<
>

Georgetown wins battle of best Big East defenses

WASHINGTON -- Georgetown continued its impressive run through the top-tier of the Big East.

The Hoyas (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) finished the toughest stretch of their schedule Monday night with a 71-53 dismantling of West Virginia (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 23 AP), extending their winning streak to eight games -- a stretch in which the average margin of victory has been 16 points.

The Hoyas have now beaten Louisville, Marquette and West Virginia in a six-day span.

"That was one impressive Georgetown team," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "It was a clinic. We tried hard, but we were certainly not on their level tonight."

Roy Hibbert scored 20 points to lead the Hoyas (19-5, 9-2), who moved within a half-game of Big East leader Pittsburgh. Georgetown shot 58 percent and outrebounded the West Virginia 35-19.

The game was essentially over after a 17-0 first-half run, putting the Mountaineers in a double-digit hole from which they never recovered.

"We're just coming together as a team," said Jeff Green, who scored 15 points. "Our team chemistry has been pretty good the past few games. We've just got to keep it going throughout the Big East, and hopefully it gets better."

Georgetown beat Marquette by 18 on Saturday, then had a quick turnaround while dealing with the distractions surrounding the school's 100th anniversary celebration of the basketball program. Even so, coach John Thompson III -- who avoids speaking about the big picture whenever possible -- refused to even hint that he might get caught up in the Hoyas' success, even referencing the classic hit song "The Gambler" to make his point.

"It's like the Kenny Rogers song," Thompson said. "We're still sitting at the table. We don't want to start looking at what we're doing or how we've done. We've got how many games left? Hopefully we've put ourselves in a position to make the Big East tournament. It's too soon to start analyzing where we are."

That's Thompson. Everyone else is talking about Georgetown's likely seed in the NCAAs, and he's talking about qualifying for his own conference tournament.

Joe Alexander and Darris Nichols scored 10 points apiece to lead the Mountaineers (19-6, 7-5), who had won five of six and had moved into the Top 25 earlier Monday on the strength of an upset of UCLA on Saturday.

The Mountaineers are among the national leaders in 3-pointers, but they went 9-for-26 behind the arc and shot 38 percent overall. Frank Young, who entered the game shooting 42 percent from 3-point range, made 2 of 9.

Beilein credited Georgetown for switching on every screen, something only one other team has tried against the Mountaineers this season.

"I can't wait to watch the film and learn, because they're terrific," Beilein said.

Hibbert did most of his damage with free throws, making 12 of 13 from the line. Jonathan Wallace added 14 for the Hoyas.

The game pitted West Virginia's trapping defense against Georgetown's Princeton offense. The Mountaineers caused their share of disruptions -- forcing 10 first-half turnovers -- but they also allowed the Hoyas to shoot 79 percent in the half. Consecutive backdoor layups by Green and Wallace started the 17-0 run that put the Hoyas in control.

West Virginia tried to mount a run late in the half, but Georgetown answered each time. Green ended the first-half scoring with an emphatic driving dunk to send the Hoyas to the locker room with a 37-20 lead.

The Hoyas opened the second half with a dunk by Green, a putback by Wallace and a 3-pointer from DaJuan Summers -- a 7-0 run that doused any hopes for a Mountaineers comeback.

Tempers flared a few minutes later, when Patrick Ewing Jr. gave a forearm shove to Alexander in front of the West Virginia bench during a dead ball. Beilein confronted Ewing, sending both benches into a storm of protest. Officials stopped the game to review a replay but assessed no foul to either team.

"I think Hillary Clinton said it takes a village, right?" said Beilein, explaining his role in the confrontation. "So I was part of a village. I said, 'You don't do that.' That's all it takes."