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Latest great center leads Hoyas

Georgetown center Greg Monroe tries to drive through Marquette’s Lazar Hayward, left, and Maurice Acker.

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Georgetown center Greg Monroe tries to drive through Marquette’s Lazar Hayward, left, and Maurice Acker.

NEW YORK — John Thompson III might be the only person left who is reluctant to add Greg Monroe's name to the list of great Georgetown centers.

"I think it's too early to give him that label," the coach said Friday night after his 6-foot-11 sophomore dazzled with 23 points and 13 rebounds in an 80-57 rout of Marquette in a Big East semifinal.

"I think that's something that once your time here is over, you can sit back and make all those analyzations and comparisons," Thompson said. "Right now I think he's just focused on playing as hard as he can to win games and help his teammates out."

Chris Wright followed his 27-point performance against top-seeded Syracuse in Thursday's quarterfinals with 15 points for No. 22 Georgetown (23-9), which put away Marquette (22-11) with a 14-1 run with less than 10 minutes to go.

Tonight, the Hoyas play West Virginia, looking to extend their record to eight tournament championships.

A lot of that success is owed to guys such as Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning. That tradition has carried on in recent years to Roy Hibbert and now Monroe.

"I'm honored to follow people that were so good here," Monroe said. "The things they accomplished and did and went on to do great things at a high level — me just being here two years, I can't put myself in the same category as those players."

He is leaving that to everybody else.

"We know that Greg is a phenomenal player," Wright said. "It's not like he just started doing this in the Big East tournament. We know he can pass; we know he can score."

Jimmy Butler scored 17 to lead the Golden Eagles, who had won three straight against Georgetown but were humbled in their first double-digit loss this season.

"They absolutely annihilated us," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "I thought every single player that played was really good, was hard for us to guard, and we were as bad as we've been all year defensively. Didn't play with very much energy at all."

No. 7 W. Va. 53, Notre Dame 51: Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia's last-second hero in the quarterfinals, scored 24 to lead the Mountaineers in the other semifinal.

Third-seeded West Virginia (26-6), looking for its first Big East title, faces eighth-seeded Georgetown tonight. The Mountaineers beat the Hoyas 81-68 on March 1 in their only meeting this season.

Butler had banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer Thursday for a 54-51 victory over Cincinnati.

The Fighting Irish (23-11) had a chance to win it Friday. Tory Jackson missed a 3-pointer with four seconds left. Notre Dame's Tyrone Nash got the rebound, but Wellington Smith stripped it from him as the buzzer sounded.

The Mountaineers have won five straight and seven of eight.

Ben Hansbrough had 17 points for the Fighting Irish, who had won six straight.

Latest great center leads Hoyas 03/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:32am]

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