Dec. 8, 2009
NEW YORK CITY - Behind a career-high night from sophomore center Greg Monroe (New Orleans, La./Helen Cox), the No. 15-ranked Georgetown University men's basketball team opened up an 8-point lead at halftime and held on to beat No. 20 Butler, 72-65, during the first game of play at the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. It was the seventh-straight win for the Hoyas, who improved to 7-0 overall, while Butler falls to 6-3.
Monroe scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds to lead the Hoyas, who jumped out to a 39-31 lead at the break, extended the margin to 17 points early in the second half and connected on 78 percent of their free throws en route to the win. Junior guard Austin Freeman (Mitchellville, Md./DeMatha) hit four 3-point field goals and finished with a season-high 18 points.
"You look at the stat sheet and obviously you see the numbers Greg put up," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "But I thought that was a total team effort. It's easy to talk about what Greg and Austin did, but our other guys were huge."
Leading by eight points at the half, Georgetown took its biggest lead of the game, 52-35, when freshman guard Hollis Thompson (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) hit a three-pointer, capping a 13-4 run over the first 6:25 of the second half. Four different players scored during the run, Monroe starting it with a jumper, sophomore guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) hit two free throws, Freeman hit a pair of 3-pointers and Thompson capped it with his three.
The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to get to 52-42 on a field goal from Matt Howard. Monroe was all alone at the other end of the court for a monster dunk to end Georgetown's 4:13 scoreless drought., but Howard made two free throws and Gordon Hayward hit a three to get Butler within 54-47 with 8:37 to go.
A basket from Monroe pushed the lead back to nine points, 60-51, with 5:07 to play and the Hoyas hit 12 of 17 free throws in the final 3:19 to seal the win.
The Hoyas jumped out to a 39-31 lead at the half behind Monroe, who scored 14 points in the opening 20 minutes as the team connected on 53.8 percent of its field goals, 50 percent of its three-pointers and 88.9 percent of its free throws.
Trailing by one points, 11-10, after a three-pointer from Zach Hahn, the Hoyas used a 10-0 run over 3:29 and took a 20-11 lead on a jumper from Freeman. The Bulldogs pulled to within four points, 26-22, on a jumper from Hahn, but a conventional three-point play from Monroe and another basket from the 2009 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year pushed the lead back to 31-22.
Monroe took a career-high 20 shots, hit 6-of-10 free throws and finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Freeman added 18 points, four rebounds and two steals. Clark added nine points, five rebounds and two assists, junior guard Chris Wright (Bowie, Md./St. John's College HS) added seven points, hitting 7-of-8 free throws, four rebounds, four assists and three steals and junior forward Julian Vaughn (Vienna, Va./Oak Hill Academy) finished with four points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
Georgetown finished the game shooting 44.9 percent from the floor (22-of-49), 46.2 percent of its three-pointers (6-of-13) and 78.6 percent of its free throws (22-of-28). The Hoyas held a 43-30 advantage on the boards, had 10 assists, committed 21 turnovers, blocked nine shots and had eight steals.
The Hoyas hit the road tomorrow, traveling to California to play Washington in the John Wooden Classic on Saturday, Dec. 12. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. (ET). The game will be shown live on Fox Sports and can be heard locally on ESPN 980.
"This is a week that was put together by design, it wasn't by accident," Thompson said. "In the Big East we will play a tough game on Tuesday or Wednesday and then another tough one on Saturday. I want our guys to be used to that emotional ride."
The Jimmy V Classic is held annually to raise money for the V Foundation, the cancer research organization founded in the name of the late Jim Valvano.