- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Georgetown systematically leveled the Mount.

Playing perhaps their most complete game of the young season, the 16th-ranked Hoyas dispatched Mount St. Mary’s 83-62 behind four double-digit scoring efforts and a balanced outside-inside onslaught.

Just a handful of performances into the season, there is little comparison between the offensively halting Hoyas of last year and this season’s more polished bunch.

“They look more like a cohesive unit this year than last year,” said Mount St. Mary’s coach Milan Brown, whose weaker squad gave the Hoyas a stiffer test in an 11-point defeat last season. “They look like they’re having a lot more fun playing together. … They should win a lot of games.”

The Hoyas (5-0) return to the floor Saturday afternoon against winless American (0-7) for one last relative breather before next Tuesday’s showdown with No. 23 Butler at Madison Square Garden.

A repeat of last season’s chemistry-challenged slide is unlikely if the Hoyas continue to receive superb contributions from first-year starters Julian Vaughn and Jason Clark. Entering the season, consistency was expected from the returning starting trio of sophomore center Greg Monroe and junior backcourt mates Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. That troika certainly has delivered on those expectations to date.

And Monday night, Monroe (19 points, 11 rebounds) led all scorers despite starting 4-for-13 from the field, and Wright (18 points) snapped his short shooting slump by raining in four of five shots from behind the arc.

But the major question marks heading into this season were Clark and Vaughn. The former spent his freshman season looking dazed by the speed and energy of Big East competition. And the latter transferred from Florida State and struggled during his first season on the Hilltop as he learned John Thompson III’s Princeton-based offense.

Just a few short months later, the pair is in the midst of a metamorphosis.

Monday night, that second-year pair provided the difference between a gut-grinder and a rout. Though Monroe might have dominated the box score thanks to five meaningless late field goals, it was the 6-foot-9 Vaughn who provided Georgetown its most consistent option in the pivot on both ends. The junior from Vienna celebrated a slew of career highs against Mount St. Mary’s (3-3) by tossing in 14 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks without a single turnover.

“I thought that Julian was very, very good in terms of his presence, both on the offensive and defensive ends,” Thompson said. “With both Julian and Jason you are seeing the growth and development that comes in a player’s second season in the system.”

Clark did his best work on the defensive end, helping Wright limit the Mount’s potential All-NEC backcourt of Jeremy Goode and Jean Cajou to just eight total points after intermission.

After a smooth first half that included the Hoyas cruising to a 40-29 lead behind 53.1 percent shooting, Georgetown blew open the game in the minutes immediately following the break behind a slew of steals and transition buckets.

Keyed by the defensive prowess of Clark - who had 12 points and four steals, and continues to torment Georgetown opponents at the top of the team’s zone - the Hoyas bolted to a 51-31 edge with 15:57 remaining behind a 9-0 run. Just two days removed from a career-high 19-point performance against Lafayette, Clark contributed two steals and five points during the mini-run that effectively ended the game.

• Barker Davis can be reached at bdavis@washingtontimes.com.

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