Georgetown coach John Thompson III realizes the value of any Big East road win. His No. 10 Hoyas are a eight-point favorite to win a second straight road game Tuesday night as they try to continue their mastery of DePaul.
Georgetown (14-3, 4-2) entered this two-game trip coming off back-to-back losses before breaking away late in Sunday’s 69-49 win over St. John’s. The Hoyas closed the game on a 21-4 run.
“I’m going to give you a cookie-cutter answer but it’s true, every game in this league is big,” Thompson said. “Obviously, just emotionally, you don’t want to lose three in a row and then have to go back on the road again.
“Wins in this league on the road are hard to come by and every night is a dogfight. Every night you have to scrape. So, this was a big game in that regard.”
Hollis Thompson continued his astounding 3-point shooting by making 5 of 9 attempts, hitting all five after halftime and finishing with 20 points. The junior forward has made 14 of his last 21 shots from beyond the arc and leads the conference with a 52.8 percent mark for the season.
“Hollis didn’t realize he was 0 for,” John Thompson III said. “That’s what makes him a good shooter.”
Georgetown has won all six Big East matchups with DePaul (10-7, 1-4), with only one decided by a single-digit margin. The Hoyas have won three games at Allstate Arena in that span by an average of 17.7 points.
The Blue Demons own the worst defensive field-goal percentage in the conference at 47.7 percent. DePaul is allowing opponents to shoot 55.3 percent during a three-game losing streak in which its average margin of defeat is 18.0 points.
A frequent bright spot for DePaul has been sophomore forward Cleveland Melvin, who is among the Big East leaders with his 18.0 scoring average. Melvin, however, has seen his point total decrease in four straight games, the latest an eight-point, six-turnover effort in Saturday’s 76-59 loss at then-No. 14 Louisville.
Brandon Young missed 11 of 16 shots and scored 14 points as DePaul shot 34.3 percent – a season low – for the second straight game.
“When your two best players don’t really get it done offensively and you miss some layups from your other guys – those are 99.9 percent shots – and you’re playing against a fired-up team, that’s what happens on the road,” coach Oliver Purnell said.
Melvin scored 29 points in last season’s 86-75 loss to Georgetown, which leads the all-time series 19-6.
Purnell has had some success in employing a frenetic style that forces 17.9 turnovers per game for one of the Big East’s best marks. The pace, however, has been a contributing factor to the foul-prone Blue Demons allowing an average of 23.1 free-throw attempts.
Another by-product of the style of play is DePaul’s Big East-leading average of 22.2 3-point attempts. The Blue Demons, though, are shooting only 33.6 percent on 3s.
“If you live by the 3 you’re going to die by the 3,” freshman guard Worrel Clahar said. “It comes and goes.”