NEW YORK -- Terrific first half worthy of the Saturday night bright lights of New York City. I'll be surprised if this doesn't go down to the wire. The teams are both playing too hard and too well for anyone to break ahead by much.
Some quick thoughts about an entertaining 20 minutes:
West Virginia's ability to own the boards is the slim difference between the two teams. The Mountaineers have 19 rebounds to Georgetown's 11, but more critically WVU has nine offensive rebounds. That's equated to 10 easy points.
The Mountaineers are getting a well-played game from just about everyone in uniform. I doubt even hard-to-please Bob Huggins will have much to pick apart here. Wellington Smith leads the Mountaineers withe nine points, Joe Mazzulla is directing the offense with authority and Devin Ebanks is commanding the backboards. He has four rebounds already. And of course Da'Sean Butler is doing everything else. He has seven points, two offensive rebounds and an assist.
The Hoyas aren't as deep, but if anyone thought they'd be tired playing their fourth game in as many days, guess again. With Greg Monroe and Chris Wright leading the push, Georgetown is doing a terrific job running the floor. Monroe's pretty one-handed bounce pass for a crowd-pleasing Wright jam epitomized the level that the two are playing at. Wright has 12 early, Monroe 5 points, 3 rebounds and two assists.
Georgetown, a better shooting team, hasn't been able to take advantage of its edge at the arc. The Hoyas are 1-for-7 from the arc and Austin Freeman is still looking for his first made 3-pointer of the Big East tournament. He's 0-for-2 tonight. The Hoyas need him to be a threat to stretch the Mountaineer defense.