After claiming a dramatic victory in its Big East opener, Marquette will have its head coach back when it looks to win another early statement game against No. 15 Georgetown.
It's not going to be an easy task with the Hoyas seeking their eighth straight victory after a two-week layoff.The Golden Eagles, however, will try to extend their 17-game winning streak at home -- the sixth-longest streak in the nation -- and beat Georgetown for the fifth time in six tries in Milwaukee on Saturday.Marquette coach Buzz Williams will be back on the bench after serving a one-game, school-imposed suspension as part of the program's self-imposed sanctions for a recruiting rules violation.The Golden Eagles (10-3, 1-0 Big East) improved to 8-0 at home this season with a thrilling 82-76 overtime victory over Connecticut on Tuesday after Junior Cadougan hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to force overtime."I'm just ecstatic because I feel like we've turned a corner into who we are with this team," said assistant Brad Autry, who filled in for Williams. "I think (the players) feel that as much as anything."While Georgetown has been ranked in each of its five road games in the series since Marquette joined the Big East, the Golden Eagles are 2-0 as unranked hosts against the Hoyas.Georgetown (10-1, 0-0), which plays its first true road game of the season, has lost two of its last three trips to Marquette by double-digits -- including last season's 83-69 defeat.While the Golden Eagles played last Saturday and Tuesday, Georgetown may have to shake off some rust as it plays its first game since a 65-48 victory over American on Dec. 22. Otto Porter led the way with 16 points and tied his season-high with 13 rebounds.The sophomore forward has averaged 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in his last three games, and he's the only player in the nation averaging at least 13.0 points, 7.0 boards, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals this season."I think that Otto is the best or one of the best at so many different facets of this game in the country," coach John Thompson III said.Porter had 19 points in 27 minutes before fouling out of the loss at Marquette in March.Forward Greg Whittington, the team's second leading scorer (12.5 points per game), has stepped up lately with 38 points on 61.9 percent (13 for 21) shooting in his last two games. He had averaged 8.0 points while shooting 31.1 percent in his past four.After shooting 35.9 percent and averaging 49.0 points during their previous three games, the Hoyas appear to have found their groove by shooting 49.4 percent and averaging 78.3 points over their last three."We all realize there are so many areas of the game that we can get better at," Thompson said.Cadougan, who finished with 18 points Tuesday, has averaged 17.0 while shooting 58.1 percent from the field in his last three games after an inconsistent first six weeks.Vander Blue, the team's scoring leader (13.3 ppg), has stepped up with 15.3 points on 56.7 percent shooting during that stretch.Behind Davante Gardner's 18 points against the Huskies, Marquette has also received a major boost from its bench. The Golden Eagles' reserves rank among the 10 highest-scoring units in the nation at 32.1 points per game.Marquette, though, could find baskets harder to come by against a Georgetown defense that's among the country's top 10 in points allowed (54.7 per game). Five of the Hoyas' 11 opponents have scored 50 or fewer.Georgetown has won nine of its last 10 Big East openers.