Chris Wright could be key to Georgetown's chances against Syracuse

Point guard Chris Wright will have to be in top form for Thursday's rematch with fifth-ranked Syracuse.
Point guard Chris Wright will have to be in top form for Thursday's rematch with fifth-ranked Syracuse. (Mitchell Layton/getty Images)
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By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Among the NBA scouts who have become fixtures at Georgetown's Big East games the season, sophomore center Greg Monroe commands the bulk of the attention, with his long limbs and exceptional passing acuity. But in the eyes of Monroe, who is less concerned with his NBA future at the moment than he is with Georgetown's present, junior point guard Chris Wright is the Hoya who matters most.

"When he's scoring, and everybody else is doing what they do, we win. Point blank," Monroe said of Wright. "The numbers don't lie. So if he's having an off night, then we're most likely having an off night as a team."

Monroe's assessment isn't meant to pile added pressure on Wright, who has embraced his role as the Hoyas' floor general this season. It's simply to acknowledge what has become increasingly obvious.

As the Hoyas' chief ballhandler, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Wright bears responsibilities that extend far beyond scoring. But almost without exception, his scoring output has been a barometer of Georgetown's performance through this up-and-down season.

When Wright has reached double digits in scoring, the Hoyas are 16-0. When he has been held to fewer than 10 points, Georgetown is 2-6.

"His scoring is definitely a part of how we win," Monroe adds. "And it's something that we need to win."

The Hoyas will need Wright in top form Thursday at Verizon Center, where they hope to avenge their worst loss of the season against Big East rival Syracuse (24-2, 11-2).

When the teams met Jan. 25 at the Carrier Dome, Georgetown bolted to a 14-0 lead before getting thumped, 73-56. The stat sheet was riddled with evidence of just where the Hoyas fell short. They turned over the ball 19 times. They were lax on defense, allowing Syracuse to shoot 53.3 percent -- the only time an opponent has shot better than 50 percent against them all season. And they were weak on the boards, outrebounded 33-24.

The Hoyas' false sense of their own ability after a feel-good start also played a role.

"We went up 14-0, and we got real relaxed," said guard Austin Freeman, who scored a game-high 23 points. "They took advantage of that. It was hard to come back from that, especially playing in the Dome, too, when they had all the momentum."

It didn't help the Hoyas' cause that Monroe fouled out with 6 minutes 27 seconds remaining in the game, his eight points undercut by six turnovers.

Wright, an emotional player with a flair for slashing past defenders, also struggled, held to seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.

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