Lafayette (4-1) at (18) Georgetown (3-0)
Saturday, November 28th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: MCI Center (20,600) -- Washington, D.C. Television: MASN. Home Record: Lafayette 2-0, Georgetown 1-0. Away Record: Lafayette 2-1, Georgetown 2-0. Neutral Record: Lafayette 0-0, Georgetown 0-0. Conference Record: Lafayette 0-0, Georgetown 0-0. Series Record: Georgetown leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: Despite a solid start to the season, the Lafayette Leopards face a tall task as they pull into Washington, D.C. to tangle with the 18th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas.
Lafayette is 4-1 for the first time since 2003-04 when the team streaked out to a 6-1 start before settling in for an 18-10 campaign. The Leopards have won three in a row, taking out the likes of St. Francis-PA (88-77), NJIT (69-52) and Hartford (86-82) -- not exactly the caliber of opponent they will face this afternoon in Georgetown. Lafayette last beat a ranked opponent on December 2, 1978 when it upset No. 6 Rutgers, 77-70.
Georgetown is a perfect 3-0 on the young season, beating Tulane (74-58), Temple (46-45) and Savannah State (63-44) to kick things off. Georgetown, which hasn't shown its full potential yet, has the talent to put up a fuss in the Big East Conference this year. While the Temple game was close, the Hoyas won't face another tough team until taking on Butler on December 8th. This is the first of three straight Georgetown will play at home.
The Hoyas own an 8-5 advantage in the all-time series between these two teams, and they have won three of the last four meetings. It has, however, been 30 years since they last met, that game during the 1979-80 season resulting in a 65-60 GU victory.
Lafayette is averaging a solid 78.8 ppg on the strength of 51.5 percent shooting from the field. Just over 40 percent of the team's three-point tries have found the bottom of the net, and the Leopards are converting nearly 76 percent of their free throws. At the other end of the court, foes are hitting their field goals 47.5 percent of the time, with the three-point shot dropping at an alarming 43.6 percent rate. Jared Mintz (18.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) leads four Leopards in double digits, and he is a superb 68.8 percent accurate from the floor thus far. Super-sub Jim Mower (12.6 ppg, team-high 10 treys), along with starters Ryan Willen (10.6 ppg) and Jeff Kari (10.6 ppg, team-high 14 assists) have all performed well. As good as the opposition has been at hitting its field goals, the exact opposite is true of their effort at the foul line where they have converted just 59.4 percent to this point. Mintz has led the team in scoring in four of the five games, and is coming off a his second double- double of the season as he logged 18 points and 10 rebounds against Hartford. In that clash, Lafayette opened a 22-point lead in the first half, but had to hold on down the stretch to earn the 86-82 victory.
Defense has been the name of the game for Georgetown in its first three outings, as the Hoyas are yielding just 49.0 ppg on average shooting performances of 33.3 percent overall and only 18.2 percent from three-point range. Like their counterpart today, the Hoyas boast four double-digit scorers, with standout center Greg Monroe leading the way with his 14.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. The backcourt trio of Austin Freeman (12.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Chris Wright (12.3 ppg) and Jason Clark (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) have all performed well in the early going, helping the team put up 61.0 ppg on the strength of a field goal percentage of .479 and an average rebounding edge of +8.3. The only negatives to what GU has done thus far is the fact that it turns the ball more than 15 times per game, and is hitting its free throws a poor 57.1 percent of the time. While the opposition was certainly inferior, the Hoyas put forth maximum effort at both ends of the floor in their recent rout of Savannah State, shooting 53.1 percent from the field, including a 7- of-13 effort from downtown, while limiting the Tigers to just 27.1 percent FG efficiency, which included a dismal 3-of-14 showing on three-pointers. Georgetown shot just 4-of-12 from the charity stripe, but powered its way to victory behind a 40-24 rebounding advantage.
Control Mintz and the Leopards lose some of their swagger. Expect the Hoyas to put the clamps on defensively, and for Monroe and co. to do enough at the offensive end to keep their perfect record intact.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 73, Lafayette 62
11/28 10:32:24 ET