Hoyas facing Friars without Whittington

Hoyas facing Friars without Whittington
January 15, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Georgetown's weekend win over St. John's included deeper than normal contributions from its bench. That development is a welcome one for the Hoyas' long-term hopes -- and rather necessary Wednesday against Providence seeing as Greg Whittington's suspension remains intact.

Whittington, the Hoyas' second-leading scorer (12.1) and rebounder (7.0) sat out the 67-51 up-tempo win over the Red Storm due to a violation of team rules. Georgetown coach John Thompson III told reporters following Tuesday's practice that the sophomore forward would also miss the home matchup (7 p.m.) against the Friars, though provided no additional details or timetable for return.

Asked if a multi-game suspension indicates the Whittington committed a serious infraction, Thompson simply said, "Yeah."

Regardless as to why, the now unranked Hoyas must make do without the lengthy defensive presence. Good news: they have done it once before.

"It definitely changes how we prepare because he's one of our better players," Thompson said. "I think the guys responded well at the St. John's game. We have guys that are going to be asked to step up collectively. They're going to have to respond to do that again."

Otto Porter certainly stepped up with an All-Big East worthy performance after two suspect outings opening conference play, finishing with 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. He alone tallied 12 points in the first half while St. John's found itself stuck on 10.

"Otto had not played well for two games. That's a fact," Thompson stated. "It's no secret, it's hard for us to win games if you have Otto, Greg, Mikael [Hopkins] all having bad games. It's hard for us to win this year."

Ultimately Porter's contributions are already baked into the cake of any projected victory for the Hoyas. Same could be said for other key ingredients in the Georgetown's typical 7-man rotation, guard and 3-point threat Markel Starks plus rugged forward Nate Lubick.

Assuming part of a winning recipe involved freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera grabbing 10 rebounds or junior swingman Aaron Bowen playing a career-high 16 minutes or deep reserve John Caprio playing in the first half at all, hardly. Yet, it happened against St. John's.

Asked for what changed in the win compared to losses against Marquette and Pittsburgh, Lubick cited the team's emphasis on pushing the ball, and, "We got guys who stepped up and really played well for us off the bench. For us to be good moving forward we need that."

Considering Whittington is out and Hopkins, yet another sophomore forward, remains stuck in an all-court funk -- one point, two rebounds and 0 for 7 from the field over last two games - it might need to happen again.

What typically happens when the Hoyas and Friars (9-7, 1-3) meet is the Hoyas win, at least based on the past seven games including twice last season. For that to happen again, stifling Providence's backcourt pairing of Bryce Cotton and Vincent Council is a good place to start. Cotton, who had 23 in Sunday's win over Seton Hall, leads the Big East in scoring (21.6) but went 5 of 25 from the field in two games against Georgetown last season. Council has averaged 7.4 assists in five games since returning from a lengthy hamstring injury.