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

Hoyas to Wrestle With Wildcats

HOOPS PREVIEW Hoyas to Wrestle With Wildcats By Stephen Owens Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior point guard Kevin Braswell was defended by Notre Dame freshman point guard Chris Thomas last Saturday. Tomorrow he will face Villanova’s junior Gary Buchanan.

With five regular season games and a Big East tournament looming before its postseason fate is determined, the Georgetown men’s basketball team (15-8, 6-5) is in desperate need of a strong finish to propel themselves into the coveted field of 65 next month. Winners in three of their last four games, the momentum might just be in their favor. On the other hand, the loss that severed the winning streak – a quadruple overtime loss to Notre Dame last weekend – ripped their hearts out. And while a road win over mediocre Seton Hall squad on Tuesday showed some resilience on the part of the Hoyas, tomorrow’s game at Villanova will be a true test of the Hoyas’ resolve.

Like the Hoyas, the Wildcats (13-9, 4-7) have had an up-and-down season that has landed them on the NCAA tournament’s bubble. They have quality wins over NCAA tournament locks Notre Dame and UCLA, and with the exception of an overtime loss to La Salle in November, the Wildcats don’t have any notably bad losses. The Wildcats’ downfall, however, has been their performance within the Big East conference, especially as of late. Excluding two wins against hapless Virginia Tech, Villanova has dropped seven Big East games in a row after starting out 2-0 in the conference.

For Villanova, tomorrow’s game caps a brutal five-game stretch that included games against three nationally ranked teams (Pittsburgh, Miami and UCLA), Big East divisional leader Connecticut and now Georgetown. The Wildcats have dropped three of their last four, most recently a 46-40 loss to the Huskies that came within a point of setting the Big East record for combined scoring futility. Ironically, the game occurred two days after Georgetown and Notre Dame shattered the Big East record for total points scored in a game, combining for 227 points.

The Wildcats are led by junior guard Gary Buchanan, a member of the preseason All-Big East Second Team. Buchanan is third among conference guards in shooting percentage (.449) and seventh in the conference in scoring (18.6 ppg). He has led the Wildcats in scoring six games in a row and 11 times this season. Additionally, he is the Big East’s top free throw shooter (.910) and three point shooter (.462).

Complementing Buchanan, the Wildcats have a strong frontcourt led by senior Brooks Sales and junior Ricky Wright, both of whom are among the top eight in the Big East in rebounding. Wright is second in the conference in shooting percentage (.560) behind Georgetown’s Mike Sweetney (.584).

The game between the Hoyas and Wildcats features the Big East’s top scoring team in Georgetown and one of its best defenses in Villanova. It also features the league’s top rebounding team (Georgetown) and the league’s top three point shooting team (Villanova).

Due to the markedly different styles of play between the two teams, expect both to attempt to control the game’s tempo from the outset. Whichever team prevails in this aspect should have a distinct advantage throughout the game.

Villanova enters the contest riding a three-game winning streak over Georgetown, including last year’s 59-56 victory. The Hoyas lead the all-time regular season series 24-14.

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