No. 19 Georgetown rediscovers defense in 46-45 victory over Temple

Chris Wright accounted for nearly a third of the Hoyas' scoring output with 15 points.
Chris Wright accounted for nearly a third of the Hoyas' scoring output with 15 points. (Toni L. Sandys/the Washington Post)
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By Liz Clarke
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For long, scoreless stretches in Georgetown's offensively challenged home opener against Temple, the basketball was almost painful to watch.

And when the final statistics were tallied, the ugliness that had been on display at Verizon Center was spelled out in stark relief -- from the Hoyas' 16 turnovers to their 3-of-18 shooting from three-point range.

But in this game, what truly mattered resided in the heart.

Unlike last season, in which Georgetown frittered away so many close games with lackluster effort in the waning minutes, the Hoyas stormed back from a six-point deficit Tuesday to deliver a 46-45 victory before a raucous late-afternoon crowd and a national TV audience.

The game was capped by a thrilling finish, with sophomore center Greg Monroe scoring the winning layup with 6.5 seconds remaining.

Afterward, Monroe said that he felt a summer of hard work -- combined with the coaching staff's emphasis on "finishing games" -- had helped this year's team turn a critical corner.

"We definitely were in these type of situations last year," Monroe said. "I think with the growth of this team, we're definitely not going to lose these games this year."

After cautioning that the Hoyas were still a work in progress, Coach John Thompson III couldn't hide his satisfaction in his players' resilience down the stretch.

"The momentum was all with them [in the second half]," Thompson said. "For us to be able to maintain our poise and composure -- whether it was ugly or not -- that's a good feeling."

Monroe, guarded brilliantly throughout the game by Temple's Lavoy Allen, was held to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting but labored hard to contribute otherwise, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds and three assists.

And his late-game heroics revealed assertiveness that Georgetown fans have longed to see since Monroe's arrival on the Hilltop.

Junior guard Chris Wright led the 19th-ranked Hoyas with 15 points, and Austin Freeman added 10.

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