Reporting Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON – When Georgetown’s schedule was released in early September, not much attention was given to the slate of home games during final exams.
Earlier games against higher profile opponents such as Florida, UCLA, Texas, and even the possibility of a matchup with top-ranked Indiana commanded much of the talk.
But with a struggling offense that put up a combined 83 points in consecutive home wins over Tennessee and Towson, Monday night’s first-ever encounter with the newest member of the Big South suddenly became a bigger deal than almost anyone could have imagined.
The 15th-ranked Hoyas awoke from their recent offensive slumber in an emphatic 89-53 win over Longwood that saw Otto Porter Jr reach career-highs in points (22) and assists (seven) while the defense forced 30 turnovers, the most since December 13, 2003 – the season prior to John Thompson III’s arrival.
Georgetown (8-1) managed to turn those 30 turnovers into 47 points, more than they scored in either of its prior two home games.
“I thought that our full court defense, our pressure, our presses, were very effective,” Thompson III said after the Hoyas fifth straight win.
“I felt like [Longwood] either turned the ball over or got the shot that they wanted. Our half court defense wasn’t as good as it can be, but our pressure definitely affected them in the half court as well as the full court.”
When the Hoyas weren’t pressing and forcing turnovers, they were finding each other on offense, as evidenced by a season-high 25 assists.
Porter Jr wasn’t the only Hoya with a career-high assist number as fellow forward Nate Lubick also got in on the act with seven of his own to go along with six points, four rebounds, and two steals in a performance the earned high marks from his coach.
“I haven’t studied the numbers today, but I think in particular, Nate Lubick was very good today,” Thompson III said.
“He was very, very good at every aspect of the game today to tell you the truth.”
Markel Starks chipped in with 17 points, highlighted by 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range just two days after missing all five of his long distance attempts against Towson.
Georgetown used a 19-6 run to start the second half in order to turn a 40-24 halftime lead into a 59-30 advantage, its largest margin of the game to that point. It was that lead that allowed Thompson III to finally empty his bench as conference play looms heavy on the horizon.
Seldom used reserves Moses Ayegba, Stephen Domingo, and Aaron Bowen all contributed in their time on the court. Ayegba’s five rebounds in 13 minutes actually led the Hoyas even though Longwood (2-7) owned a 36-26 edge on the glass.
“I think it’s a situation where guys are going to be ready once they get in,” Thompson said about what he epects when he extends his rotation
“Everyone in that locker room expects that that once they get in the game, they do what they should do without much drop-off.”
Up Next: The third game in a four-game home stretch continues on Saturday at noon when Georgetown welcomes Western Carolina to the Verizon Center. It will be the first ever matchup between the Hoyas and Catamounts.
Notes: For the second time in three games, starting center Mikael Hopkins played just nine minutes. The sophomore was limited with four fouls. After hitting 3-of-4 three-pointers against UCLA in Brooklyn, Greg Whittington is just 5-of-26 over the last six games.