Old foes collide as No. 11 West Virginia visits Georgetown in Big 12-BIG EAST Battle

Gold and Blue Nation

No. 11 West Virginia men’s basketball is on the road to face Georgetown in the Big 12-BIG EAST Battle at McDonough Arena. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

This particular inter-conference competition should bring back lots of memories for Mountaineer fans. A former member of the old Big East conference, West Virginia used to face Georgetown regularly in conference play from 1995 through 2012 — but this particular matchup predates that stretch by several decades. Their first meeting with one another was a 27-15 WVU loss in the Hoyas’ Ryan Gymnasium, and in the years since, they’ve met a total of 52 times, of which Georgetown holds a slight 27-25 advantage.

Most recently, the Bob Huggins-led Mountaineers fell to John Thompson III’s Hoyas in the first round of the 2014 NIT, 77-65.

Saturday’s matchup will feature a highly-anticipated WVU team (3-1) against a Hoya squad (1-1) that has had a slow start to the season. The Mountaineers will play their fifth game in eight days, and are coming off a tough 87-82 loss to top-ranked Gonzaga in the Jimmy V Classic for its first loss of the season.

That loss was a disappointment for Huggins, and he will be looking for a lot of improvement out of his team on Sunday.

“It’s amazing that we actually had a chance to win the game,” he said. “We gave up 60 points in the paint, which has never happened before in my career I don’t think.”

Junior forward Derek Culver has emerged as the leader in the early part of this season. The Youngstown native is averaging 15.8 points and 11.3 rebounds, which are both tops on the team.

In an interesting twist so far, guard Sean McNeil has taken a starting spot on the roster and is one of four Mountaineers to average double-figures in the scoring column — all while leading the team in minutes played, even after missing a portion of the Gonzaga game after sustaining a cut on his head.

Coach Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown squad, on the other hand, has played just two games, both of which have been decided by single-digits — a 70-62 win over UMBC, and a 78-71 loss to Navy.

West Virginia will have to slow down senior guard Jahvon Blair, who leads the Hoyas with 20 points per game. He’s not the only Hoya who has shown off his scoring ability — he is one of four that average double-digit points, and his 17 points in their loss to Navy tied forward Jamorko Pickett and led Qudus Wahab’s 16 points by just one.

The Mountaineers might meet their match on the glass. Georgetown averages 48 rebounds (including a 58-board performance against UMBC), which is a slight edge over WVU’s 41.8 rebounds per game.

Action gets underway at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be shown on FS1.

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