The No. 7 Georgetown men’s basketball team (23-4, 13-3 Big East) took on Rutgers (13-14, 4-12 Big East) at home Saturday night, bringing in their eleventh win in a row. The first half revealed a close contest as Rutgers did not let the Hoyas pull away with a significant lead, but foul trouble in the second half for the Scarlet Knights would be their undoing. After only leading by 1 point coming into the second half, 16 made free throw attempts would allow the Hoyas to secure a final score of 64-51 over Rutgers.
The stand out performance belonged to none other than sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., who posted 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals for the Hoyas. No other Georgetown player would break the double-figure mark in scoring but both junior guard Markel Starks and freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera brought in 9 apiece while junior center Moses Ayegba pulled down 7 rebounds. Ayegba was a strong presence down low in the second half as he helped Georgetown out-rebound Rutgers 35 to 27 in the game.
“Well, I know who I’m voting for for BIG EAST Player of the Year,” said Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice of Porter in his opening statement.
This matchup was physical throughout as it ended with a total of 51 combined personal fouls for the two teams. Porter alone was sent to the line to take 18 attempts, of which he made 15 and gave Georgetown an offensive boost that was reflected in the final score. With the Rutgers defenders prone to fouling, Porter noticeably took the ball inside more frequently instead of relying on long jumpers.
“That’s the way tonight played out. They were very physical. There were a lot of fouls made during that game at both ends. In the second half, both of us were in the 1-and-1 with 15 minutes left. It’s one of those games that puts pressure on the officials, because when there’s a foul called every possession down the court, then they start looking at the scoreboard,” said Head Coach John Thompson III.
The Hoyas effectively emulated their signature stingy defense as Rutgers struggled mightily to get the ball inside for the better part of the game. Their 54 field goal attempts were a direct effect of tough defense from Georgetown. The Hoyas managed to keep the Scarlet Knights out on the perimeter for the most part while not committing an exorbitant number of fouls. Rutgers only took 15 free throws and, luckily for the Hoyas, only made 6 of those.
By extending their winning streak, Georgetown is in prime position to move up in the national rankings after the weekend and remains atop the Big East standings. Next up for the Hoyas is a road game at Villanova this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Although Villanova (18-11, 9-7 Big East) is coming off of a 1-point loss to Seton Hall, they have proven their ability to beat high-caliber teams earlier in the season, with wins against both Syracuse and Louisville.
“Tonight’s over and this is how we operate. Now we’re going to put all of our energy towards Villanova. If you have enough good halves, that turns into a few good games. If you get enough good wins, that turns into a good season. But we can’t talk about the season yet. We have to keep thinking about that half, that possession, and I think we’ve had that mindset all year and that’s how we’re going to continue to move forward,” said Thompson.
File Photo: Abigail Greene/Georgetown Voice (Feb. 20, 2012, vs. DePaul)