Hoyas Struggling Lately

A strong effort by Roy Hibbert helped Georgetown bounce back from its first conference loss the last time out.

On Monday night, the preseason All-American will try to help the No. 5 Hoyas avoid a third straight defeat to Big East rival Syracuse when the teams meet at the Verizon Center.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Georgetown -12 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Georgetown -12 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Georgetown (14-2, 4-1) won 84-65 at home over Notre Dame on Saturday in its first game since falling at then-No. 15 Pittsburgh last Monday. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, added five assists and was largely responsible for holding Notre Dame's top scorer, Luke Harangody, to 13 points - his second-lowest total of the season.

Hibbert was a major presence after scoring only 12 points against Pitt. His aggressiveness in the paint contributed to Harangody's foul trouble and allowed the rest of Hoyas feed off his energy.

"He's probably gotten to be a more cruel competitor, and I mean that as a compliment,'' Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "He's gotten crueler at going for the jugular when he's got somebody down. He's a very talented player.''

Hibbert will try to do the same to Syracuse (13-6, 3-3), which despite having lost three of its last four Big East contests, has won seven of the last eight against the Hoyas.

Hibbert has reached the 20-point mark in two of his last three games, but he's averaging just 8.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in four career games versus the Orange. He had six points and two boards in the then-No. 9 Hoyas' 72-58 road loss to Syracuse on Feb. 26 in the most recent meeting.

"Georgetown is a tough team, we're going to be known as a tough team, and I have to be at the forefront of that,'' Hibbert said.

Even if Hibbert isn't able to improve his numbers against Syracuse, he should get some support against the banged-up Orange.

Georgetown's DaJuan Summers had 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds Saturday, while freshman Austin Freeman scored 16 for the Hoyas, who shot 52.8 percent and held the Irish to 32.8 percent from the field.

Summers and reserve Patrick Ewing Jr. each had 10 points for Georgetown in last season's upset loss to Syracuse.

The Orange weren't ranked in their last two victories over a Top 25 Georgetown team, including a 58-57 win in the 2006 Big East tournament.

With only eight scholarship players and star guard Eric Devendorf out for the season with a knee injury, Syracuse may have a tough time snapping Georgetown's 15-game home winning streak. The Orange, however, have won two of the last three road games against the Hoyas, most recently in February 2004. They lost 68-53 in the most recent matchup at Georgetown on Feb. 25, 2006.

"It is going to be a tough physical game," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team has lost three straight Big East road games. "They are one of the best teams in the country and it is going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We have one day to get ready for them."

Syracuse was unable to hold a five-point halftime lead and fell 81-71 at home to then-No. 25 Villanova on Saturday. Freshman Jonny Flynn had 23 points, one game after scoring 24 in an 81-59 win over Rutgers on Wednesday.

Arinze Onuaku added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Orange, who shot a season-low 18.8 percent (3-for-16) from 3-point range and had two players foul out. It was the 6-9 sophomore's sixth double-double of the season.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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