- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008

Posting its first tip-to-whistle domination of the month, No. 12 Georgetown authored a 73-53 smothering of Cincinnati on Saturday at the Verizon Center to momentarily reclaim command of the Big East regular season race.

With a rare post-weekend respite before Wednesday’s home date with St. John’s, the Hoyas (22-4, 12-3 Big East) undoubtedly will be watching the rest of today’s matchups featuring top challengers Louisville (21-6, 11-3) and Notre Dame (20-5, 10-3). The fourth team in the stretch-run title mix, Connecticut (21-6, 10-4) had its 10-game winning streak snapped this afternoon at Villanova (67-65).

If the Hoyas continue to defend the way they did against the Bearcats (13-13, 8-6), they might not need any outside help to earn a repeat regular-season crown.

“They are by far the best defensive team we’ve played all year,” said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin after his Bearcats committed 18 turnovers and shot just 36.4 percent from the field against the Hoyas. “It’s very, very hard to get an open shot. And they when we did get an open shot, we didn’t even hit the rim a couple of times. But I think that’s a byproduct of how hard you have to work to get a shot against their defense.”

Georgetown entered the game leading the nation in field goal percentage defense (.360) and turned in perhaps an even more impressive performance than the stat sheet might indicate. Setting the tone for the blowout, the Hoyas harassed Cincy’s every breath over the game’s opening 7:00.

With Georgetown paying special attention to sophomore gunner Deonta Vaughn (13 points, four turnovers), Cincinnati’s first 12 possessions produced just one field goal while yielding two shot-clock violations, four Georgetown blocks (three by senior center Roy Hibbert), four errant 3-point attempts and three turnovers.

“Vaughn is a dangerous scorer, so we didn’t want to give him any looks without a hand in his face,” said junior guard Jessie Sapp (16 points, four steals), who teamed with sophomore stopper Jeremiah Rivers to blanket Vaughn in the Hoyas’ man-to-man sets.

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