On the Road, Hoyas Find Their Way

Georgetown 65, South Florida 40

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 2009; Page E01

TAMPA, Feb. 18 -- The road has not been kind to Georgetown this season.

But against a poor-shooting team in a half-full arena more than 800 miles from home, the Hoyas regained their footing Wednesday and trounced South Florida, 65-40, at the Sun Dome.

It was only the Hoyas' second victory over a Big East opponent on the road -- the other, an upset of then-No. 2 Connecticut, sent expectations sky high at the start of conference play.

Though it's difficult to draw broad inferences from the lopsided outcome given South Florida's woeful shooting (31.9 percent), the game served as a showcase for the skill and athleticism that have been on the Hoyas' roster all along but gone missing in recent weeks.

And it was a badly needed tonic for the back-to-back overtime losses that have left Georgetown (14-10, 5-8) in serious jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament.

"It feels good to win," Coach John Thompson III said afterward, as if unloading a boulder from his shoulders.

Georgetown hadn't notched such a decisive victory since its 38-point rout of Florida International on Dec. 23. Since mid-January, losses have been the norm.

But after dropping seven of its previous eight games, Georgetown rebounded with a vengeance at the Sun Dome, playing at both ends of the court like the nationally ranked team it was just last month.

Sophomore guard Chris Wright led the Hoyas for a second consecutive game, scoring 17 points and handing out six assists. Freshman center Greg Monroe finished with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). And senior guard Jessie Sapp (10 points) came off the bench to give the Hoyas the biggest offensive spark of the night, hitting back-to-back three-pointers to spur a 14-0 first-half run that put the Bulls in a big hole.

The Hoyas had a major hand in South Florida's poor showing on offense. Georgetown played tenacious defense, contesting nearly every shot and grabbing 10 steals. South Florida (8-17, 3-10) made just 1 of 12 three-pointers and was outrebounded, 37-26.

But on this night, the Bulls couldn't make uncontested shots, either, going 9 of 23 from the free throw line.

"There's no way to sugarcoat this one," South Florida Coach Stan Heath said. "We got it handed to us. It was inexcusable some of the things that were happening."

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