We Are Georgetown: USF on the slate for the Hoyas tonight

55After substantially defeating two future Catholic 7 members, Georgetown (12-3, 2-2 Big East) will look to pick up a third straight win against South Florida (9-7, 0-4 Big East) tonight in Tampa, Florida. The Hoyas will look to claim a winning record in Big East play while the Bulls will try to pick up their first Big East win of the year.

On Wednesday, Georgetown surged to a 38-19 lead over Providence by halftime but Providence came back in the second half to reduce the lead to seven points. The Blue and Gray would go on to win, though, 74-65.

The Hoyas have shown more offensive firepower over the past two games even though they have been playing without their second leading scorer, sophomore forward Greg Whittington. They have averaged 70.5 points per game in that span – an improvement from averaging 46.5 points per game in their losses to Marquette and Pittsburgh.

“We are playing at a much faster pace than we had at the beginning of the season,” junior guard Markel Starks said on Wednesday night. “That is us playing as a unit playing and more together. As long as we keep sharing the ball and playing together, we will be fine.”

One of the reasons for this offensive explosion has been the increased scoring of sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. Porter Jr. has tallied 39 points over the past two games, 20 against Providence and 19 against St. Johns. In addition, Starks has upped his scoring over the past two games, posting 16 points against Providence and 17 points against St. John’s.

“[Porter and Starks] are back in to that rhythm,” Head Coach John Thompson III said after the win over Providence. “Both of these guys were very good today.”

It appears as if the Hoyas will be without Whittington for the third straight game. He was ruled academically ineligible earlier this week.

“Greg is one of our better players and we miss him,” Thompson said. “That being said you have to adjust a few things strategically. Guys have to step up and play.”

On the other side of the ball, South Florida has lost four straight games with all these losses coming in conference. On Thursday, the Bulls suffered a tough 70-67 loss to Rutgers in New Brunswick. South Florida nearly defeated a Rutgers team that has won three of its past four games. In the final minute, Martino Brock missed a three-point attempt that would have tied the game.

Georgetown forwards Nate Lubick, Mikael Hopkins, and Moses Ayegba will have their hands full tonight as most of South Florida’s offensive production comes from their post players. South Florida’s leading scorer and rebounder is junior forward Victor Rudd who averages 11.4 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. South’s Florida other threat in the frontcourt is senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick who has recorded 10.8 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game.

In the backcourt, the Hoyas will have to contain senior guard Jawanza Poland and sophomore guard Anthony Collins. Even though he is not a starter, Poland clearly can affect the game. He has posted 10.4 points per game and 5 rebounds per game so far this year. The senior guard scored 17 points against Rutgers on Thursday night. Collins is an adept passer who has registered an impressive 7.1 assists per game to go along with 9.6 points per game. Collins’ 7.1 assists per game is more than double any Georgetown player’s assists per game.

Tip-off is set for 6 pm from the USF Sun Dome. Tune in to ESPN3.

Photo: John Delgado-McCollum

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