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

Monroe Saves the Day at Both Ends for Hoyas

As Temple senior guard Luis Guzman dribbled effortlessly down the right side of the court with junior guard Austin Freeman close on his left hip, it looked like it was déjà vu all over again. A late-game collapse, this time very late, seemed possible, until Greg Monroe stepped in. As Guzman went up for a runner, the sophomore center stepped up, forcing a jump ball, giving possession and the game to Georgetown.

onroe could only grin a big smile pointing in the same direction as the possession arrow, as No. 20 Georgetown (2-0), eight months removed from the stench of last season, pulled out a close game at the end in a 46-45 win over Temple (1-1) in front of 8,712 fans at Verizon Center. Georgetown was led by its big three, Monroe, who had 11 points, Freeman with 10 points, and junior guard Chris Wright, who led all scorers with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

“We definitely [were] in these types of situation last year and I think [with the] growth of this team we’re definitely not going to lose these games this year,” Monroe said.

It was Monroe, moments earlier, who gave the Hoyas the go ahead basket. An offensive set with just under one minute to play featured a forced three by Wright at the end of the shot clock after 32 seconds of perimeter passing by the Hoyas giving the Owls the ball back. Sophomore guard Ramone Moore couldn’t convert on his one-and-one opportunity from the free throw line – as a team the Owls shot just 6-of-13 from the charity strip in the game – giving Georgetown another chance.

With 17.2 to play, Wright found Monroe on the right elbow. With all his passing lanes cut off, and Owls’ junior forward Lavoy Allen playing him hard to his left, the south paw showed an assertiveness scarcely seen last season, turning and taking it with his right, driving the lane and putting in a layup for the lead with 6.5 seconds to go.

“I was playing him to his left hand,” said Allen, who was the only Owl to reach double-digits with 12 points and 14 boards en route to a double-double. “I was playing him a little too much. He’s great player so he read it and went to his right and he scored the ball.”

Tipping off at the odd starting time of 4 p.m. as part of ESPN’s 24 hours of basketball, both teams looked sluggish early, managing only a 6-3 score in the first nine minutes of play.

Temple, employing Head Coach Fran Dunphy’s methodical offense and tenacious man-to-man defense, slowed the game down, stretching countless possessions to the bitter end of the 35 second shot clock on both sides of the court and forcing the Hoyas into turnovers on their offensive end.

“They put you to sleep,” said Head Coach John Thompson III, who vied for Ivy League titles with Dunphy while he was at Princeton and Dunphy was at Penn. “I talked about it a lot going into this game with our guys. At the offensive end and at the defensive end we have to be ready to guard at the defensive end for 35 seconds.”

Georgetown had eight turnovers in the first half (16 overall for the game) surpassing its seven field goals in the first 20 minutes.

A combination of good defense and poor shooting by both squads in the first half saw Georgetown shoot 30.4 percent from the floor and Temple an even worse 19.2 percent.

Things weren’t much better from long range where both teams shot 10 percent in the first half. Georgetown ended up at 16.7 percent to Temple’s 13 percent.

“I thought we had some decent looks, I thought they had some decent looks,” Dunphy said. “We made a poor choice on a switch in the first half and they had a wide open jumper in front of us. It might have been Freeman who’s a very good jump shooter, he just didn’t make the shot.”

Credit also goes to a Georgetown defense that is both strong and athletic.

“I think this group will be a very good defensive team,” Thompson said. “I don’t know how it compares and contrasts with a few years ago, but this will be a very good defensive team.”

Against a Temple frontcourt that stood at 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-11 with Allen and sophomore forward Michael Eric, the Hoyas fell two short on the glass with 36 boards to the Owls’ 38, which included 12 offensive boards.

Coming out of the intermission, Georgetown asserted their will in the early going, opening with an 8-2 run highlighted by a great feed from Monroe to Wright for a layup. Wright would hit a trey from the corner before Dunphy called timeout to stop the bleeding.

It was then that the two-time defending Atlantic 10 Tournament Champions showed their mettle with a 24-6 run over the next 10:05 to take a 39-33 lead on a three-pointer by senior guard Ryan Brooks with 6:53 to go in the game. Brooks, who had 23 points in a season-opening win over Delaware, was limited to just six points on 2-of-14 shooting.

With momentum leaning towards Temple, a team that can drain a clock in hurry, Monroe took the ball down the right baseline for a tough layup on the next possession, drawing contact and the foul.

The self-described laid back sophomore couldn’t help but give a smile while nodding his head while he sat on the hardwood. Luckily for the Hoyas he was only getting started.

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