March 7, 2013
WASHINGTON - In one of the most highly-anticipated games at home in recent memory, the fifth-ranked Georgetown University men's basketball team returns back to Verizon Center on Saturday, March 9, hosting long-time BIG EAST Conference rival Syracuse. Tipoff is slated for noon.
The game will be shown live on ESPN, with Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery calling all of the action. Fans locally can tune in to the radio broadcast of Rich Chvotkin on ESPN 980 AM. Prior to the game, Georgetown students returning from Spring Break will be at Verizon Center for ESPN's weekly College Gameday, featuring Rece Davis, Jalen Rose, Digger Phelps, as well as Bilas and Raftery.
Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III will be a guest on "The Sports Junkies" on Friday morning, March 8, at 9:25 a.m. He will also make an appearance on ESPN 980 AM on Friday afternoon at 2:15 p.m.
On Saturday, doors to Verizon Center will open at 9:30 a.m. and to students at 8 a.m.
Saturday's game also marks the last regular season meeting between the two long-time rivals as members of the BIG EAST Conference. It will be the 89th meeting between the schools, with Syracuse leading the head-to-head series, 48-40. Georgetown has won three of the last five meetings, including a 57-46 win in front of 35,012 fans at the Carrier Dome last month.
Georgetown enters the game with a 23-5 overall record and a 13-4 mark in the BIG EAST Conference, tied for first place. A win on Saturday would clinch the BIG EAST Regular Season title for the Hoyas and the No. 1 seed in next week's BIG EAST Tournament.
The Hoyas are ranked No. 5 in the latest Associated Press poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches' poll. Georgetown had an 11-game win streak, all against conference opponents, come to an end in a 67-57 loss to Villanova in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./Scott County Central), one of 25 finalists for the Wooden Award recognizing the top player in college basketball, leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Porter Jr. was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday, the third-straight week he has been recognized. It is the first time a BIG EAST player has won the award in three-straight weeks since the 2003 season.
Porter Jr. also leads the team in steals (2.0 spg), is second on the team in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and ranks third on the team in assists per game (2.6 apg). Against BIG EAST opponents, Porter Jr. is averaging 18.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor (101-of-202) and 44.8 percent from three-point land (30-of-67) and 80.0 percent from the free throw line (84-of-105). Porter Jr. missed parts of two games this season and his per-40 minute averages are 18.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game and leads the team with 49 three-point field goals. He ranks sixth in the BIG EAST in three-point field goal percentage (40.5%) and is 12th in the league in three-point field goals made. Junior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks) is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.6 points per game, third with 5.5 rebounds and leads the team with 2.9 assists per game. Lubick leads the BIG EAST in field goal percentage, connecting on 60.` percent of his shots from the field. Sophomore center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) is averaging 6.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, which ranks 11th in the BIG EAST.
Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./Oak Hill),who was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week last week, is fourth on the team in scoring with 8.8 points and has hit 34 three-pointers.
The Hoyas have been led by a stingy defensive effort this season, holding opponents to under 60 points in 18 of its 28 games. GU's opponents are averaging 56.7 points per game, which ranks second in the BIG EAST and No. 10 nationally. The Hoyas have limited opponents to 37.9 percent shooting from the field, which is second in the conference.