When Georgetown meets Boston College tonight in Newton, Mass., for a share of first place in the balanced Big East, the game will feature a rare matchup in which the starting guards on both teams are the dominant players.
Boston College is getting more than 32 points per game from its small back court of 5-foot-11 John Bagley and 6-1 Dwan Chandler. Bagley, averaging 19.7 points per game, is the conference's leading scorer. Chandler is scoring 12.5 per game, and the tandem has produced consistently against both zone and man-to-man defenses.
In raucous Roberts Center, the two guards have dominated opposition guards and have led the Eagles to a 9-0 home court record.
In Georgetown's 57-55 victory over BC last month, the Hoya guards, Sleepy Floyd and Fred Brown, made 13 of 16 shots and had 12 assists. Both teams have had problems with their front lines this season, putting much more responsibility on the guards. This game (WTTG-TV-5, 8 p.m.) doesn't figure to be any different.
What may make Georgetown tougher in this guard duel is that the Hoyas have four guards playing very well. In addition to Brown running the offense from the point and Floyd making the jumpers from all over, freshman Gene Smith has been effective in his reserve role as a defensive specialist.
And because Coach John Thompson is using a three-guard offense more and more, 6-5 forward Eric Smith has increased time as a third guard. In the last five Big East games, Smith has averaged more than 19 points per game, boosting his season average to 11.5.
Floyd, at 17.8, is second in conference scoring. But more important than the Hoya guards' scoring is their rebounding. The 6-5 Brown is averaging a team-high 4.7 rebounds per game and Floyd is second at 4.4 Floyd grabbed two crucial rebounds Saturday to ensure a victory over Seton Hall.
The Hoyas cannot afford to get behind tonight, as they did in two previous important road games against Syracuse and Connecticut.
Junior forward Mike Hancock, who didn't play against Seton Hall because of a bruised shoulder, is scheduled to start tonight against BC. That will move Gene Smith back to the bench. But he'll probably be in the lineup early to check the agile Bagley, who scored 20 points against the Eagles in the first game.