Hoyas Hold Off Knights in Slugfest
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 09:03
It was far from pretty, but No. 7 Georgetown (23-4, 13-3 Big East) extended its winning streak to 11 straight by pulling away from Rutgers (13-14, 4-12 Big East) in the second half en route to a 64-51 win Saturday night at Verizon Center.
Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. put on another one-man basketball clinic, scoring 28 points, grabbing eight boards and playing all but 20 seconds of the game. He was the only Hoya in double figures.
"I know who I'm voting for for Big East Player of the year,” Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice said after the game. “I give them all the credit in the world, especially Otto Porter. It’s tremendously hard to beat a very solid Georgetown team.”
Coming off a double-overtime victory over Connecticut Wednesday, the Hoyas were flat-footed out of the gate, trailing by as much as seven points midway through the first half.
But a flood of foul calls — 23 in the first half and 51 on the evening — helped bail the Hoyas out, allowing them to attempt more free throws (42) than field goals (33).
With Porter Jr. sent to the line seemingly every possession, Georgetown was able to crawl out of that deficit, amass their own advantage and then withstand a furious Rutgers rally to take a one-point lead into the intermission.
As it became clear that the Scarlet Knights couldn’t handle Porter Jr. without fouling, his teammates were able to feed him the ball repeatedly.
“I think that was part of Rutgers’ game plan today, to be really, really physical with Otto,” junior forward Nate Lubick said. “I think we did a pretty good job of using that to our advantage, putting him in situations where he was going to get fouled.”
Big plays by Porter Jr. and junior point guard Markel Starks helped break the game open after the intermission, although the Scarlet Knights refused to fold, cutting Georgetown’s lead to four with less than eight minutes to play.
When Rutgers junior forward Wally Judge, who had 11 points on the night, fouled out with 4:39 left in the game, Georgetown was able to close out the game with a 9-1 run in which all nine of the points came at the charity stripe.
“There were a lot of fouls made during that game, at both ends,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We shot a lot of foul shots because we were fouled a lot, I thought.”
One statistic that bore out Thompson’s point was that Porter Jr. earned as many points at the charity stripe on his own Saturday night as the entire squad did in 50 minutes against the Huskies.
Despite falling on the first weekend of Georgetown’s spring break, the Hoyas announced crowd was 12,931, a noisy group that was particularly incensed at several of the referees’ calls that went against Georgetown.
“We were home tonight and feeding off of positive energy as opposed to being on the road and feeding off negative energy,” Thompson III said.
Next up for the Hoyas is a road tilt at Villanova (18-11, 9-7 Big East). The Wildcats will be especially hungry for the victory since they sit on the NCAA tournament bubble, according to the latest projections by ESPN “Bracketologist” Joe Lunardi.
“We can sit and enjoy this for the bus ride home, but we have to get ready for a very difficult game up at Villanova,” Thompson III said.