Georgetown Coach John Thompson III wasn’t pleased with the way his Hoyas started against crosstown foe American, surrendering a trio of early three-pointers. And he was so troubled by a late defensive lapse in which the Eagles pared a 26-point deficit to 14 that he sent nearly his full complement of starters back into action in the waning minutes.
But in between, Georgetown did enough to defeat an athletically overwhelmed yet unrelenting American squad, 65-48, Saturday at Verizon Center and close the nonconference portion of its season with a 10-1 record.
The 15th-ranked Hoyas got the bulk of their scoring, rebounding and intensity from sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., who led all players with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while dishing out three assists and grabbing two steals.Greg Whittington was the only other Hoya to manage double figures (13 points) in a game in which seven reserves saw action, with 6-5 Jabril Trawick standing out for his versatility and athleticism (seven points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in 20 minutes).
With a decided advantage in height and length, Georgetown afforded American little opportunity to operate. Relegated largely to the perimeter, the Eagles scored half of their points from beyond the three-point arc, paced by senior guard Daniel Munoz (15 points).
Georgetown won the rebounding battle handily (42-30), with Nate Lubick grabbing a season-high nine boards. The Hoyas also outscored American in the paint, 26-12, and finished with 18 assists on 23 baskets.
“To have any kind of chance against a superior team like Georgetown, you’ve got to be able to put the ball in the basket, and obviously we didn’t do that,” said American Coach Jeff Jones, whose Eagles (4-8) shot 28.6 percent from the field. “They make it really difficult because of their length and the way they close on shooters.”
Up next for American is a trip to No. 9 Kansas on Saturday for another lucrative but likely lopsided contest.
Georgetown faces a different sort of challenge: A two-week hiatus that could amount to an invaluable teaching window heading into its Jan. 5 Big East opener at Marquette or a momentum-killer that undermines a seven-game winning streak.
Thompson is banking on the former.
“There are a few things we need to make adjustments to, a few things we need to work on, so it gives us uninterrupted time to do that,” he said.
“When you start the year, if you were to say, ‘After 11 games you’re going to be 10-1. Will you take that?’ I’ll take that. Now none of us [is] sitting in the locker room with our heads in the sand saying, ‘We’re playing perfect basketball.’ We all realize there are so many areas of the game that we can get better at.”
Among the 9,867 on hand at Verizon Center was Joshua Smith, a 6-10, 300-plus-pound junior who’s weighing his transfer options after announcing in late November that he was leaving UCLA. A former McDonald’s all-American who has struggled with his weight and conditioning, Smith will be eligible to compete in the second semester of the 2013-14 season if he enrolls at a Division I school next semester. In Georgetown’s 78-70 victory over UCLA at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Nov. 19, Smith came off the bench to contribute four points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 12 minutes.
Also on hand was former Hoya Greg Monroe, whose Detroit Pistons beat the Wizards on Saturday night.