Hoyas Talk: Did Porter's career-night erase scoring concerns?

Hoyas Talk: Did Porter's career-night erase scoring concerns?
December 11, 2012, 10:45 am
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Surprisingly No. 15 Georgetown's Monday night contest against Longwood carried with it some measure of intrigue at the start, courtesy of its recent scuffling offense. Any actual in-game suspense ended quickly, though the 89-53 win did not remove all concerns.

The Hoyas' turnover-generating defense that helped produce more points than Georgetown had scored more in its two previous home games combined. Otto Porter and Nate Lubick posted career numbers and the Big East crew simply outmanned its Big South opposition.

*Longwood committed 30 turnovers, the most by a Georgetown opponent in the John Thompson III era, which led to a staggering 47 points. Credit the Hoyas full court pressure, which befuddled the Lancers throughout (the visitors hurt their own cause with many blunders and looked like a team that averages around 20 turnovers per game). The constant giveaways also quickened the game's pace, which is where this athletic Georgetown team - one without a true low post threat, a consistent high post passer, and a bevy of perimeter shooters - is best served. Even in this matchup the Hoyas halfcourt sets struggled at times with constant side-to-side passing during the first half.

*Say it with me again, but Porter is a stat-stuffer: 22 points and seven assists, both career-highs, while four steals matched his personal best. The All-American candidate also shot 8-of-11 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line; the made field goals and both ends of the free throw stats established new season highs. Not even an inadvertent blow to the head by a teammate - believed to be Moses Ayegba - could slow Porter down. At this point there is little the poised sophomore can do that will stun any regular observers, though it was nice seeing him take as many free throws as he had in previous four games combined.

*While it's somewhat difficult to worry about the Hoyas being outrebounded 36-26 considering the game's flow and Georgetown making 53.7 percent of its shots. Then again when the competitive for the first 14 minutes the Hoyas certainly were losing the battle on the boards to a demonstratively smaller team as Longwood outrebounded Georgetown 22-9 before halftime.

"It’s always a concern when you’re outrebounded, so it’s not something that we’re going to put our head in the sand and pretend like it didn’t happen," Thompson said. "We have to address that."

The Hoyas have lost the rebounding battle five if the last seven games and on the season are minus-5 on the boards. Haven't checked the record books yet, but I'm guessing it's been a while since the Hoyas were on the wrong side of this ledger at this point in a season.

*Porter wasn't the only Hoya doling out the assists. Lubick matched Porter with seven assists, also a career-high (Georgetown finished with a season-high 25), while serving as a steady presence on both ends of the court.

"I haven’t studied the numbers today, but I think in particular, Nate Lubick was very good today," said his coach, not one always at ease with the public praise. "He was very, very good at every aspect of the game today to tell you the truth."

Perhaps a subtle but telling sign about Thompson's respect for Lubick's presence came during the second half. Ready to give his deep bench minutes with the margin rising, Thompson didn't simply put out five reserves, many of who have received little to date, and say go play. He kept Porter and Lubick on the court with 17-year-old Stephen Domingo, center Moses Ayegba, swingman Aaron Bowen and others. Having those two experienced hands help set the tone, put everyone in their proper place, a task that should not be overlooked considering the importance of the Hoyas building up their bench. Several times in a short span Lubick found a cutting Domingo, who scored seven points in 18 minutes.

*Markel Starks finished with 17 points, draining 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. The rest of the Hoyas from distance, a combined 2 of 15. Most notably Greg Whittington missed all five of his attempts as his struggles from beyond the 3-point arc (and elsewhere) continue. The sophomore finished 4 of 12 overall and is shooting 31.1 percent (14 of 45) over his last four games.

*Mikael Hopkins picked up four fouls and zero rebounds in only nine minutes. Asked about the limited minutes, Thompson said he was not frustrated with Hopkins, that the situation simply provided the coach with an opportunity to use other player, combinations. It's worth noting this is the second time in three games Hopkins has played less than 10 minutes and in both cases the 6-foot-9 forward did not grab a rebound. On the other hand, Ayegba tallied a team-high five rebounds - three offensive - in 13 minutes. "Moses rebounded well, which was something that we need," Thompson said.

*Georgetown hosts Western Carolina (4-6) on Saturday at noon. Move past the losing record and note earlier this month the Catamounts stood tied with No. 13 Illinois with less than six minutes left before losing 72-64.