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Porter Jr. and No. 20 Georgetown Close Out Rutgers Late, 69-63
WASHINGTON - After No. 20 Georgetown beat Rutgers, 69-63, at the Louis Brown Athletic Center Saturday afternoon, Head Coach John Thompson III said that sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./Scott County Central) did what Otto Porter Jr. tends to do in games.
After only four points in the first half, Porter Jr., a Wooden Award candidate, scored 15 points in the second half, including seven of Georgetown's last nine points and five of the last seven in the final 75 seconds as the Hoyas pulled away for the win.
Porter Jr. finished the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and added four assists to lead four players in double figures as the Hoyas hit 57.4 percent of their shots (27-of-47) - a BIG EAST season high - including 60.9 percent (14-of-23) in the second half.
The Hoyas, 16-4 overall and 6-3 in the BIG EAST, moved back in to the national rankings this week, appearing (at 20th).
Junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) scored a team-high 20 points to lead the way, while freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./Oak Hill) scored 13, points and sophomore center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) added 14 points, 12 of them in the second half.
Georgetown opened up a six-point lead (42-36) early in the second half, but the teams battled back and forth and there were three ties and 10 lead changes in the second half, the last tie at 60-all after Mike Poole hit two free throws for Rutgers with 4:53 left. Porter Jr. responded immediately with a jumper with 4:44 to play, giving the Hoyas the lead for good, 62-60.
Three minutes later, RU's [b]Wally Judge[/db] hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 62-61, but Starks assisted Porter Jr. on a conventional three-point play coming out of a timeout with 1:15 left, pushing the lead to 65-61. A layup from Eli Carter cut the lead to 65-63 with 56 seconds left, but Porter hit two free throws with 39 seconds left and Hopkins added two more with 14 seconds left, closing out the score at 69-63.
Tied at 33-all at the break, Hopkins scored Georgetown's first two baskets of the second half and forced Rutgers to call a timeout. A layup from Starks and a three-point play from Porter Jr. pushed the Georgetown lead to 42-36, but Rutgers went on a 10-2 run over 3:04 and took a 46-44 lead on a layup from Mike Poole with 13:19 left to play.
From that point, it was back and forth, with two ties and eight lead changes in the next 10 minutes. Hopkins hit two-straight baskets to give Georgetown a 48-46 lead and that started a 7-2 spurt over 1:41, capped by a driving Starks layup following a block from Hopkins with 11:07 to play.
The game was tied after the opening 20 minutes, with both teams shooting better than 50 percent from the field and from three-point land.
The Hoyas took an early 3-0 lead on a basket from Starks, but Rutgers went up 7-5 on free throws from Austin Johnson. An 8-0 Georgetown run, capped by a Starks layup, gave GU a 13-7 lead, and the Hoyas were up 15-9 after a layup from Smith-Rivera. The Scarlet Knights used a 6-0 run to tie the game at 15-all on a dunk from Johnson.
Starks broke the tie with a three and that triggered a 10-3 run over a span of 1:54 as the Hoyas opened up a 25-18 lead on a layup from Smith-Rivera with 6:20 to play in the half. Behind six points from Carter, Rutgers would go on an 11-2 run and took a 29-27 lead on a three-pointer from Jerome Seagears. A jumper from Smith-Rivera and a three from Starks in the final two minutes sent the game to the half tied.
The seniors with Rutgers will be the 44th meeting all-time between the schools, with the Hoyas leading the head-to-head series, 27-16. The Scarlet Knights are 11-9 at home, but GU has a 4-1 record in New Jersey under Head Coach John Thompson III, including a74-65 win during the 2010-11 season.
Georgetown is back in action on Monday for a BIG EAST Conference matchup against Marquette at Verizon Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN, with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery calling the action. Rich Chvotkin's radio call can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.