- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

Bring on the Mountaineers.

No. 15 Georgetown prepped for its showdown with No. 9 West Virginia by overpowering St. John’s 64-41 last night at MCI Center.

The scorching Hoyas (17-4, 8-2 Big East) will look to make the league-leading Mountaineers (17-5, 8-1) their eighth consecutive victim Sunday night.

Georgetown has spent all season impressing with coach John Thompson III’s Princeton-based motion offense. Last night, the Hoyas showcased a little old school blue and gray defense, absolutely smothering St. John’s (10-11, 3-7) with an extended matchup zone defense that left the Red Storm with a season-low offensive output that could have been even worse had Thompson not cleared his bench down the stretch.

“I thought our defense was very, very good tonight,” said Thompson after watching his squad hold St. John’s to 32.7 percent shooting. “We did a very good job of covering for one another tonight. … They have a lot of guys who can score, and we really limited their good looks.”

That’s an almost comical understatement. The Red Storm’s 41 points were the fewest allowed by a Georgetown team against a Big East opponent since 1984 (Providence, 59-38).

Georgetown opened the game on a 17-4 run, inducing misses on nine of the Red Storm’s first 10 shots from the field. And after a slight lull late in the half left the Hoyas leading just 30-18 at intermission, Georgetown cranked up the energy on the defensive end once again to start the second.

Leaving no doubt as to either their intensity or the game’s outcome, the Hoyas began the second half on an 18-2 run, claiming 48-20 lead on a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Jeff Green with 12:19 remaining.

“That was our worst game by far,” St. John’s forward Lamont Hamilton said.

And the outcome could have been far worse had Thompson not dipped beneath his seven-man rotation over the final 3:18. When Georgetown’s regulars left the floor at that point, the Hoyas were leading 64-32 and St. John’s was shooting just 28.9 percent from the field.

Offensively, there was little that didn’t click for the Hoyas against the floundering Red Storm. Georgetown’s 16 assists on just 22 field goals basically tells the story. But senior forward Brandon Bowman (16 points) and sophomore center Roy Hibbert (14 points, eight rebounds) were particularly impressive.

Continuing his evolution away from a player who routinely made bad decisions and took poor shots, Bowman’s choices were near-flawless against the Red Storm, resulting in a 7-for-9 night from the field.

And the 7-foot-2 Hibbert, who endured one of his worst games of the season a month ago in Georgetown’s 79-65 victory at St. John’s (four points, four rebounds), exacted a measure of revenge against Hamilton and Red Storm center Aaron Spears. He outscored (14-10) and outrebounded (8-3) the two of them by himself, dominating the pair on both ends.

“I think he was a little revved up, because they outplayed him up [at Madison Square Garden],” Thompson said. “I think this may have been one of Roy’s best games. He scored. He rebounded out of his area. He was a presence defensively. And his activity was excellent.”

The Hoyas have the chance to dole out a little more payback Sunday against the Mountaineers. In their last real poor outing of the season, the Hoyas blew a double-digit lead in a 68-61 loss at West Virginia on Jan. 11.

“We feel like we kind of gave one away there,” Bowman said. “So, yeah, we’ll be kind of hyped to see them.”

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