- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 29, 2009

With so much attention focused nightly on star center Greg Monroe, the play of his companions will be critical in determining how good Georgetown ultimately can become this season. And Saturday, the Hoyas gave a glimpse of their prowess when firing on all cylinders.

Jason Clark set a career high for the second game in a row with 19 points to lead a balanced attack as No. 18 Georgetown routed Lafayette 97-64 at Verizon Center.

Six players scored in double figures for the Hoyas (4-0), the first time they have done that under coach John Thompson III.

“We have a bunch of guys in that locker room that can score points,” said Thompson, now in his sixth year at Georgetown. “Who scores the points is irrelevant to this group as long we’re taking the right shots.”


The Hoyas did just that for much of the afternoon against a Lafayette team that struggled to match their size and athleticism. Georgetown was both unselfish and efficient, compiling 24 assists on 61 percent shooting.

At the forefront of the onslaught was Clark, a sophomore guard from Arlington who is emerging as a much-needed wingman to Monroe. Clark had little trouble solving Lafayette’s zone, adding five rebounds and six assists to his game-high point total in what he said was his most complete effort to date in a Hoyas uniform.

“He’s playing at a very high level right now, and the game just comes to him,” Thompson said. “He’s very unselfish, and he makes his shots.”

Lafayette (4-2) stuck around for the first 10 minutes thanks to a combination of hot shooting and Georgetown’s futility from the perimeter. Five of the Leopards’ first seven field goals were from beyond the arc, and when a Jared Mintz 3-pointer cut Georgetown’s lead to 20-19 with 10:18 remaining in the half, Thompson called a timeout to talk over his team’s defensive strategy.

The Hoyas switched from man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone, and the Leopards’ upset bid dissolved soon thereafter: The Hoyas outscored them 25-12 to take a comfortable 45-31 lead into halftime that gradually increased until the final buzzer.

That offensive outburst was sparked by redshirt freshman Hollis Thompson, who has emerged as Georgetown’s best option off the bench. Point guard Chris Wright struggled to find his long-range touch, but Thompson was the cure for Lafayette’s zone. The 6-foot-7 forward hit a trio of 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting.

“That’s Hollis. I don’t think he’s shot well in games yet, but today is who he is,” John Thompson said. “He really can put the ball in the basket. He gave us a big boost in the first half.”

Once Lafayette was forced to extend its zone, the paint opened up for Monroe, whose skills proved too much for the Leopards to contend with. When the New Orleans native faced double and sometimes even triple teams, the deft passer was left with several comfortable options: Austin Freeman (12 points) and Wright (14) cutting to the hoop for easy layups or Julian Vaughn (11) wide open on the opposite block.

Monroe finished with his typically even stat line: 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

“It’s fun [to play against a zone], I must admit,” Monroe said. “It’s fun being able to get out there and see openings and hopefully be able to find my teammates getting open to be able to pass to.”