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Georgetown Defeats Rutgers to Snap Five-Game Losing Streak

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By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Halfway into the college basketball season, Georgetown is still searching for an offense.

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But faced with the prospect of losing six consecutive games for the first time since Craig Esherick's final coaching season, the Hoyas' defense roared to life last night at Verizon Center.

The result was a 57-47 victory over Rutgers that halted a midseason slide and restored a measure of good feeling to a team that had lost its swagger.

"Losing is awful," Coach John Thompson III said before breaking into a broad grin that hadn't been seen in weeks. "We took a baby step today. We got a win. There's a lot we still have to improve on."

So, having tumbled from the national rankings, Georgetown begins the humbling process of clawing its way back to respectability.

As games go, it was a plodding show for the 8,473 who turned up, with poor shooting by both teams in the first half, which saw Georgetown (13-8, 4-6 Big East) take a 27-18 lead into the break.

Only two Hoyas finished in double figures, and each just barely. Senior Jessie Sapp paced the team with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

"I'm back," said Sapp, crediting his resurgent shooting touch to an extra hour of drills with the team's student manager.

Center Greg Monroe added 10 points and was active in just about every other facet of the game, leading Georgetown in rebounds (seven), assists (six) and steals (four).

But if a victory over a bottom-dwelling Big East team can be considered a triumph, this one was earned by Georgetown's defense.

Rutgers (10-13, 1-9) shot just 31.6 percent in the first half and made only one field goal in the final 11 minutes 16 seconds of the period. Rutgers's 47 points was a season low. And for a long stretch in the second half, freshman Mike Rosario, the school's first McDonald's all-American, was a one-man offensive show for his hapless team, scoring 15 of the squad's 18 points.

The Hoyas also had an active hand in Rutgers's season-high 21 turnovers, with nearly everyone on the floor stripping a ball or intercepting a pass at one point.

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