American University (4-7) at (15) Georgetown (9-1)
Saturday, December 22, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (18,277) -- Washington, D.C. Television: MASN. Home Record: American 2-2, Georgetown 7-0. Away Record: American 2-5, Georgetown 0-0. Neutral Record: American 0-0, Georgetown 2-1. Conference Record: American 0-0, Georgetown 0-0. Series Record: Georgetown leads, 44-8.
GAME NOTES: The 15th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas will try to extend their winning streak to seven games on Saturday afternoon when they play host to local rivals, the American University Eagles.
This matchup for American will be its third difficult road contest of the year. It has already dropped games at Minnesota (72-36) and Saint Joseph's (74-55), and it's treacherous road will continue next week at Kansas. The Eagles are losers of three of their last four contests, most recently falling at Hampton on Tuesday night, 75-65.
Georgetown's only setback of the year came in an overtime thriller against then-No. 1 Indiana (82-72), but other than that it has been spectacular, registering signature wins over UCLA (78-70), Tennessee (37-36) and Texas (64-41). The Hoyas hosted Western Carolina last Saturday, and after playing a tight first half they pulled away to win, 81-68.
These cross-town rivals are quite familiar with each other, and Georgetown has a lopsided advantage in the all-time series, 44-8. The Hoyas have won eight in a row over the Eagles, including an 81-55 triumph last season.
American has been fairly efficient from the floor this season, making 45.2 percent of its total shots, but it hasn't resulted in much success on the scoreboard (55.7 ppg). The team shot 40.4 percent in its last outing against Hampton, but while it kept the contest close throughout, it lost control in the final five minutes to lose its seventh straight decision. Stephen Lumpkins made his presence felt in the paint with 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Marko Vasic (12 points) and Austin Carroll (11 points) were both impressive coming off the bench. Lumpkins has been one of the Eagles' only consistent producers, as he records 15.5 ppg and 8.6 rpg while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Daniel Munoz is the only other player to average double figures (10.0 ppg), and he makes good on 91.7 percent of his free throw attempts.
Georgetown has also been fairly modest at the offensive end of the court this season, making 46.5 percent of its field goal attempts for 66.8 ppg, but it has found success behind one of the nation's best defensive efforts, holding opponents to 38.5 percent shooting for an average of 55.4 ppg. The Hoyas were slightly less dominant than usual in their recent win over WCU, allowing it to shoot 46.2 percent from the floor, but they more than made up for by shooting nearly 50 percent themselves and making 23-of-33 attempts at the foul line. Greg Whittingham was a beast in the victory, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor (including 3-of-5 from 3-point range) for 25 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Jabril Trawick added 14 points, Otto Porter tallied 12 points and nine boards, and Markel Starks netted 10 points. On the season, Porter has been one of the most versatile forwards in the Big East, averaging 12.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.2 spg and 1.6 bpg, all while shooting 51.1 percent from the field. Whittingham (12.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg) has also been effective in the frontcourt, and Starks (11.6 ppg) is the team's best guard.
American will have a chip on its shoulder against its D.C. rival, but that extra motivation won't nearly be enough to topple one of the nation's top teams. Georgetown should be able to shut down the Eagles' offensive attack rather easily in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 73, American University 42
12/22 10:33:05 ET