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Georgetown basketball looks to rebound against Villanova after loss to South Florida

The Hoyas' Greg Monroe, with ball, went dormant against South Florida after picking up two quick fouls in the second half.
The Hoyas' Greg Monroe, with ball, went dormant against South Florida after picking up two quick fouls in the second half. (Toni L. Sandys/the Washington Post)
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Georgetown's 82-77 loss to Villanova on Jan. 17 underscored the point.

Monroe had a career day against Villanova's four-guard offense, finishing with 29 points and 16 rebounds. But it wasn't enough to carry the Hoyas in a game in which they fell behind early, trailing by 15 at the half; Wright hit just 1 of 7 shots; and Georgetown's bench was outscored, 25-4.

Wednesday against South Florida, it looked as if Monroe might carry Georgetown to victory -- at least early on. Hoyas guard Jason Clark was keeping Jones in check and South Florida couldn't stop Monroe, whose 14 first-half points spurred Georgetown to a 13-point lead with two minutes remaining in the half.

But shortly after the second half started, Monroe was slapped with two quick fouls (his second and third of the game) in the span of an eye blink.

Monroe insisted that the fouls had no effect on his intensity. "None at all," Monroe said. "I was still in the groove of the game. That didn't slow me down any."

Thompson said that's exactly what he asks of Monroe, or any player, when he keeps him in a game despite multiple fouls.

"Don't change how you're doing things because you're a different person, and we're a different team," Thompson said, recounting his instructions. "You just play. Let me determine whether you're in the game or not."

Nonetheless, Monroe wasn't as active in the second half, failing to grab a single rebound. South Florida, to its credit, started double-teaming him. And the Hoyas lost focus and tenacity at both end of the court.

It's hardly a secret that Monroe is the Hoyas' motor. As Wright said at the season's outset, "We go as far as he takes us."

Villanova Coach Jay Wright also understands how much the Hoyas depend on Monroe, particularly after the 6-foot-11 sophomore center almost single-handedly led the Hoyas to victory in last month's game against his Wildcats.

"He's a big part of everything they do," Jay Wright said of Monroe. "I think [Georgetown has] outstanding players at every spot; they're probably as talented at each spot as any team in our league. But I don't know if anybody in the league has someone as talented at that center position.

"He is a mismatch no matter who you're playing against. And defensively, he's a person [who], because of his mobility, can cover everywhere on the floor. I don't think there's another player like him in our conference."

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