Thompson III's high-scoring Hoyas begin defending Big East title Print
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Thursday, 03 January 2008 13:36
NCAAB Headline News


 WASHINGTON (AP) -Thanks to a teammate's well-set screen, Roy Hibbert found himself behind the 3-point line with nary a defender nearby. Naturally, he let the shot fly.
Really? Hibbert? The 7-foot-2 senior who never had attempted a 3 in college?
Yep, and he hit the basket, too, which makes perfect sense, given how smoothly No. 7 Georgetown's offense is running these days, whether in half-court sets or in transition, with perimeter scoring or by pounding the ball inside.
That versatility should come in handy as the Hoyas (10-1) start defending their Big East regular-season title, playing their conference opener Saturday at Rutgers, followed by a game Tuesday at DePaul.
``We get started now,'' coach John Thompson III said after practice Thursday at McDonough Arena. ``You know what's coming. The opposition knows what's coming. The scouting reports are better. There are no surprises.''
From Thompson to Thompson, from Ewing to Ewing, Georgetown has earned a reputation for tough defense, and this season's team is holding opponents to 55.2 points on 35.2 percent shooting.
But just take a look at what the offense is doing lately.
Georgetown has scored at least 71 points in each of its past five games, averaging 85.6 points in that span. Compare that to the team's first six games, when it reached 71 only once and averaged 66.
``We have offensive personnel such that there's no need for guys to take slightly contested shots,'' Thompson said. ``Because if you pass it to the next guy that's wide open, he's going to make it.''
Check out all of the options.
There's Hibbert, of course, the preseason All-American who is averaging 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds and shooting 62.8 percent.
DaJuan Summers, a 6-8 forward, leads the team at 12.5 points per game, and is making 40 percent of his 3-pointers. The only player on the roster who's made more 3s this season is senior guard Jonathan Wallace, the school's career leader in that category. He's shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 10.3 points.
Jessie Sapp makes 43 percent of his 3s, and freshman Austin Freeman - who will make his second start of the season in place of Patrick Ewing Jr. on Saturday - is at 45 percent. The only member of the starting five not shooting 50 percent or better on all field goals is Sapp, at 47 percent.
More scoring comes from reserves Ewing, Chris Wright, Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers.
``We're a really deep team,'' Hibbert said. ``Coach can go to the bench and pull two, three guys that can score right off the bat.''
Particularly in recent games, the Hoyas have been pushing the ball on the run a lot more, a tactic that's a factor in the increased scoring.
``It gives an extra dimension to our offense, getting teams off balance because a lot of teams expect us to walk the ball up the floor and it gives them time to walk back and set up their defense,'' Wallace said. ``So with us being able to get out a little bit more, it kind of puts pressure on them to make plays or at times overplay.''
When that happens, you can wind up with situations such as the one Hibbert found himself in during Georgetown's 82-55 victory over Fordham on Monday. Sapp's screen helped create plenty of room, and Hibbert got his first career 3-pointer.
``I've been working on that for a while and I thought I had the opportunity,'' Hibbert said. ``I think I heard Coach was like, 'No, no, no!' Then I made it.''
Thompson, however, was not upset with the Big East's preseason player of the year, because it was the right time to try that shot.
Not that he wants Hibbert to stray too far from the paint too often.
``He's not going to take five, six, seven of those a game,'' Thompson said. ``But if people want to lay off Roy and give him that shot, he's going to make ... more than he's going to miss.''
 

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