Reporting Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON – The 15th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas seemingly dared a second straight opponent at the Verizon Center to score more points than them on Saturday afternoon.
Once again the visitors didn’t take the bait as the Hoyas used an offensive performance from a bygone era to claim a fourth straight victory in defeating Towson 46-40.
Greg Whittington led the way with 11 points while three other Hoyas- Otto Porter Jr, Nate Lubick, and Mikael Hopkins – chipped in 10 points apiece as Georgetown (7-1) shot just 29 percent for the game despite hitting half of its shots in the second half.
“It’s got to get better,” John Thompson III promised afterwards.
“We’re immature offensively, in that we have a lot of guys that are thinking, trying to figure out what to do, what reads to make. It’s something we have to work on.”
The youngest team in the current Associated Press Top 25, Georgetown doesn’t have a senior on its roster. Hollis Thompson departed early for the NBA. Vee Sanford opted to try his luck at Dayton.
The other player from that class – Jerrelle Benimon – was at Verizon Center on Saturday but the forward doesn’t suit up for the Hoyas anymore.
In his first season with Towson, the transfer would prove his worth by both recognizing Georgetown’s Princeton heavy offense and controlling the paint for much of the afternoon.
Benimon (11 points, 16 rebounds) brought the Tigers (4-5) to within 42-20 on a three-pointer with 4:37 remaining. Georgetown kept Towson off the scoreboard the rest of the way and used a 4-0 run to close out the game.
“He might know what we are trying to do more than some of the guys in our locker room,” Thompson III joked about Benimon’s knowledge of the Georgetown offense as compared to some of his current roster.
“He’s a very smart player and he’s a tough player.”
It wasn’t the prettiest win, but some of that may have been by design, especially after a first half where the Hoyas grabbed more rebounds (22) than points scored (17).
“It was one of those games we said, let’s try and make it as ugly as possible,” Thompson III said about his halftime discussion.
“This group, we can win a lot of different ways. We can win at a fast pace. We can win at a slow pace. We can win at what purists might call pretty, but we can also win ugly. I thought that in the second half, we had to win ugly today.”
After narrowly besting Tennessee 37-36 eight days ago in the lowest scoring game of the shot clock era for the Hoyas, things weren’t much better in the first twenty minutes against Towson.
Georgetown started the game shooting just 2-for-24 and had to get hot – by making 3-of-6 – to finish the half shooting 17 percent. Surprisingly, it was good enough for a 17-15 lead.
The Hoyas picked it up in the second half, mostly focusing on going inside to the bigs – Lubick and Hopkins. Their reward was getting to the line 17 times, making eleven of them, and shooting 9-of-18 from the field as a team.
“We wanted to just pound it inside and our guys figured out if we keep doing that we’re going to get fouled because of how they were playing us,” said Thompson III.
“Defensively we junked it up a little bit.”
After going 1-31 in his first season at Towson, Pat Skerry is benefiting from three former Big East players – Mike Burwell (South Florida), Bilal Dixon (Providence) and Benimon.
In a bit of a scheduling oddity, Towson just completed the ninth game of a ten game road swing to open the season.
Notes: The Hoyas have held three straight opponents – Tennessee, Texas, Towson – to under 41 points. The last time that happened was in the 1942-43 season. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s free throw with nine seconds left was the lone bench point for the Hoyas.
Up Next: Georgetown hosts Longwood on Monday night. It is the first ever meeting between the two schools. In their first season as a member of the Big South, Longwood is currently 2-6, having not played since a December 1 loss to Dartmouth.