Hoyas star being monitored for possible concussion
Georgetown finally got its season under way, lost its best player to an injury and got a near perfect shooting night from a freshman in a 61-55 win over Duquesne in its first game of the year at Verizon Center.
Sophomore forward Otto Porter, an honorable mention preseason All-American, had one rebound and one assist in just six minutes after getting hit in the head early in the contest. He left the game with 11:55 remaining in the first half and didn't return while being monitored for a concussion.
Without Porter, guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera picked up the slack in what was technically his Georgetown debut with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including four 3-pointers. The Hoyas' stats from Friday's game against Florida on board the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Fla., were scrapped when the game was called at halftime because of condensation on the court.
"I think both teams were sloppy," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "We definitely were sloppy at both ends of the court. It's early, and so yes, it definitely felt like the season opener, and we have a long way to go."
Mikael Hopkins added 13 points and four rebounds to go with Greg Whittington's eight points and career-high 15 boards, which helped overcome the team's 17 turnovers.
It was never easy for the Hoyas (1-0), whose double-digit lead was trimmed to three on a 3-pointer from Jerry Jones (10 points, eight rebounds) with 30.4 seconds left before Whittington grabbed a huge offensive board off Jabril Trawick's missed free throw.
"We started thinking about Otto not being in the game too much, and people started to look for their own offense a little too much," forward Nate Lubick (seven points, seven rebounds) said. "Even without Otto, we need to be willing to stick to our stuff and run everything through."
Two nights after their first attempt at a season opener, the Hoyas looked like they were playing outdoors again. Markel Starks (nine points) slipped in the lane as he drew a foul and missed his first five shots. Hopkins' first free throw attempt appeared to catch a wind gust -- his airball sailed right of the rim -- and Georgetown had four straight possessions that ended in turnovers.
None of that mattered to Smith-Rivera, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key 16 seconds after coming off the bench. He went into halftime 5-for-5, though it felt like 6-for-6 when he banged in another 3 just after the buzzer. He also took Porter's place after the break and actually made it 6-for-6 and a 37-33 Georgetown lead when Starks turned to hand the ball off to him at the end of a three-on-one break.
"He was open, his teammates found him and he put the ball in the basket," Thompson said. "I think that's always how we've operated; that's how we have to operate, where we're just getting the ball to the open guy."
Hopkins scored six points during an 8-0 surge that gave the Hoyas their first double-digit lead at 45-35. Lubick finally gave Georgetown a signature backdoor feed to Starks for a 56-53 margin with less than a minute to play.