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Georgetown hoping for makeover after an ugly win

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Sports,College,Craig Stouffer

Hoyas coming off win

in 37-point performance

For a coach whose team moved up another five spots in the latest Associated Press rankings, John Thompson III didn't have many nice words, or many words at all, to say about Georgetown on Monday.

With a host of teams that had been in front of them losing last week -- including Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and N.C. State -- the Hoyas (5-1) leapfrogged to No. 15 in the country. They'll have one last chance to earn a marquee nonconference victory that could move them even higher before Big East conference play begins next month as the Hoyas face Texas (5-2) as part of the Jimmy V Classic in the Big Apple.

Up Next
No. 15 Georgetown vs. Texas
When » Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Madison Square Garden, New York
TV » ESPN

Perhaps by tipoff, Thompson will finish smarting from presiding over and then rewatching his team's high school-like 37-36 win over Tennessee on Friday. It was the first time since 1952 -- a 55-40 loss to Maryland -- that no Georgetown player had at least 10 points.

"Positive, we held them to 36 points," Thompson said. "Positive, we scored more than they did. Other than that, it was difficult to watch."

It was also a statement that Thompson's young players are still getting adjusted to the new roles that they've inherited this season. Sophomore Greg Whittington leads the Hoyas in scoring with 12.7 points per game. But he's only led Georgetown outright in a single game. He's also still searching for the range on his 3-pointer, shooting 7-for-23 (.304) from beyond the arc.

"It's sad to say, but I think we got pretty good shots," junior forward Nate Lubick said. "They weren't going in. You credit that at some point to their defense. They did a lot of good defense, and so did we."

The Volunteers finished with the lowest points allowed by the Hoyas' defense since a 76-32 win over Winston-Salem State in Dec. 2006. But Tennessee outrebounded Georgetown 37-29, the third team this season to win the battle on the boards after UCLA and Indiana.

The Longhorns are still reeling from an upset loss to Division II Chaminade in the first game of the Maui Invitational last month. But their prowess on the boards is as alarming to Georgetown as the Hoyas' lack of offense. The Hoyas lost the teams' only meeting 78-70, during the 1971-72 season.

Led by Jonathan Holmes (5.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and Cameron Ridley (5.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Texas averages 40.7 rebounds per game, eight more than the Hoyas (32.8), with their top six players pulling down at least 3.9 per game.

Whittington (8.7 rpg) and Otto Porter Jr. (11.6 ppg, 7.4 ppg) have done the lion's share for the Hoyas. Lubick (7.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) will also help fortify their presence inside after banging his elbow on the head of Jarnell Stokes and playing just eight minutes against Tennessee. But while missed shots can often be attributed to off nights, systematic rebounding woes can be more difficult to correct.

"It definitely is harder rebounding out of the zone, not having one guy that you're responsible for boxing out," Lubick said. "That's something we're going to have to figure out because we're a team that plays a lot of zone during crunch time."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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