On Monday night, one of the hottest teams in college basketball, no. 15 Georgetown (18-4, 8-3 Big East), grinded out a 63-55 win over no. 18 Marquette (17-6, 8-3 Big East). The Hoyas have now won six straight games and eight of their last nine, putting them at second place in the Big East.
As has been the case during this streak, sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. and junior guard Markel Starks led the way for Georgetown. Porter Jr. finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. It is the fifth time Porter Jr. has scored over 20 points this season. Starks had 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Junior forward Nate Lubick also reached double figures with 10 points and a team-high of four assists. Lubick did most of his damage from the free throw line where he had eight free throws. Sophomore Mikael Hopkins had a career-high and game-high of 9 rebounds and also added 6 points and 3 blocks.
“God bless him. [Hopkins] has to do it again on Saturday,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “He did a good job in that regard, but he is supposed to do a good job in that regard.”
The Hoyas held Marquette’s leading scorer Vander Blue to just 7 points and powerful forward Davante Gardner to 2 points. Georgetown also caused 19 Marquette turnovers including 11 in the first half.
“Mikael [Hopkins], Nate [Lubick], and Moses [Ayegba] did a good job of not letting their big men get the ball down low,” Thompson said.
Marquette grabbed an early 11-6 lead five minutes into the game. The Golden Eagles scored easy baskets in the post including 6 points from center Chris Otule. The Hoyas quickly responded, though, with 2 three pointers from Starks that started a 10-2 Georgetown run. The Blue and Gray claimed a 14-11 advantage that they would not lose for the rest of the game.
“I think our big guys got in a rhythm of what they were trying to do,” Thompson said. “We didn’t necessarily make a tactical change. Our big guys just did a better job of guarding [Otule].”
The two teams went back and forth for the most of the half until the Hoyas broke through in the final 5:18 of the half. With the score at 20-18, Georgetown went on a 13-5 run in which five different Hoyas scored. The Hoyas were ahead 33-23 at halftime with the help of Marquette’s 11 first half turnovers.
In the second half, Marquette’s Jamil Wilson’s three pointer cut Georgetown’s advantage to 37-34. A technical foul on Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams for arguing with officials helped to ignite an 8-1 Georgetown point streak. Porter hit 4 free throws and a jumper. The Golden Eagles wouldn’t get much closer for the rest of the game.
“I was trying to get my average up in technicals,” Marquette head coach Buzz Williams joked. “I am averaging one every 50 games. I think anytime you get a technical it is a bad time.”
Georgetown cannot rest on its laurels for too long. On Friday night, the Hoyas travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats. On Monday, Cincinnati dropped out of the national rankings after two straight losses.
File Photo: Miles Gavin Meng (Feb. 2, 2013, vs. St. John’s)