After splitting a pair of games against ranked foes in Brooklyn, the Hoyas (3-1) return to the Verizon Center on Saturday against Mount St. Mary's (Noon). Georgetown downed UCLA in the semifinals of the Legends Classic on Monday before falling 82-72 in overtime to top-ranked Indiana in Tuesday's championship game despite 20 points from Markel Starks and late-game heroics by Otto Porter.
As expected, the Hoyas' performance proved demonstratively better with Porter, the do-everything sophomore forward who missed the bulk of Georgetown's first two games with a concussion suffered in the season opener. The New York eye-opener was the junior Markel Starks, who set his career-high with 23 points against UCLA.
In the previous 20 games, the former Georgetown Prep star had not topped 11 points. His overall game suffered in the scoring wake, his minutes fluctuated over the final weeks last season. The Hoyas need more of the aggressive, confident, 3-point making version going forward in the Big East wars, especially since he's the only upperclassman among the primary backcourt options. The Hoyas' leading scorer with 13.8 points, Starks is shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.
As for the versatile Porter, he averaged 16.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.5 blocks and 2.5 steals in the New York swing, which included the overtime-forcing layup against Indiana.
Fellow sophomore Mikael Hopkins scored 11 points against the Hoosiers before fouling out. After receiving limited minutes last season, the 6-foot-8 forward and former DeMatha product has reached double figures in scoring in all four games this season, though his apprehensive post-play leaves observers wanting more.
The Mountaineers (1-2), coached by 29-year-old former VCU assistant Jamion Christian, are led in scoring by former George Mason guard Rashad Whack (13.7 ppg). The first meeting between the two programs since 2009, Georgetown leads the all-time series 20-6.
While the Hoyas have the talent edge, the Mountaineers have proved formidable offensively from distance, an inconsistent area defensively for Georgetown to date. Despite the Hoyas' perimeter length, highlighted by Porter and the elastic Greg Whittington, Indiana made 10 of 17 three-pointers in victory. Earlier this month, Liberty sank 10 of 19 from beyond the arc in a 68-59 Georgetown victory. The Mountaineers are shooting 37.7 percent from 3-point territory led by Whack's 9 of 18 from distance.
Barring an upset to Mount St. Mary's or the various voting groups prove unimpressed McKayla Maroney-style by the Brooklyn outings, this should be Georgetown's last game as an unranked squad - for now, anyway. Starting Saturday, the Hoyas play six of their next seven games at home with only the Nov. 30 matchup against Tennessee in the Big East-SEC challenge standing out as a likely roadblock. The one away game comes against skittish Texas on Dec. 4 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.