WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Over the past few weeks Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. has proven that he is anything but your average college student.
Porter Jr. has led the Hoyas back into the national rankings and at the same time established himself as the front runner for Big East player of the year. He’s even put himself in the mix for National awards.
But like all college kids, the do-everything sophomore forward knows that free is, well, good. He proved it on Saturday night.
Porter Jr. led seventh-ranked Georgetown to a 64-51 victory over visiting Rutgers by scoring 15 of his game-high 28 points from the free throw line as the Hoyas won their eleventh straight game in front of 12,931 at the Verizon Center.
The special late night edition of Big East hoops quickly turned into a choppy, hack-fest with very little flow right from the beginning. In the first half alone Georgetown made 14 free throws while attempting just 14 shots from the field.
A week after going for a career-high 33 points in a win against Syracuse that got the country talking about the Hoyas as a dark-horse No. 1-seed in the NCAA tournament, Porter Jr. merely adjusted to the way the game was being called.
“I just have to do whatever necessary to win,” Porter explained. “I think my teammates feel the same way, and the coaches.”
“When you can get to the hole, get fouled and shoot free throws – they’re free so you want to shoot free throws.”
And it wasn’t just points as Porter Jr. once again proved to be a stat stuffer with eight rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and four steals. Over the last three games he has played 129 out of 130 minutes while committing just three turnovers.
Georgetown (23-4, 13-3) remained in sole possession of first place in the conference standings by a game over Marquette and Louisville with two games remaining. The Hoyas tied their longest ever Big East winning streak that they set during the 2006-07 season.
Other notable accomplishments from that season include: Big East regular season crown, Big East tournament championship, and a trip to the Final Four in Atlanta – the same location as this season’s event.
Georgetown finally put away a pesky Rutgers (13-14, 4-12) squad, and woke up the arena, when Porter Jr cleaned up a Markel Starks (nine points) missed floater with a thunderous dunk to give the Hoyas a 41-37 lead with 12:01 remaining in the game.
It’s becoming harder and harder to believe that just a year ago Porter Jr’s play wasn’t enough to land him on the Big East All-Rookie team. Seven players placed ahead of him – eight if you include Fab Melo who won the individual award.
The times, they are a changing.
On a weekly Thursday conference call Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had no problems calling out Porter Jr. as the best player in the land. The next day John Thompson III joked with reporters for taking so long in seeing what he’s seen all along in his star pupil.
Well, Rutgers coach Mike Rice is the latest member of the Otto Fan Club that is picking up steam.
“I saw a really good player [last year], and I don’t know if anybody in this room could’ve predicted what he is right now, how efficient, how strong, just mentally he’s unbelievable,” Rice said. “It’s not close who is the Big East player of the year right now. To be honest, if he keeps continuing, it’s not even close national player of the year.”
Notes: Porter Jr.’s 15 made free throws were the most by a Georgetown player since Mike Sweetney hit 16 in the NIT semi final against Minnesota on April 1, 2003. Georgetown attempted a season low 33 field goals while setting season highs for free throws made (30) and attempted (42). If Georgetown and Rutgers never meet again as conference members, the Hoyas will walk away with 20-8 advantage.
Up Next: Georgetown will travel up I-95 to take on longtime rivals Villanova in Philadelphia on Wednesday night in its last road game of the season. The Hoyas have won eight of their last nine games against the Wildcats, including three out of the last four at the Wells Fargo Center.