WASHINGTON (AP)—If this keeps up, Rutgers coach Fred Hill ought to be given a spot on the NCAA tournament selection committee. He’s seen five of the nation’s top teams over the last four weeks, and none of them have slacked off against his last-place Scarlet Knights.
Hill’s latest sobering encounter came Saturday against No. 12 Georgetown, which rolled to an 88-63 win. When Rutgers went to a zone to keep Greg Monroe from dominating the paint, the Hoyas starting hitting 3-pointers to create another long afternoon for the only winless team in Big East play.
“What are you going to take away?” Hill said. “We tried zone, we tried to slow him down a little bit, and they knocked down big shots.”
Using almost every move in the book, Monroe made his first eight shots and finished with 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting with 14 rebounds. The Hoyas (15-3, 6-2) never trailed, didn’t commit a turnover until the game was more than 11 minutes old, led 46-29 at the half and shot 63 percent for the game.
Chris Wright scored 16 points, making 4 of 5 3-pointers, and Austin Freeman added 14 points for the Hoyas in a welcome breather following pressure-cooker road trips to Villanova and Pittsburgh. The win at No. 9 Pitt on Wednesday has Georgetown primed for the top 10 next week.
“Pittsburgh and Villanova were tough places to play,” Wright said, “so on our side it was good to come back home and get a nice easy win.”
Jonathan Mitchell scored 21 points to lead the Scarlet Knights (9-10, 0-7), who have lost eight straight—including five against teams ranked 12th or higher at the time. The margins of defeat in those five games: 14, 16, 16, 24 and 25.
“Of course they’re down,” Hill said. “But they’re working hard, and we’ve got to figure it out. … They need to get rewarded for everything they’re doing, and right now when you don’t get rewarded, it makes it very difficult.”
Rutgers’ leading scorer on the season, Mike Rosario, was shadowed everywhere he went and scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, after Georgetown had the game well in hand.
Hamady Ndiaye added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Scarlet Knights, who have lost eight in a row to Georgetown, last beating the Hoyas in 2003.
The game was essentially over after a 12-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers from Wright that gave the Hoyas 29-14 lead midway through the first half. Rutgers twice cut the lead to eight, but Monroe scored on back-to-back inside moves in a 7-0 run to end a half in which Rutgers committed 10 turnovers.
“We’ve been coming out slow,” Wright said. “And we tried to emphasize that we wanted to get out and jump on these guys from the start.”
The Hoyas opened the second half with another 7-0 run. Rutgers responded with an 8-0 spurt, but Monroe quieted that rally with a 3-pointer, his first outside basket of the game.
His perfect shooting game came to an end about a minute later when he wasn’t able to convert an offensive rebound, but he soon followed with a soft fadeaway jumper and went to his left hand to make a tough, contested shot that gave his team a 30-point lead.
The lopsided game gave Georgetown coach John Thompson III a chance to use a bench that has seen sparse work in Big East play. When Vee Sanford and Henry Sims made baskets in the second half, they became only the third and fourth Hoyas subs to score in a conference game this season.
“We were focused for the most part,” Thompson said. “They came out with a cohesiveness and an energy which was a good for us. That’s something we’ve stressed that we want to maintain.”