NEW YORK | Georgetown’s Big Easy took a Big Apple-sized bite out of Butler.
Greg Monroe savaged Butler on both ends of the floor Tuesday night in the opening game of the Jimmy V Classic, enjoying a career night to carry No. 15 Georgetown to a 72-65 victory over the 22nd-ranked Bulldogs at Madison Square Garden.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore center from New Orleans finished with career highs in scoring (24 points) and rebounds (15), helping the Hoyas (7-0) overcome a foul-plagued performance and survive a late rally by the Bulldogs (6-3).
Georgetown can match its best start under coach John Thompson III with a victory against No. 17 Washington in the John Wooden Classic on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.
While Monroe dominated the Bulldogs on both ends in the paint, the Hoyas scorched the nets early from outside against Butler’s suspect perimeter defense. Junior swingman Austin Freeman (18 points) made his first four attempts from behind the arc to start the team’s long-range assault, and a 3 by freshman Hollis Thompson with 13:33 remaining gave the Hoyas a 52-35 lead.
But Georgetown could not manage to defend Butler swingman Gordon Hayward (24 points), and the superb sophomore led the Bulldogs back into contention by repeatedly drawing contact and converting from the free throw line. With Hayward leading the way from the line and four Hoyas players ending up with four fouls, the Bulldogs pulled within 60-53 on a pair of free throws from Matt Howard with 4:03 remaining.
But they never truly threatened the Hoyas down the stretch thanks to some stingy defense and timely free throw shooting.