Whittington, Georgetown top Liberty

georgetown_whittington.png

Whittington, Georgetown top Liberty

One challenge presenting the Hoyas this season involved replacing their top three scorers from the previous campaign. No one said anything about getting by without All-American candidate Otto Porter. Through two games, that's been the task. Against Liberty, the burden was hardly a chore, though any sense of urgency disappeared early in the second half.

With the All-American candidate sidelined over concussion concerns, fellow sophomore Greg Whittington carried the scoring load as Georgetown moved past the visiting Big South program 68-59 on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center in the regional round of the Legends Classic.

Whittington scored 12 of his career-high 18 points in the first half and grabbed nine rebounds for the Hoyas, who led by 16 points at halftime and double digits throughout until the final minute.

Before tipoff, the school released a statement from Coach John Thompson III that Porter, the Hoyas (2-0) leading returning scorer and rebounder, would not play as he "exhibited symptoms indicative of a mild concussion," following Sunday's 61-55 win over Duquesne.

Porter played a scoreless six minutes against Duquesne, holding his head and wincing in pain as he left the game for good midway through the first half. The 6-foot-8 forward and Preseason All Big East first-team selection did not return to the bench, though he watched from the sideline against Liberty after playing in the first 34 games of his Georgetown career.

"I think he's coming along fine," Thompson said following the Hoyas final tune-up before facing No. 13 UCLA on Monday in Brooklyn. After the semifinal of the Legends Classic, Georgetown will meet either top-ranked Indiana or Georgia on Tuesday.

"I think he'll be available but that's up to our medical staff," Thompson said. "He's progressing. It's mild, it's not moderate, or it's not serious."

Against the undersized Flames (0-3), the black suit sporting Porter watched his gray-jersey wearing teammates handle their business, but also play down to their overmatched opponent in stretches. The Hoyas extended their lead to 55-32 with 13 minutes remaining, but took their foot of the gas and ultimately outscored 34-27 in the second half.

"With all due respect to Liberty, we've got some games coming up, we're preparing for some teams a little bit better than them," said junior Nate Lubick, who also set a career-high with 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. "We use these games to find ourselves, to find what this team's identity is going to be...I think we've kind of struggled to do that the past two games. I don't think our sense of urgency has been there."

Liberty made its first two shots for a quick four-point lead only to see the Hoyas unleash an effective full court press that caused 11 first half turnovers and spark a 17-0 run.

Playing without three frontcourt options and with only one starter taller than 6-foot-5, the Flames found success from beyond the arc. Five first-half 3-pointers helped cut into the lead at 23-18, but the Hoyas closed the first half on 18-6 run.

Markel Starks' perfectly executed bounce pass to a streaking Whittington for a layup capped the first half scoring and gave Georgetown its largest lead of the half at 41-25. Whittington made 6 of 8 shots in the first half and the Hoyas finished 16 of 26 (61.5 percent).

"[Greg] has that responsibility slash burden to do a lot of different things," Thompson said of his other talented sophomore forward and the one who dominated the boards in Georgetown's season opener. "I don't think it's any surprise to see he scored points today no more than it was a surprise that he got 15 rebounds the last game."

Whittington's 3-point touch was not readily apparent, however, missing all five of his attempts. He was hardly an outlier from distance as Georgetown shot 2 of 15 overall from beyond the arc, missing eight of nine 3-pointers after halftime.

Defensively the Hoyas allowed Liberty to shoot 52.6 percent (10 of 19) from 3-point range. The Flames entered the contest making 27 percent of their 3-point attempts.

"They got Sunday, out at the park shots and they went in," Thompson said of the Flames from distance looks. "Our attention to detail at the defensive end, I don’t think was good all night. Our communication was not good all night, so regardless of the combinations coach has out there, we have to be better."

Casey Roberts led Liberty with 13 points.

"We probably caught Georgetown on a night that they weren't quite as inspired as they will be later in the year. It's understandable," Liberty coach Dale Layer said. "I thought we played our best that we've played, and it took every bit of our best just to kind of hang in there and not be a 30-point blowout."

Mikael Hopkins also tallied 13 points and freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 11. On the boards, the taller Hoyas only finished with a 29-27 rebounding margin.

