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

Georgetown Returns to Big Apple for First Test

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Junior guard Chris Wright, seen here taking a shot as a freshman in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, will lead the Hoyas back to New York to face No. 20 Butler tonight.

In his ode to New York City, Frank Sinatra claims, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” If that is true, then Tuesday night’s contest in the Big Apple might say a lot about Georgetown.

Having made it through their first six games unscathed, the Hoyas head north on Tuesday to take on No. 22 Butler in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game will see the Hoyas play a ranked opponent for the first time this season, in front of a national television audience inside the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” It may only be December, but this has the makings of a big game for the Hoyas.

“I think we’re ready,” junior guard Chris Wright said about Tuesday’s matchup. “We have things we know we have to work on.”

While the Hoyas feel ready, this matchup of Top 25 teams will certainly be their biggest test yet. Georgetown’s six opponents this season have combined for a 21-30 record so far this season. The only team the Hoyas have faced with a winning record was Temple (6-2), a game in which Georgetown needed a last-second basket by sophomore center Greg Monroe to emerge with the victory.

Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III wouldn’t say whether his team was where he had hoped they would be at this point, but he said that they have improved since their season opener at Tulane.

“I don’t know that I’d ever say that we’re where we should be, but we’re getting better and I think we’re a significantly better team today than we were at the start of the season,” he said.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, come in battle-tested, if not battle-proven. A trip to California for the 76 Classic for then-No. 10 Butler ended in disappointment as the Bulldogs lost to then-No. 16 Minnesota and then-No. 19 Clemson. In the loss to Minnesota, the Bulldogs shot a dismal 33.3 percent from the floor, and against Clemson they blew a 12-point second-half lead.

For the season, Butler, a perennial mid-major power from the Horizon League, has shot 42.5 percent from the floor and is led by the duo of sophomore swingman Gordon Hayward and sophomore guard Shelvin Mack. Hayward is averaging 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to lead the Bulldogs, while Mack is second on the team in scoring with 15.1 points.

In its final tuneup before Georgetown, Butler ripped Horizon foe Valparaiso in its conference opener 84-67, and saw five players score in double-digits as they shot 68.8 percent from the field in the second half.

The game marks the first return to the Garden for Georgetown since last year when it dropped two games to St. John’s at the end of the season – one in the regular season, the other in the first round of the Big East tournament – in two of the Hoyas’ worst performances of a lackluster season. This is also the first-ever meeting between Georgetown and Butler, and while the competition is a little better, and the stage a little brighter, Wright says the Hoyas’ mindset will be the same as any other game.

“We approach every game the same way,” he said. “We go out there and play as hard as we can and we don’t worry about the opponent. It doesn’t matter who you play, you still have to go out there and execute. Anybody can beat anybody any given day.”

The mindset may be the same, but the anticipation is definitely high as the Hoyas get a chance to show if they are for real against a ranked team that has made it to three consecutive NCAA tournaments.

“I’m looking forward to it and I know my teammates are,” Monroe said. “We have to go over some things to get ready first, but I think everybody’s looking forward to the trip. Everybody’s ready for the big stage.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Pittsburgh will square off against Indiana in the late game.”

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