No. 16 Georgetown Vs. No. 9 Missouri: Two Unbeatens Face First Real Test

A pair of undefeated teams meet in Kansas City tonight, as the 16th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas and ninth-ranked Missouri Tigers square off in a non-conference clash at the Sprint Center.

Georgetown is 6-0 on the young season, having disposed of teams like ODU, Tulane and NC State, among even lesser opponents in Coastal Carolina, Wofford and UNC Ashville. The Hoyas, under the direction of John Thompson III, play their basketball out of the Big East Conference, and they will face formidable, non-league foes in Temple and Memphis before embarking on what will be another tough go in the Big East.

Missouri is a player in the Big 12 Conference this season, as coach Mike Anderson's club is 5-0 following wins over Western Illinois, North Florida, Wyoming, La Salle and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Not exactly a murderous schedule to open the year, but with games against Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Illinois and ODU looming before the start of conference play in January, the Tigers should be better prepared.

Georgetown won the only previous meeting with Missouri, that coming in a 63-51 decision in Washington, D.C. on February 20, 1982.

Austin Freeman scored 30 points, 21 of which came on his school-record-tying seven three-pointers, as the Hoyas knocked off visiting UNC Ashville by 15 on Saturday. Freeman, who finished the game just one point shy of his career high, was joined in double figures by Julian Vaughn (16 points, nine blocks) and Hollis Thompson (11 points), the latter of whom also grabbed 10 of the team's 42 rebounds to record his first career double-double. Georgetown shot 51.7 percent from the field, which included a 13-of-25 effort from beyond the arc. The Hoyas did commit 23 turnovers, but held UNCA to 41.7 percent field goal efficiency. Freeman is about as solid a backcourt performer as you're going to find, and he is hitting 57.6 percent of his three-point attempts and averaging 20.2 ppg so far this season. Jason Clark nets 14.3 ppg, Chris Wright 12.7 ppg and Vaughn 10.2 points and 8.0 caroms per contest. For the season, foes are hitting just 39.6 percent of their total shots, while GU does so at 49.7 percent. As a result of that, and the fact that the Hoyas own a positive margin in rebounding (+8.8), it's easy to see why they are averaging 75.7 ppg and are perfect after the first half dozen bouts.

As expected, Missouri had very little trouble with Arkansas-Pine Bluff over the weekend, as the Tigers shot 55.2 percent from the field and nailed 7-of-11 three-pointers en route to the 91-63 triumph. Kim English, who went scoreless in UM's win over La Salle last week, poured in a season-high 18 points in hitting 6-of-10 shots from the floor -- all in just 20 minutes of action off the bench. Laurence Bowers also scored 18 points, while Marcus Denmon added 12, Michael Dixon 11 and Ricardo Ratliffe finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the campaign. The Golden Lions, who only dressed eight players for the game, hung tough through the opening half. But they wore down after the break and wound up shooting just 41.2 percent from the field and committing 26 turnovers. After five games, Denmon (13.2 ppg) leads four Tigers averaging double figures in scoring, with the team as a whole putting up 81.6 ppg in hitting its field goals at a 44.7 percent clip. Defensively, foes are scoring just 62 ppg behind 42.9 percent field goal efficiency, and Mizzou also owns favorable margins in both rebounding (+5.2) and turnovers (+8.4).

This game pits two evenly matched teams against each other, and it should reflect that in the action all night. The Hoyas rely heavily on one guy (Freeman) to dictate the action, whereas the run-and-gun Tigers boast a more balanced attack. Expect Missouri to win a close one.

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