Georgetown is enjoying its longest Big East win streak in two seasons, but it's been longer than that since it has beaten Cincinnati.
The No. 15 Hoyas have dropped four straight in this series as they travel to face the Bearcats on Friday night in what figures to be a low-scoring affair.
Georgetown (18-4, 8-3) has tied No. 6 Syracuse and No. 18 Marquette for first place in the crowded Big East by winning six in a row. The Hoyas are limiting opponents to 35.9 percent from the field during this run - their longest in conference play over the past five seasons other than an eight-game win streak in 2010-11.
"We've been finding ways to win games, it hasn't always been pretty," coach John Thompson III said. "But our defense for the most part has been there every night and our guys have been finding ways to win games."
It's been three seasons since Georgetown has beaten Cincinnati (19-6, 7-5), and this is the only scheduled meeting this season after the Hoyas lost two matchups in each of the last two. The Bearcats won 68-64 on the road last year before winning 72-70 in double overtime in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
"We seem to play in a two-point game with them, a final-possession game with them every time we play them so I would expect the same thing on Friday," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.
A hard-nosed defensive battle is likely on tap. Georgetown is second in the conference in scoring defense (55.7 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (37.8) while Cincinnati is third in those categories at 58.4 and 38.0.
The Bearcats are the Big East's top rebounding team at 41.1 per game with a plus-7.5 margin that concerns Thompson, whose team has a rebound margin of plus-1.9.
"Against Cincinnati in particular we have to do a good job on the boards, that's something that they are outstanding at," Thompson said. "They put pressure on you from their offensive perspective, our defensive perspective."
The Hoyas also will have to be wary of Cashmere Wright, who is one steal shy of breaking David Kennedy's school record of 189 that has stood for 32 years. Wright has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career and is currently battling a shoulder issue.
The senior has shot 20.9 percent in the last six games, including 8 for 41 from 3-point range.
"I want nothing more than for him to be able to stay healthy and play his best down the stretch - for him," Cronin said. "Obviously he's going to help us win games. The kid's battled through a multitude of injuries and been a tremendous leader for our team."
Cronin's club won the turnover battle last season against the Hoyas, forcing 31 and committing only 19.
Cincinnati's pressure defense will try to unsettle Georgetown point guard Markel Starks, who has four turnovers in each of his last two games. Starks, however, is averaging 16.2 points over his last five, up from 11.5 in the Hoyas' first six Big East games.
Wright had five steals and the winning layup with 7.6 seconds left when these teams met last March. Bearcats leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick (18.2 ppg) averaged 19.5 points in the 2011-12 season series.
Georgetown star Otto Porter totaled 20 points and eight rebounds in those games. Porter is averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds over the last nine games, compared to 12.8 and 7.1 through the first 12.
"It's not just me, it's everybody else, too, that needs to be more assertive, more aggressive," Porter said. "Especially me. ... I mean, it's the things that you have to do to win, so I take it personal to step up and be more aggressive."
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved