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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Verizon Center (20,600) -- Washington D.C.. Television: Fox Sports 1. Home Record: FIU 5-2, GU 5-0. Away Record: FIU 2-1, GU 0-1. Neutral Record: FIU 1-2, GU 2-2. Conference Record: FIU 0-0, GU 0-0. Series Record: Georgetown leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Georgetown Hoyas return home to the Verizon Center for a non- conference tilt against the FIU Panthers.
FIU will be looking to bounce back from its 85-56 loss to Louisville last week. The setback was the second in three games for the Panthers, who turned the ball over 20 times and went 5-of-17 from beyond the arc against the Cardinals. They were also downed on Dec. 3 by Division II foe Nova Southeastern. Despite the recent lack of success, coach Anthony Evans has done a terrific job overall in his first season at the helm of the program. FIU has compiled an 8-5 record, which includes a 2-1 mark in away games.
John Thompson III's Hoyas have been off since their lopsided, 86-64, setback to Kansas in Lawrence last Saturday. Georgetown had won its previous six games and still owns a 7-3 record through 10 contests. Although the Hoyas are very athletic and have multiple options on the offensive end of the floor, they are ranked just seventh among Big East schools in points per game at 75.3 and are allowing 66.9 ppg to their opposition to rank eighth in the league in scoring defense.
This will be the fourth meeting in history between these schools and the first since the 2008-09 season. Georgetown has won all of its previous encounters with FIU.
The Panthers are led by the forward tandem of Tymell Murphy and Rakeem Buckles, who are providing 16.2 and 14.5 points per game to rank first and second on the team, respectively. Murphy had a solid showing against the defending national champions with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor while Buckles converted only 4-of-17 field goal tries and just 1-of-6 at the free-throw line for 13 points. Buckles also tallied nine rebounds in the recent loss. FIU also has a capable point guard in 5-foot-6 senior Raymond Taylor, who is netting 12.2 points and 6.2 assists per outing.
Markel Starks was the only Georgetown starter who managed to stay out of foul trouble against the Jayhawks last Saturday and finished with a team-high 19 points. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera chipped in 12 points and five assists, while Joshua Smith was limited to five points and failed to grab any rebounds in 19 minutes before fouling out. Nate Lubick was also disqualified with five personal fouls. Smith-Rivera is producing 16.4 ppg to rank eighth among Big East players and Starks also in the top 10 with 16 ppg. The 6-10, 350-pound Smith has added 13.2 points and 3.5 boards per tilt, but is clocking just over 20 minutes per game due to his poor conditioning and frequent foul trouble.
As long as the Hoyas come out with the right mentality, they should coast past the Panthers to an easy win. FIU's reliance on the play of its forwards is not a recipe for success against top tier competition. The Panthers will have trouble keeping pace with Georgetown if they continue to be careless with the ball and inaccurate from 3-point range.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 74, FIU 61
12/28 10:42:59 ET
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