Duke and Georgetown each play one of the toughest schedules in the nation, so it’s fitting these perennial powers would find time to meet.
Both squads look to continue their winning ways by stepping out of their respective conferences Saturday afternoon when the No. 3 Blue Devils face the 13th-ranked Hoyas at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With the all-time series tied 6-6, these schools meet for the third time in four seasons and the second straight at Cameron. Duke (15-1) has won three of the last four matchups, including a 61-52 victory on Dec. 2, 2006.
While playing in two of the nation’s top conferences, neither catches a break in this contest, especially Georgetown (12-3), which has played a brutal early stretch in the Big East.
The Hoyas are coming off an 88-74 win over No. 8 Syracuse on Wednesday for its second straight victory after losing to then-No. 13 Notre Dame and current No. 1 Pittsburgh in a span of three days. Georgetown opened league play with a 74-63 victory at then-No. 2 Connecticut on Dec. 29.
Georgetown’s only non-conference loss came against then-No. 12 Tennessee in November.
Duke, meanwhile, has had little trouble winning its first three ACC games over Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech, and looks for an eighth straight victory since losing 81-73 at Michigan on Dec. 6. Victories over Davidson, then-No. 7 Xavier and at then-No. 9 Purdue have highlighted the non-conference portion of the Blue Devils’ schedule.
“We feel we can match up with anyone we play against…We won’t wait to see what happens,” coach Mike Krzyzewski told the Blue Devils’ official Web site. “We will try to do things to see if they can react to us too.”
Duke hopes that approach works against the Hoyas. The Blue Devils overcame a poor shooting for a 70-56 road win over the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday.
Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler each scored 19 for the Blue Devils, who shot a season-low 39 percent, but compensated by holding Georgia Tech to 41.2 percent shooting and forcing 18 turnovers.
Duke allows an ACC-best 60.2 points per game and 56.6 in its last seven contests.
“That’s our style of basketball,” Henderson said. “We’re defense oriented. Defense will get you a long way.”
While Singler averages a team-leading 16.9 points, Henderson is averaging 17.4 on 52.4-percent shooting in his last seven games.
Then a freshman, Henderson was held scoreless in 13 minutes in the last meeting with Georgetown. Greg Paulus, a former starting point guard now coming off the bench as a senior, scored 13 in that contest for Duke.
Jessie Sapp had 13 points and DaJuan Summers was held to four in that contest for Georgetown. Those two and 6-foot-11 freshman Greg Monroe should present a stiff challenge for the Blue Devils, who likely won’t be able to get away with another poor shooting effort.
The Hoyas are just as stingy defensively as Duke, giving up an average of 60.7 points per game.
Summers had 21, Austin Freeman added 19 and Monroe had 10 with seven rebounds and six assists as the Hoyas shot 59.3 percent against Syracuse.
The Hoyas led by 18 at halftime and made sure not to coast to the finish as they improved to 3-3 versus Top 25 teams this season.
“I think everybody knows not to get comfortable when you look at the scoreboard and see that many points,” said Summers, averaging a team-leading 15.1 points on the season while topping the 20-point mark in two of his last four games.
Monroe is averaging 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.6 assists in his last three contests.
Georgetown won 87-84 at home over then-No. 1 Duke on Jan., 21, 2006 for its last victory in the series.