GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Georgetown Hoyas control their own destiny with regard to winning the Big East Conference regular-season title, and they will take another step toward achieving that goal when they play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday night.
Rutgers comes in an even 13-13 on the year, but the team has really struggled against conference foes, winning just four of its 15 Big East bouts. The Scarlet Knights have won just once in their last 10 games, that coming against Seton Hall (57-55) on Feb. 12. The team is currently mired in a three-game losing streak, with its latest defeat coming at home against Providence last Saturday. RU is just 3-7 in true road games this season, and has lost its last five on enemy hardwood.
Georgetown is sporting an impressive 22-4 overall record, and with a league ledger of 12-3 it is a game up on second-place teams Louisville and Marquette heading into the weekend. The Hoyas, who have won 14 of their 15 home games this season, are riding the wave of a 10-game win streak, with their latest triumph coming in double-overtime at UConn on Wednesday night, 79-78.
Georgetown owns a 28-16 lead in the all-time series with Rutgers, and the Hoyas have won three straight, including a 69-63 decision in New Jersey on Feb. 9, and 11 of the last 12 meetings overall.
With a record that currently sits at .500, it's not surprising to see Rutgers score nearly as many points as it allows (66.5 to 67.3 ppg). The team has just two players averaging double figures, only one of which is active as Eli Carter (14.9 ppg) suffered a broken leg last month and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. That leaves Myles Mack (13.5 ppg) as the lone offensive threat for the Scarlet Knights, and his average is almost twice that of his closest teammate (Dane Miller, 7.0 ppg). Miller proved himself to be a valuable commodity in the recent loss to Providence however, as he logged 27 minutes off the bench and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Mike Poole added 11 points and Kadeem Jack chipped in with 10 for Rutgers, which made good on 40.6 percent of its field goal attempts, but allowed the Friars to drain 8-of-20 from 3-point range. With the starters doing very little, RU's reserves outscored PU's by a massive 39-6 margin.
Georgetown is a rather average squad when it comes to producing at the offensive end of the court (65.5 ppg), but where the Hoyas really shine is when they play with their backs to the basket, as foes are scoring just 56.5 ppg in shooting a mere 37.7 percent from the floor, which includes a 29.9 percent showing from beyond the arc. The team boasts two active double-digit scorers in the form of Otto Porter (16.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.5 apg) and Markel Starks (12.3 ppg, 2.9 apg), and it was that duo that paced GU in the double- overtime thriller at UConn, as they combined for 41 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Georgetown shot 47.4 percent from the field for the game, nailing 11 treys along the way, but the Huskies did the same, although on seven more attempts (29). GU forced a total of 18 turnovers, and survived the marathon bout despite being outrebounded by 10 (38-28).
Simply put, Rutgers lacks the talent and depth needed to challenge the better teams in the Big East, of which Georgetown is clearly one. Expect the Hoyas to roll.