As one of just two seniors on the Georgetown roster, Jason Clark is expected to provide the Hoyas with that extra effort every now and then.
Tuesday night was one of those times as just before tip-off starting point guard Markel Starks came up ill forcing Coach John Thompson III to make a change to his starting lineup for the first time in 18 games this season.
Clark responded with a career-high 31 points to go along with five rebounds and four steals in leading tenth-ranked Georgetown to an 83-75 victory over DePaul in front of 8,322 at All State Arena in Rosemont, IL.
Henry Sims (16 points) and Hollis Thompson (14 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Georgetown (15-3, 5-2) as the Hoyas won their second road game in three days to take over sole possession of third place in the Big East.
Clark, a day removed from his twenty-second birthday, continued the celebrations by hitting 11 of his 14 shots, including five of seven three-pointers, to snap out of a recent slump that had the senior shooting a career-low 33.3 percent from deep entering the game.
“I think it was coming through our offense,” Clark said afterwards about getting back on track shooting-wise.
“I’d been on a stretch where I haven’t been, you know, making a lot of three-pointers but today they were falling.”
Clark’s scoring outburst marked just the seventh time in Coach Thompson III’s eight years (251 games) at Georgetown that a player eclipsed the 30-point mark in a single game.
Freshman Otto Porter received his first ever start and responded with a career-high 15 rebounds as the Hoyas dominated DePaul 47 to 25 on the glass.
Georgetown took a 37-31 lead into the break and extended it to 48-38 after a Sims layup but DePaul (10-8, 1-5) got right back in it.
Moses Morgan, who went for 17 points off the bench and matched Clark’s five three-pointers in the process, helped spark an 8-0 DePaul run that narrowed the gap to 48-46.
The Hoyas responded with a 12-2 spurt to push their lead back up to twelve at 60-48 with 9:47 remaining after a Clark three-pointer hit nothing but the bottom of the net.
Georgetown kept DePaul at arm’s length the rest of the way in improving to a perfect 7-0 against the Blue Demons in Big East play.
Somewhat predictably on night when the Hoyas were without the services of their primary ball handler in Starks, an old problem came back to haunt Georgetown against a Blue Demons team that loves to pressure the ball in Coach Oliver Purnell’s second-year.
After committing just 12 turnovers in Sunday’s 69-49 win over St. John’s, Georgetown had 18 giveaways against DePaul, led by Porter’s career-high five, as the forward played a larger role than usual in breaking the press.
Turnovers weren’t the only problem as poor free throw shooting (16-of-28 for 57.1 percent) plagued Georgetown on an otherwise banner shooting night. The Hoyas shot 52.6 percent from the field an even better 53.8 percent from three-point range.
Both the turnovers and the missed foul shots kept the Blue Demons in the game longer than perhaps their own play merited.
“Road wins in this league are very difficult to come by,” Coach Thompson III said about his team’s third win in four league games this season.
“To that extent, it was a good day. I don’t like our execution at the end. To come in here and win is good but we have to do better.”
Possibly lost in the shuffle was Nate Lubick’s career-high six assists after logging 27 minutes, the most time the sophomore forward had seen since going for 29 minutes nearly two months ago in a 67-63 loss to Kansas in Maui.
Up Next: Georgetown returns home to take on Rutgers (11-8, 3-3) on Saturday January 21st at noon in a game that can be seen live on MASN. The Scarlett Knights are led by freshmen Eli Carter (13.7 ppg) and Myles Mack (10.2 ppg).
Hoyas Notes: With his five three-pointers, Jason Clark passed former Hoya Gerald Riley to move into fourth place in school history with 166 career three-pointers.