- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The parquet at Louisville henceforth might be known as Denny Crum Court. But last night the floor at Freedom Hall belonged to Georgetown’s post pairing of Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green.

After watching the school dedicate its court to the longtime Louisville mentor, Hibbert and Green connected on 16 of 20 field goal attempts and combined for 36 points and 18 rebounds to carry No. 22 Georgetown to a 73-65 victory over the Cardinals before a frustrated full house of 20,003.

By posting its sixth straight victory, Georgetown further improved its burgeoning NCAA tournament chances. The win sets up a Saturday showdown at Verizon Center between the Hoyas (17-5, 7-2 Big East) and No. 11 Marquette (21-4, 8-2) for second place in the conference race.

“It’s no time to relax or gloat, because it doesn’t get any easier Saturday with a terrific Marquette team coming in,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said after his squad collected its first single-digit victory of the season. “But we definitely are settling into a groove.”

Last night that rhythm was obvious from the outset as the Hoyas put on an offensive clinic in the first half, committing only two turnovers and finishing with only five empty possessions to build a 38-31 lead.

The lead ballooned to as much as 13 points (52-39) midway through the second half as Hibbert and Green shredded the Louisville zone from within and overwhelmed the Cardinals’ ballyhooed frontcourt of David Padgett, Juan Palacios and Terrence Williams. The trio finished 5-for-29 from the field.

“I just wanted to be as dominant as I could,” the 7-foot-2, 283-pound Hibbert (20 points, 11 rebounds) said after posting his second double-double in the team’s last three games. “They played a lot of 2-3 zone against us, and I was open a lot on the baseline. My teammates did a great job finding me, and we answered all their runs.”

Georgetown dismantled the Louisville zone in textbook fashion, with Green (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) flashing to the high post and rising for a quick jumper, dumping to Hibbert or whipping the ball back out to an open shooter.

“We just couldn’t stop their big guys,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said after the first meeting between the teams since the Cardinals (16-8, 6-4 Big East) joined the league last season. “They’ve got two potential lottery picks down there in Hibbert and Green who are almost impossible to stop. And when they go 16 of 20 from the field, you’re not going to beat them.”

In spite of the lopsided frontcourt matchup, the Cardinals maintained contact with the Hoyas thanks to a program-record one turnover and a steady stream of 3-pointers, pulling within five (52-47) with 6:17 courtesy of an 8-0 run sparked by freshman forward Earl Clark (14 points).

At that point, another Georgetown frontcourt performer stepped into the spotlight. After a rocky performance over the first 34 minutes, DaJuan Summers (13 points, six rebounds, four assists) erupted.

Playing perhaps the best basketball of his freshman season, particularly given the hostile environment and the late-game situation, Summers responded to the Louisville mini-run with a superb four-minute stretch of his own. On three of Georgetown’s next four possessions, Summers hit two 3-pointers and made a brilliant touch pass to Hibbert for a dunk to give the Hoyas a 63-53 lead with 2:10 remaining that basically sealed the victory.

“To be perfectly honest, they were a much better basketball team than us,” Pitino said. “We could play them 10 times, and they’d probably win nine. That’s a very, very good team. The rankings are a little skewed. There are not 20 teams in the country better than Georgetown. They are a top seven or eight team in the country, no question.”