"[Liberty] fought and scrapped and that’s a credit to their coach," Thompson said. "From our perspective, we’re trying to get ready for the future. So sometimes, you have in different lineups that you want to see how they work and different combinations and people in different positions. It’s hard to go through that and say let’s not look at the scoreboard, let’s remember what we’re trying to accomplish right here."

Quick Links

Ravens put Ben Watson and Kyle Arrington on IR, release nine others

Ravens put Ben Watson and Kyle Arrington on IR, release nine others

OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens put tight end Ben Watson (Achilles) and cornerback Kyle Arrington (concussion) on season-ending injured reserve Monday, and released nine other players.

Those moves trimmed the roster from 90 to 79 players. Four more players must be let go by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline to reach 75 players.

Watson was injured in Saturday night’s preseason win over the Lions, while Arrington had not practiced in several weeks and wasn’t going to make the 53-man roster.

Arrington is a seven-year NFL veteran who played with the Ravens last season, but they drafted two cornerbacks who made Arrington expendable – Tavon Young (fourth round) and Maurice Canady (sixth round).

The nine players released were guard Jarrell Broxton, defensive tackle Trevon Coley, wide receivers Dobson Collins, Chuck Jacobs, and Darius White; linebackers Kavell Conner and Mario Ojemudia, center Anthony Fabiano and quarterback Jerrod Johnson.

MORE RAVENS: Harbaugh calls for preseason changes

Quick Links

Ravens' Terrance West sees more opportunity after Kenneth Dixon injury

Ravens' Terrance West sees more opportunity after Kenneth Dixon injury

Terrance West came to Ravens camp trying to carve out a spot in the Ravens crowded backfield.

Now after having one of the most impressive training camps of anyone on the 90-man roster, and after impressive rookie running back Kenneth Dixon suffered a knee injury against the Lions on Saturday night, West could have a major role in the Ravens offense, especially early in the season.

Based on playing time against the Lions, West appears to have leap-frogged Buck Allen on the Ravens depth chart, something Dixon seemed to have done as well.

That would leave West at No. 2 behind Justin Forsett at least as long as Dixon is sidelined, which is expected to be four to six weeks.

In three preseason games this month, West has 25 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

West played in six games for the Ravens last year after being promoted from the practice squad, rushing 46 times for 180 yards. Still, with Forsett, Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro all returning, and with Dixon arriving as a fourth-round pick, there was no guarantee there would be a spot for West this fall.

But throughout camp, West showed quickness and explosiveness and consistent effort. In short, he showed a sense of urgency as if his job depended on it, which, essentially, it did.

"My mindset (going into training camp) was just coming to work and being ready," West said after Saturday's game. "I wanted to show the coaches I was serious about making this team."

Now after seeing his career stall amid questions about his work ethic and discipline -- first in Cleveland as a third-round pick and then in Tennessee after a trade -- West, the Baltimore native and former Towson star, appears to be right at home with his hometown team.

West, though, did not take much comfort in his role expanding because of an injury to Dixon.

"Everybody wants to play," West said, "but at the same time we compete and we love each other. To see him go down, it hurts all of us."

MORE RAVENS: Ravens put two players on IR, release nine others

Quick Links

Nats to add veteran Mat Latos when rosters expand on Sept. 1

Nats to add veteran Mat Latos when rosters expand on Sept. 1

We now know at least one of the players the Nats plan to call up when rosters expand on Sept. 1. That would be veteran right-hander Mat Latos, who will waive an opt-out clause in his contract to remain at Triple-A Syracuse until the 1st, then join the Nationals.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the news:

Latos, 28, was signed by the Nats on June 29. He made two appearances with the Gulf Coast League Nationals before getting promoted to Syracuse. In Triple-A he gave up just two earned runs in 17 innings across three starts. Latos has 10 strikeouts and seven walks.

Exactly what role Latos will have on the big league roster is hard to tell at this point. One could see him pitching out of the bullpen, but until Joe Ross and Stephen Strasburg return to their rotation, there isn't much clarity as to who will start in their place moving forward.

Rookies Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole have yet to produce consistently. Having a veteran option for a spot start may appeal to the Nats, given what they've seen from that trio in recent weeks.

Latos last pitched for the Chicago White Sox, who cut him loose in May. He went 6-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts. Latos has also played for the Padres, Reds, Marlins, Dodgers and Angels. He played under manager Dusty Baker in Cincinnati.

[RELATED: Giolito's velocity remains down, but he and Nats aren't worried]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES