PREVIEW: Marquette heads out east for matchup with Georgetown

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The Golden Eagles huddle during their game against Villanova on Dec. 23 (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

After a nine-day hiatus, the Marquette Golden Eagles will begin the new year with a matchup against the Georgetown Hoyas at 6:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Jan. 2.

Marquette enters the contest on a three-game losing skid after dropping conference matchups against Seton Hall, Xavier and Villanova. The Golden Eagles sit at 5-5 on the season and 1-3 in conference play.

Georgetown has also dropped their last two games against St. John’s and Seton Hall. The Hoyas were scheduled to play on Dec. 30 against the Creighton Bluejays, but the game was moved to Feb. 9 to allow players more time to see their families during the holidays.

After a strong defensive start to the season, Marquette has struggled in their first four games of BIG EAST play. The Golden Eagles are allowing 82.5 points per game against conference opponents after allowing 63.2 points per game against nonconference teams.

On the other side of the ball, redshirt senior guard Koby McEwen, first-year forward Dawson Garcia, sophomore guard D.J. Carton and senior forward Jamal Cain are all averaging over 10 points per game. This has allowed Marquette’s offensive attack to be more balanced compared to last season, where guard Markus Howard and guard/forward Sacar Anim were the only players with scoring averages in double figures.

Georgetown was ranked last in the BIG EAST Coaches’ Preseason Poll and currently sits at eighth in the conference, one spot above Marquette. The Hoyas are 3-5 and are tied with the Golden Eagles for the second lowest scoring average in the conference with 75.3 points per game.

Guard Jahvon Blair has been the centerpiece for Georgetown in his senior season. The Brampton, Ontario native is averaging 18.9 points, which ranks fifth best in the BIG EAST. He is also averaging 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists, while shooting 44% from the field and 35% from three.

The Hoyas also have a strong supporting cast surrounding Blair composing of sophomore center Qudus Wahab, senior forward/guard Jamorko Pickett and graduate student guard Donald Carey. All three players have double-digit scoring averages and Pickett and Wahab have been forces on the glass, averaging 9.3 and 8.3 rebounds respectively.

Led by the 6-foot-11 center and the 6-foot-9 forward/guard, Georgetown ranks first in rebounding in the BIG EAST. The Hoyas average 43.6 rebounds per game, with nearly 12 of those coming on the offensive end. Marquette is not too far behind, ranking third in the conference with 39 rebounds per game.

The Golden Eagles swept the Hoyas in last year’s season series with a 93-72 win on Feb. 2o and an 84-80 win on Jan. 18. Marquette holds a 16-13 all-time record against Georgetown.

Marquette will be on the East Coast for the first time this season as both teams try to get back on track and squash their losing streaks. The game will be telecasted on CBS Sports Network.

This story was written by Nick Galle. He can be reached at nicholas.galle@marquette.edu or on Twitter @thenickgalle