16 from beyond the arc to push the team to back-to-back wins over Cincinnati and DePaul. The two-game winning streak has lifted the Huskies to a 19-7 overall record, which is tremendous considering they were expected to struggle in the program's first season without Jim Calhoun calling the plays in quite some time.

The Hoyas' monumental win over Syracuse was completely powered by their star forward, Otto Porter, who scored 33 of their 57 points to go along with eight rebounds and five steals. Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored a career-high 33 points in the team's previous game versus DePaul, but he went just 1-of-8 from the floor to net seven points in Syracuse as Porter was the only Georgetown player in double figures. With the exception of Porter, the Hoyas went 7-of-35 from the floor. Porter kept the team afloat by making 12 of his 19 field-goal tries, including 5-of-10 from distance. Moses Ayegba provided a spark off the bench with 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Napier is leading UConn's loaded backcourt with 17.2 points and 4.6 assists per game, while the speedy Ryan Boatright chips in 15.2 points and 4.4 assists per outing. Omar Calhoun and Daniels also own double-digit scoring averages to contribute to the Huskies' team average of 71.1 ppg, which is the fifth best mark in the Big East. UConn's allowed average of 65.2 ppg gives it just the 11th lowest scoring defense in the league, but the Huskies are very good at defending the perimeter, holding their opposition to just 30.8 percent efficiency from 3-point range.