- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 11, 2007

Georgetown’s frontcourt duo of Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green continued its recent romp through the Big East yesterday, propelling the Hoyas to their seventh straight victory, a 76-58 win over Marquette yesterday in front of 17,867 at Verizon Center.

Three days after combining for 38 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Louisville, Green and Hibbert took over down the stretch against the Golden Eagles. Green (24 points, five rebounds and four assists) and Hibbert (23 points, 11 rebounds) teamed up to score 17 straight points during a six-minute run in the second half.

“I thought that was a pretty good stretch,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, whose Hoyas (18-5, 8-2) marked the school’s centennial celebration with a signature win over the 11th-ranked Golden Eagles (21-5, 8-3). “We are getting better, and our guys definitely have a comfort level now with how we want to ‘skin the cat’ so to say.”

The Hoyas have beaten teams by 15.6 points a game during their winning streak to claim sole possession of second place in the Big East behind Pittsburgh. And though the road ahead doesn’t get much easier with West Virginia (19-5, 7-4) visiting Verizon Center tomorrow fresh off an upset victory over No. 2 UCLA, few teams in the nation can boast similar momentum and confidence.

“We’re never satisfied, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely,” Hibbert said after his third double-double in the team’s last four games. “It’s February at Georgetown. It’s our time. It’s Georgetown’s time.”

Playing in front of about 150 former players there for the centennial festivities, the Hoyas traded baskets with Marquette for the better part of the opening 30 minutes. Despite leading throughout, they failed to pull away from the Golden Eagles.

Interestingly, Marquette’s primary weapon on the day wasn’t all-conference point guard Dominic James (six points) or fellow sophomore Jerel McNeal (11 points). Both experienced abysmal shooting days thanks mainly to the defensive help of Georgetown’s front line of Hibbert, Green and DaJuan Summers (10 points, five rebounds).

Instead, Marquette’s only consistent offense was a brand of dump-and-chase, brick-and-board basketball all too familiar to Georgetown fans of the elder Thompson generation.

James and McNeal repeatedly drove past their primary perimeter defenders, drew help from Georgetown’s frontline, and threw up wild shots, leaving unheralded Marquette pivot jumping jack Ousmane Barro (14 points, 12 rebounds) to take advantage of the otherwise-committed Georgetown big men to clean up with a putback basket.

It wasn’t pretty. But it was effective.

Barro scored his last points of the game from the free throw line with 10:28 left, pulling the Golden Eagles within 48-44 of the Hoyas.

From that point forward, Green and Hibbert put an end to the madness by completely, utterly taking charge of the proceedings.

Taking turns punishing the smaller Golden Eagles, whose only serviceable big man was the tiring 6-foot-10 Barro, Green and Hibbert rattled off 17 straight points on Georgetown’s next eight possessions, staking the Hoyas to a 65-54 lead with 3:59 left. The final hoop in the sequence was perhaps the prettiest, as Georgetown guard Jessie Sapp separated from James with a between-the-legs dribble before bouncing a perfect backdoor feed to Green for a scoop bucket. The 6-3 McNeal drew his fourth foul in a futile attempt to block the bigger Green, leading to a three-point play.

On Marquette’s next possession, Hibbert put the an exclamation point on the Hoyas’ dominance, swatting McNeal’s runner off the backboard. The frustrated McNeal mauled Summers going after the rebound, fouling out in the process and sending the Georgetown freshman to the line for a pair of free throws that put the Hoyas up 13 points.

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