Reporting Bobby Bancroft
Making up for lost time, Otto Porter Jr. turned in one of the top all-around performances of the early college basketball season in leading Georgetown to a 78-70 upset win over 11th-ranked UCLA on Monday night in the semifinals of the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center.
Porter Jr., the sophomore preseason All-American candidate, kept the courtside bookkeeper in Brooklyn busy by tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, and three assists after playing just six minutes in the Hoyas (3-0) first two games.
“Otto’s first full game, if you look at the stat sheet, which I normally don’t focus on, was a full game,” coach John Thompson III said in the post game interviews.
“Then there was a lot of other stuff he did that doesn’t show up on this piece of paper. We’re a better team with him on the court and it was good to have him back.”
Thompson III was right. The Hoyas were much better with Porter Jr. on the court after recovering from a head injury that resulted in a minor concussion.
With Porter Jr. back in the lineup the Hoyas offensive finally clicked even with a severe upgrade in opposition. Georgetown posted season bests of 50 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range as well as 54.5 percent (30-of-55) from the field.
Markel Starks also contributed a career-high 23 points as Georgetown moved on to face top-ranked Indiana in the championship game on Tuesday night at 10 PM.
The Hoosiers defeated Georgia in the first game of the doubleheader, 66-53.
After two unspectacular wins over Duquesne and Liberty to open the season, the Hoyas used a 12-0 run after halftime fueled by two Greg Whittington (13 points) three-pointers to extend its lead to 43-29.
UCLA (3-1) made a late push behind last year’s Naismith High School Player of the Year Shabazz Muhammad who finished with 15 points in his first collegiate contest. Muhammad only became eligible after missing the Bruins first three games due to receiving impermissible benefits.
Jordan Adams led the Bruins with 22 points. Adams was a teammate of Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera last season at Oak Hill (VA).
For the second consecutive season, an unranked Georgetown team pulled off a Top 25 upset in a preseason tournament. Last season the Hoyas took down then-No. 8 Memphis in Maui.
Notes: Georgetown is now 1-2 all-time against UCLA. 1984 NCAA Champion and three time All-American Patrick Ewing (’85) sat courtside with former teammate Ralph Dalton. Despite both making the 2007 Final Four, Monday’s meeting was the first between Thompson III and UCLA coach Ben Howland.
Up Next: Indiana (4-0). The all-time series is knotted at 1-1 with the last meeting coming in December 1979.