WASHINGTON (AP)—There was 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert diving to the floor for a loose ball. And there he was drawing a charge. And, yes, there was the preseason All-American waving his hands wildly, demanding a pass before deftly dishing off to a teammate.
The total package Hibbert is becoming was on full display Saturday, when he provided 21 points and five assists along with some punishing defense to help No. 5 Georgetown beat Notre Dame 84-65 while holding the Irish to 32.8 percent shooting.
“He’s probably gotten to be a more cruel competitor, and I mean that as a compliment,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He’s gotten crueler at going for the jugular when he’s got somebody down. He’s a very talented player—and I’m glad he’s a senior.”
It seems safe to say Brey isn’t the only one looking forward to the center’s departure for the NBA.
Hibbert put off the possibility of millions of dollars to return to the Hoyas, and he’s showing more and more layers to his game this season. That includes a late 3-pointer to beat Connecticut last weekend and a pretty, no-look pass Saturday.
Georgetown’s loud home crowd tried to get the big guy to toss up another 3 against the Irish, but he stuck to his post game this time.
“I think Roy was aggressive. I think Roy was assertive,” coach John Thompson III said. “He does a pretty good job of understanding when it’s my turn and when I should help my teammates.”
With Hibbert drawing plenty of attention, DaJuan Summers added 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and freshman Austin Freeman scored 16 points for the Hoyas (14-2, 4-1 Big East).
At the other end, Hibbert helped shut down Notre Dame’s top scorer, Luke Harangody, and limit the Irish to their second-lowest point total of the season.
“Georgetown is a tough team, we’re going to be known as a tough team, and I have to be at the forefront of that,” Hibbert said. “I’m just going to have to do whatever I can to do that every day defensively.”
The 6-8 Harangody came in averaging 24.3 points and 11.8 rebounds in conference play, but he got into foul trouble trying to guard Hibbert and was limited to a team-high 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting.
Notre Dame (13-4, 3-2) entered Saturday scoring 79.4 points per game, with a low of 64 in 2007-08. The Irish put up 64 points in the second half alone of their previous outing, a conference victory over Cincinnati.
But the Hoyas pride themselves on their D, coming in holding opponents to 35.8 percent shooting (second in the country) and 56.7 points (tied for sixth).
They limited Notre Dame to 20-for-61 shooting for the game, including a 1-for-10 stretch at the start of the second half.
“They play great defense. With Hibbert down low, it’s hard to get in the lane. You’re always worrying about him,” said Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame’s second-leading scorer, who was held to 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting. “Both defensively and offensively, we had our hands full today.”
Georgetown’s first 24 points were either scored in the paint or at the foul line, and Hibbert had 13 of those.
“The difference from last year,” Harangody said, “is him wanting the ball more, calling for it more in the post.”
He went to the sideline with four fouls after getting called for charging into Hibbert with about 12 minutes left, and Brey went on the court to argue, drawing a technical. Harangody eventually went back in and fouled out with 1:50 left.
Hibbert took over after Notre Dame made things interesting briefly by going up 17-16 with 9:51 left in the first half on Jonathan Peoples’ 3-pointer.
From there, Hibbert scored the game’s next six points to start a 15-0 Georgetown run during which Notre Dame—which had won 11 of its previous 12 games—went nearly 7 minutes without a field goal.
“Eventually,” Brey said of Hibbert, “he wears you down.”