Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DePaul Set to Visit D.C.

Georgetown will deal with two sets of demons at Verizon Center Wednesday night. As they look to beat back the DePaul Blue Demons, the Hoyas will try to steer clear of the demons that have haunted them at times this season – turnovers and second-half scoring droughts.

Though the Hoyas have lost five games this season, they have only trailed at halftime once, at Pittsburgh on Jan. 13. Georgetown (13-5, 3-2 Big East) will likely need a solid second half to put away DePaul (12-8, 3-3), a team that has proven itself capable of pulling off upsets.

Head Coach Jerry Wainwright’s squad stunned then-No. 8 Kansas 64-57 on Dec. 2 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Kansas, considered a national title contender, went on to win 10 straight games before losing to Texas Tech on Saturday. On Jan. 6, DePaul carried out an impressive 73-65 win at Villanova, a team that defeated Georgetown 56-52 two weeks ago and has since upset No. 22 Notre Dame and then-No. 23 Texas.

The Blue Demons, however, have been inconsistent this season and are coming off a 59-50 loss to Louisville last Saturday. DePaul shot just 35.2 percent from the field and made only three of 15 three-point attempts in the game.

The Hoyas, on the other hand, have been surging ever since the start of the second half at Pittsburgh. Georgetown outscored the No. 9 team in the nation 37-33 in the second period and went on to overwhelm Rutgers 68-54 last Wednesday and Seton Hall 74-58 last Friday.

Though Georgetown handily defeated Seton Hall, Head Coach John Thompson III said after the game that the Hoyas need to do a better job of taking care of the ball. Georgetown committed 21 turnovers, while the Pirates had 12.

The Hoyas were able to make up for their turnover deficit by dominating the glass against Seton Hall, but they will not possess a similar height advantage against DePaul. Sophomore forward Wilson Chandler, the Blue Demons’ leading scorer with 15 points per game, stands at 6-foot-8, and senior center Keith Butler is 7-foot-1. DePaul’s leading rebounder, senior guard Sammy ejia, creates match-up problems with his 6-foot-6 frame. Mejia is averaging 14.4 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game on the season.

Butler’s play will likely be important for the Blue Demons on Wednesday night. He made just his third start of the season on Saturday against Louisville, but went 4-for-5 from the field and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. If Butler is unable to contain 7-foot-2 junior center Roy Hibbert, the Blue Demons’ second-tallest option is 6-foot-9 junior center Wesley Green.

DePaul’s lineup features four capable three-point shooters. Junior forward Karron Clarke, who is the fourth-highest scorer at 7.7 points per game, leads the team with a .409 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Chandler, Mejia and 6-foot-4 junior guard Draelon Burns, who averages 9.4 points per game, will also test the Hoyas’ perimeter defense.

DePaul was picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason coaches’ poll. The Blue Demons went 5-11 in conference play and 12-15 overall last year, including a 64-44 home loss to Georgetown on Jan. 31. They are 3-4 in away games this season.

If the Blue Demons find themselves ahead in a close game in the final minute on Wednesday, Wainwright might be smart to take all of his best players out of the game. DePaul’s four leading scorers – Chandler, Mejia, Burns and Clarke – all shoot below 61 percent from the free throw line.

However, if the Hoyas’ performances this season are any indication, the Blue Demons do not have to worry about losing a close game. All 13 of Georgetown’s wins have been by at least 10 points.

Wednesday’s opening tip is set for 7:30 p.m. at Verizon Center. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

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