Georgetown star Otto Porter Jr. is still benched with a mild concussion. Fortunately for Head Coach John Thompson III, Greg Whittington can do a pretty good impression.

The sophomore forward made up for his classmate’s absence by scoring a career-high 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds to lead the Hoyas (2-0) over visiting Liberty (0-3) tonight, 68-59. Junior forward Nate Lubick added a career-high 13 of his own, and the Hoyas escaped the Washington Regional of the Progressive Legends Classic unscathed.

Georgetown responded to an early 4-0 deficit with 17 unanswered points, setting the tone for a Blue and Gray blowout that was nowhere near as close as the nine-point final margin indicated.

“We played the best that we [could], and it took our best just to hang in there and [have] it not be a 30-point blowout,” Liberty Head Coach Dale Layer said.

The Hoyas wreaked havoc in the Flames’ backcourt all game, forcing the visitors into 16 turnovers with an array of swarming full-court presses. Georgetown was credited with only seven steals, but it caused several shot clock violations, out-of-bounds passes and general chaos for the Liberty guards.

“We struggled with Georgetown’s wings early,” Layer said. “We worked really hard on it inshootaround to try to be prepared for it, but we can’t really simulate that.”

Still, the Flames — specifically, guards Davon Marshall and Casey Roberts — consistently broke free for open threes when they did reach their halfcourt set. Liberty hit 10 of their 19 long-range attempts on the night, which accounted for more than half of their 59 points.

“Liberty did an outstanding job of getting the shots that they wanted,” Thompson III said. “Our press has been effective, but our halfcourt defense leaves a lot to be desired.”

On the offensive end, Lubick and sophomore frontcourt mate Mikael Hopkins went to work against the undersized Flames down low. The duo’s aggressiveness — along with some quick whistles from the referees — forced Liberty forward Sommy Ogukwe into five fouls in eight minutes. Whittington played the role of Porter Jr. once again, scoring off nearly every loose ball.

Freshman guards D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Stephen Domingo, meanwhile, provided solid sparks off the bench, doubling the scoring output of the starting backcourt.

The Blue and Gray entered the locker room with a comfortable 16-point advantage and even extended the lead to 22 early in the second half. Any suspense in the sparsely populated VerizonCenter had dissipated after Georgetown’s 17-0 run in the opening minutes, but Liberty didn’t seem to get the memo. The Flames hit nearly every open trey they took, and the Hoyas’ tendency to foul late in the shot clock helped the overmatched visitors stay in it.

“I think we caught Georgetown on a night that they weren’t quite as inspired that they will be [going forward],” Layer said.

But in the closing minutes, the gap was just wide enough that Thompson III turned to the end of his bench. The few students in attendance erupted into applause when their demands for junior victory cigar John Caprio were answered, and the Blue and Gray held on for a nine-point win.

While the victory came at home against an overmatched team, fans have to be comforted to see several Hoyas compensating for the absence of their star teammate. But Thompson III still isn’t satisfied.

“Our attention to the detail at the defensive end, I don’t think was good,” Thompson III said.

The Hoyas will need a much stronger performance against No. 13 UCLA next Monday, especially if Porter Jr. hasn’t returned. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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