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Greg Whittington Scores Career-High in Hoyas Win
Georgetown relied on two outliers to rebound from their Syracuse loss and win at Verizon Center, 71-61, against St. John’s Feb. 12.
Greg Whittington, scoring a career-high 12 points, was among five players in double digits and Nate Lubick had one of the most complete games of his career to contribute to a truly all-around team win.
“Today things obviously didn’t go our way offensively in the first half and we were a little sluggish coming out both ends,” said Lubick, who within the first three minutes of the game grabbed four consecutive rebounds in about a minute. “I just wanted to come out and bring a bunch of energy offensively and defensively.”
One of two free throws from Otto Porter with 12:11 in the first half gave Georgetown its biggest lead, 15-8, but the Hoyas went scoreless for the next 4:56 and St. John’s pulled to within one on a three-pointer from D’Angelo Harrison with 7:33 to play. The Hoyas responded with a 6-0 spurt over 2:06 and pushed the lead back to seven points, 21-14, on a jumper from Sims with 5:27 left in the half.
Georgetown hit 8-of-10 free throws in the first half and used two apiece from Hollis Thompson and Porter, and a jumper from Whittington, to take a 31-25 lead at the break.
The Hoyas shot only 38.5 percent from the field in a slow first half and built momentum in the second. But the Red Storm was there to test them in the second, especially with an on-par shooter to contend with in D’Angelo Harrison, who ended the game with 24 points. Fellow freshman Red Storm guard Moe Harkless was not far behind with 20 of his own points.
“He’s good,” coach John Thompson III said of Harkless. “He’s tough to guard. He can score a lot of different places on the court. They go to him, they isolate him. …
“You can’t let Harrison get open shots,” he continued. “Most of our discussions were about defense as opposed to offense. I thought we did a poor job of that, he kept getting shots.”
After a tough first half with very little scoring for the Hoyas, Porter, Markel Starks and Jason Clark ended with 11 shots of their own. Add in Thompson’s 10 and Whittington’s 12, and this Hoyas team kept their composure during some tough stretches. The Red Storm played Thompson and Clark particularly hard, but their zone caused problems for Georgetown all-around.
“This group doesn’t get rattled,” Thompson III said. “This was a game that I think a group could easily get rattled because of their defense, because you don’t know how you’re going to get your shots and because earlier on we missed shots.”
In the second half, the Hoyas did a better job of making them, shooting 60.9 percent, including a stretch where Whittington scored 7 of 12 points accompanied by three threes by Starks and Clark, which — while counteracted by three by Harrison both times — did not give St. John’s the lead. Porter and Thompson polished off the game with 5-of-6 free throw shots for the win.
“In the first half, I thought we were just passing it around the perimeter. We were getting open shots but we were getting too many threes,” Thompson III said. “In the second half, even if we didn’t get as many interior shots, we got it in there, which made the perimeter shots a little more open.”
Even though St. John’s cut it close at times, the outing was positive for the Hoyas after such a close loss to Syracuse just four days before.
“Coach mentioned to us before the game how people were still praising us after a loss and that’s something that we can’t look at,” Lubick said. “We need to bounce back fast and that’s how you do well in this league and to come back and get out a big win was important.”
The Hoyas head on a two-game road trip next, starting with a game in Rhode Island against Providence Feb. 18.