- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. | As it was defeating a ranked opponent for the second straight game, Georgetown was busy establishing an identity - a markedly different one from the one the Hoyas displayed at the end of last season.

A more cohesive Hoyas group dominated the first six minutes of the second half in a 74-66 victory over No. 17 Washington on Saturday in the first game of the John R. Wooden Classic at Honda Center.

“That was a terrific win against a very good team,” said coach John Thompson III, whose No. 15 Hoyas (8-0) are off to their best start in two years.

Julian Vaughn compiled a career-high 18 points as five Hoyas players scored in double figures. Greg Monroe added 15 points; Chris Wright and Jason Clark each scored 13. Austin Freeman had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“I think the whole group has a lot of chemistry,” Vaughn said. “We keep playing unselfishly. Everyone looks for each other and tries to get the best shot on offense.”

Thompson hopes to use that collective attitude to avoid the 6-14 collapse that followed last season’s 10-1 start.

“We have an extremely unselfish group,” Thompson said. “I think this will be the strength of our team. The whole group realizes that we have many different people who can score and many different options in our offense.”

Georgetown demonstrated its cohesion early in the second half. After taking a 30-29 lead into halftime, the Hoyas began the second half with a 21-2 blitz that resulted in a 51-31 advantage with 13:55 to play.

The Hoyas made nine of their first 10 shots of the half while denying Washington (6-2) any second opportunities.

“We were getting easy shot after easy shot,” Thompson said. “Our guys were extremely attentive to tendencies. We could see and hear them talking to each other about some of the things we had gone over in the scouting report.”

Thompson also expressed pleasure with his defense, which played a pivotal role in Georgetown’s 72-65 win against Butler on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

“For long stretches in both games, our defense was pretty good,” Thompson said. “We made both teams take touch shots. That was our goal. We want the opposition to take tough, contested shots, and I thought we did that.”

The Hoyas’ dominance compounded Washington’s problems.

“We weren’t hustling as much as we were in the first half,” said Huskies forward Quincy Pondexter, who scored a game-high 23 points. “We came out lackadaisical. We were just moving in slow motion, and they beat us on a lot of easy plays.”

But the Huskies used a 15-3 surge to narrow the deficit to 69-63 with 27.4 seconds to play. Georgetown’s only points during a span of 2:50 came from free throws. And Wright made four foul shots within 10 seconds to give the Hoyas a 73-63 lead with 15.7 seconds left.

“We have a long way to go,” Thompson said. “One reason I feel good about this group is that they work hard for each other.”

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