Reporting Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON – Despite having just completed their last final exams of the fall semester, John Thompson III gave his players one more homework assignment before sending them off on an extra-long winter break.
The subject was offensive rebounding and the players eventually earned the grade after a slow start.
As a result 15th-ranked Georgetown took down cross-town rivals American 65-48 in winning its seventh straight game on Saturday afternoon at the Verizon Center.
Georgetown’s lone loss remains to then top-ranked Indiana in the championship game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn last month.
Otto Porter Jr led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds while Greg Whittington added 13 points as the Hoyas (10-1) used a 16-0 run on both sides of halftime to blow open a relatively close affair.
“I thought that stretch was pretty good, particularly the start of the second half where we got some offensive rebounds,” Thompson III explained after Porter Jr, Whittington, and Nate Lubick each grabbed two offensive rebounds a piece in the second twenty minutes.
“That was part of the halftime discussions; we gotta go after offensive rebounds. I was pleased with that stretch.”
Georgetown grabbed just one offensive rebound in the first half despite holding a 40-25 lead over the Eagles (4-8).
Things picked up on the glass for the Hoyas in the second half as Georgetown finished with nine offensive rebounds and ended the game with a 42-30 overall edge on the boards.
The Hoyas must now wait for two weeks before playing again when they open the Big East portion of their schedule on the road against Marquette on January 5th. During a media availability on Thursday, Thompson III explained that the large gap around the Holidays was not by design.
Georgetown has had a game on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day in each of the past three seasons. Last season the Hoyas defeated both Louisville and Providence before even starting the new year.
As a result, the Hoyas scheduled accordingly only to be let down by the league offices in Providence.
For a team on a hot streak that has quickly risen in the polls out of nowhere for the second straight season, the delay isn’t a concern for Thompson III or the players.
“We’re 10-1, so we just want to come back after Christmas Break and keep it up, continue to play good basketball,” Porter Jr said after posting his third double-double of the season.
Added Thompson III: “I don’t think that’s going to be an issue at all, because it’s Big East play. With conference play starting now, there are a few things we need to make adjustments to, a few things we need to work on, so it gives us uninterrupted time to do that.”
Jabril Trawick, coming off his career high 14 points last weekend against Western Carolina, threw down an alley-oop on a feed from Porter Jr that brought the crowd of 9,867 to their feet and also gave Georgetown its largest lead of the game at 60-34 with 9:56 remaining. The sophomore guard finished with seven points, four rebounds, and four assists.
From there, American closed the game on a 14-5 run while Thompson III tried out different lineups in giving reserves Aaron Bowen, Stephen Domingo, and Moses Ayegba more than their normal share of minutes.
Notes: Recently released UCLA transfer center Josh Smith was in attendance behind the Georgetown bench. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 10 points and 5.5 rebounds in 70 games for the Bruins. One of the top recruits coming out of high school three years ago, Smith will be eligible for three more semesters beginning next December. Numerous reports indicate that the Hoyas are in Smith’s final three along with Kansas and Washington.