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Porter lifts Hoyas past Rutgers

The SportsXchange

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- On a bitterly cold Saturday, Otto Porter Jr. got hot down the stretch for No. 20 Georgetown.

Porter scored 10 of the Hoyas' final 12 points in the last five minutes of their 69-63 Big East Conference victory over Rutgers before 6,335 at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

The sophomore forward finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists.

Rutgers held a 58-57 lead with 6:11 to play then the Porter onslaught began for Georgetown (17-4, 7-3 in the Big East). The Hoyas outscored Rutgers, 11-6 to close it out, with Porter accumulating 10 of those points.

Porter also grabbed two key rebounds and had a steal in the final moments..

"That's what we've come to expect," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said of Porter's clutch play. "I thought he was terrific. He's one of the best players in the country and the best players in the country come through."

Mike Poole tied the score for Rutgers, 60-60, with two free throws at 4:53, but Porter scored the next five points sandwiched around a Rutgers free throw by Wally Judge, to lift Georgetown to a 65-61 advantage with 1:15 remaining.

Rutgers went without a field goal from the 8:57 mark until there were 56 seconds left in the game. Coach Mike Rice's team was 0-for-13 during the stretch, failing on numerous close-range shots.

"We had too many missed opportunities," Rice said. "Whether it was offensive rebounds or drives, we have to finish.

"Georgetown is a very talented team. They don't beat themselves. You have to go out and create those opportunities and take advantage of them. At times we did that tonight, but in Big East games you have to do that down the stretch."

Porter isn't especially big at 6-8 or wide at 205 pounds, but he found a way to slide through Georgetown's sets to get good looks in the post.

"He's so patient and disciplined in the offense," Rice said. "He allows his teammates to come to him so he gets open looks."

Porter and his frontcourt mate Mikael Hopkins, who scored 14 points, were primarily responsible for Georgetown outscoring Rutgers, 34-18, in the paint.

"It's the Big East each night and it's going to be different," Porter said. "Nate (Lubick) was in foul trouble this night and our players just stepped up off the bench."

Porter, the team leader in scoring (14.8) and rebounder (7.6), was limited to four first-half points.

Eli Carter led Rutgers with 23 points, junior guard Markel Starks contributed 20 and freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera added 13 off the bench.

The loss was the sixth in a row for Rutgers (12-10, 3-8) and third straight against a ranked team. The Scarlet Knights dropped a 62-54 decision to No. 24 Cincinnati on Jan. 30 and fell to No. 11 Louisville, 68-48, Feb. 6.

"It was a typical Big East game," Thompson said. "I think at halftime I said it to the guys, 'It's going to be to grind it out, possession by possession game.' They are a very good team, and they're well coached and they put so much pressure on you.

"But we knew what it was going to be. We had to stay focused, and it was one of those games where we could tell early on it's going to come down to the end and we're going to have to make the plays at both ends of the court."

The score was deadlocked, 33-33, at the half and featured four lead changes, as both teams relied on the long ball. Rutgers was 4-of-7 and Georgetown was 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

NOTES: Georgetown is one of only four Division 1 schools with no seniors on the roster, joining Penn, Navy and Wright State. It's the second time in five years that the Hoyas have no seniors on the team. ... Rutgers' Myles Mack leads Big East Conference guards in field goal percentage at 50.3. ... In the last seven seasons, spanning 221 games, only 47 opponents have shot higher than 45 percent from the field against the Hoyas. This season opponents, are shooting only 37 percent from the floor against Georgetown, 13th in the nation.
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