Porter injured in Hoyas opening win over Duquesne

porter.jpg

Porter injured in Hoyas opening win over Duquesne

Two nights after Georgetown's aircraft carrier game went the no contest route out because of wet conditions, the inexperienced Hoyas officially opened their regular season with a "sloppy," albeit winning performance against Duquesne.

Losing Otto Porter early on with a head injury complicated matters. So did Georgetown's half court offensive struggles and the Dukes feisty resolve.

As it turned out, the Hoyas survived without the heralded forward, downing Duquesne 61-55 victory in the opening round of the Legends Classic on Sunday night at the Verizon Center thanks to freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's splashy shooting debut and Greg Whittington's manly rebounding.

The scoreless Porter left the court wincing in pain with 11:55 remaining, never returning to the bench.

"He's being monitored. He got hit in the head and as a precaution we just said let's not put him back in. It was close," said a John Thompson IIII. The Georgetown coach was unable to report in this postgame press conference whether Porter had suffered a concussion.

The Hoyas (1-0) blew most of an 11-point lead inside the final four minutes before winning their eighth straight season-opener under the ninth-year coach.

Georgetown played Friday against Florida on the U.S.S. Bataan, but the outdoor contest was called at halftime due to a slippery surface, making the home game the actual season opener.

Smith-Rivera sank his first six attempts including four first half bombs from beyond arc and finished with 19 points, missing only his final shot of the game. Whittington grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, none more important than an offensive board snared after Jabril Trawick missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 28 seconds left and Georgetown up 56-53. Fouled by the Dukes, Whittington sank two free throws extending the lead to 58-53.

"I just went up to go get that rebound," Whittington said. "There was nothing to it. I just went up and got it."

Smith-Rivera made three of four free throws over the final 19 seconds to seal the ugly win.

"I think both teams were sloppy," Thompson said. "We definitely were sloppy at both ends of the court. It's early. It definitely felt like the season opener. We have a long way to go."

Mikael Hopkins finished with 13 points and his layup with 3:59 remaining put the Hoyas up 54-43. Over the next three minutes, Georgetown committed two of its 17 turnovers.

Duquesne (0-2) put together a 10-2 run before Whittington's board work and the final free throws iced the game. Sean Johnson led the Dukes with 21 points.

As for his rebounding ace, Thompson said, "I thought that Greg was very, very good today. He got 15 rebounds I believe and most of them are what I call "man rebounds." They aren't just the ones that just fell to him. He went and got them, up and over the rim."

The stocky 6-foot-3 Smith-Rivera, the top-rated among Georgetown's four freshman, entered four minutes into the game. Just 16 seconds later, his first official shot went up. Swish. Four more made 3-pointers in the half followed, though the final attempt was waved off, coming a split-second after the halftime buzzer.

"He can shoot, he can score, and he's a very good passer," Thompson said. "Just so happened tonight he was the recipient and our guys found him and he put the ball in the basket - but we needed that, there is no doubt about it."

The Indianapolis native tacked on another jumper in the first half. The Hoyas needed all of it; while Smith-Rivera went 5 of 5 in the half, his teammates finished 5 of 22. The ball movement was a touch better in the second half, but the Hoyas usual back door looks were non-existent until Nate Lubick hit a cutting Markel Starks for a layup and a 58-53 lead inside the final minute.

"I thought we were forcing too much," Thompson said. "We were hunting too much for our points instead of just making the ball move. That one possession we went through a whole series of things, stayed with it a little longer and we get a layup."

Other times in the closing minutes and throughout the game, the young Hoyas - six of the nine players that saw action are freshman or sophomores - proved impatient.

"We're coming down, it's under three minutes and we don't have a clear advantage and we're still trying to push it up," Thompson said. "I guess that's what this time of year is for, to figure it out."

College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

usatsi_9281757.jpg

College Football Playoff projections: Let's not overthink this

Did Penn State play their way into the playoff? Michigan has to be in, right? Did Ohio State fall out of top four? Will Washington hang on?

Following all the action on Saturday, there was plenty of debate over who the top four teams should be. Most of the questions surround what to do with the three Big Ten teams contenders.

Ohio State and Michigan are clearly two of the best teams in the country, but neither of them won their division. That honor went to Penn State who also won the conference championship on Saturday, the same Penn State team who beat Ohio State but who also lost twice this season.

For the first time since the College Football Playoff started, there is a real, genuine debate over who the top four will be.

But not really.

SEE THE FINAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

If you're just asking who the committee will put into the playoff, the committee actually tipped its hand last week with its rankings:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Washington
  5. Michigan
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State

For everyone saying Michigan should be in the top four, well, they weren't in the top four last week, they didn't play this week, none of the four teams ahead of them did anything to hurt their respective resumes, so what makes anyone out there think the Wolverines are suddenly going to vault into the top four? It's not going to happen.

If Penn State were to make the playoff, it wouldn't be over Washington or Clemson who were already ranked ahead of the Nittany Lions and also won their respective conferences on Saturday. Neither team did anything to hurt themselves, so Penn State won't vault over them. Could they jump Ohio State who they beat head-to-head? That seems doubtful considering the committee declared the Buckeyes the second-best team in the country on Tuesday. That tells me the committee sees them as "unequivocally" one the top teams.

So debate away. When it comes to college football, that's what makes it so fun. But really, there's not that much to debate about. The committee showed last week who they thought the four best teams were and there's no reason to think that will change based on what we saw Saturday.

Find out who will make this year's playoff here with the final College Football Playoff projections.

Hokies can't contain Deshaun Watson in ACC Championship game loss

usatsi_9721943.jpg
USA Today Sports

Hokies can't contain Deshaun Watson in ACC Championship game loss

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Deshaun Watson bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy by passing for three touchdowns and running for two more to lead third-ranked Clemson to a 42-35 victory over No. 19 Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday night.

Winning consecutive league titles for the first time in 28 years likely will send the Tigers (12-1, No. 3 CFP) back to the four-team College Football Playoff for the second straight year, providing Watson with an opportunity to resolve unfinished business from last January, when his team lost to Alabama in the national championship game.

The Clemson star completed 23 of 34 passes for 288 yards, including TDs of 21 and 10 yards to Jordan Leggett and 15 yards to Hunter Renfrow for a 42-28 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He also rushed for 85 yards on 17 attempts for the Tigers. They've won back-to-back ACC titles for the first time since winning three straight from 1986-88.

Watson's Virginia Tech counterpart, Jerod Evans, was just as impressive. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound ran for two touchdowns and rallied the Hokies from a 21-point deficit to make it close at the end.

The Hokies (9-4, No. 23 CFP) scored on three straight possessions, trimming what was once a 35-14 deficit to seven points on Evans' 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter and Cam Phillips' 26-yard TD reception with just under 6 minutes remaining.

Virginia Tech got the ball back with a chance to force overtime. Evans drove his team to the Clemson 23, where the drive stalled when Tigers cornerback Cordrea Tankersley intercepted a pass on fourth-and-6.