Thompson III confirms it's a serious infraction
Georgetown bounced back from dropping its first two Big East games with a convincing victory over St. John's last weekend without any help from its second-leading scorer and rebounder, Greg Whittington.
To continue their winning ways, the Hoyas (11-3, 1-2 Big East) will have to do so again. The sophomore forward remains suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Georgetown has not elaborated further, and when asked whether Whittington's multigame absence meant it was a serious infraction, coach John Thompson III responded with one word: "Yeah."
|Providence at Georgetown|
|When » Wednesday, 7 p.m.|
|Where » Verizon Center|
|TV » MASN|
Whittington is averaging 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds this season, and his absence forced the Hoyas into just their second lineup change of the season. The timing of the change may have been fortuitous, however, following the program's 73-45 loss Pittsburgh, its worst defeat since 1974.
Against the Red Storm, the Hoyas not only started Jabril Trawick in Whittington's place but also went deeper into a bench that Thompson has been reluctant to call upon for most of the season.
"It all doesn't necessarily come down to players that play a lot getting rest," junior forward Nate Lubick said. "Just being able to see them help contribute is just a huge thing for our team."
Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera had eight points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes, the most he had played since Georgetown's first full game, a win over Duquesne. Junior center Moses Ayegba, whose six points against the Panthers might have been that game's only bright spot, played 14 minutes against St. John's. Aaron Bowen, a redshirt sophomore, played a career-high 16 minutes, easily the most meaningful stretch of his career.
"He's super athletic," junior guard Markel Starks said of Bowen. "He understands the offense. Sometimes he plays a little erratic, but that's just game jitters, not being on the floor as much. But through time he'll be fine."
After scoring fewer than 50 points in four different games, the Hoyas also made a conscious effort to turn their defensive prowess into transition baskets. Thompson credited a 42-28 advantage on the boards over a tactical choice to play faster.
"It's solely a function of rebounding," said Thompson, whose team is 14th in the Big East (33.5 rpg). "We've tried to make a conscious effort all year to get out and run and push the ball, relative to the past. We haven't been rebounding the ball well."
The continued loss of Whittington won't help in that effort against the Friars (9-6, 1-3), who feature a potent backcourt of Bryce Cotton (21.6 points per game) and Vincent Council (9.0 ppg, 6.3 assists per game).
"[Whittington] is one of our better players, so I think it does change things," Thompson said. "But I think the guys responded well at the St. John's game. We have guys that are going to be asked to step up collectively. They're going to have to do that again."