WASHINGTON (AP) — Freshman Otto Porter had 15 points and six rebounds in his second start of the season, Jason Clark had 15 points and six rebounds, and No. 9 Georgetown took a big lead early and never trailed in a 67-46 win over Villanova on Saturday.
The victory moves the Hoyas (21-6, 11-5) into sole possession of fourth place in the Big East, one-half game ahead of Cincinnati and South Florida, who play Sunday. The top four teams get a double-bye in the conference tournament
Dominic Cheek scored 19 points to lead the Wildcats (11-17, 4-12), who have lost four straight. Maalik Wayns returned for Villanova after missing three games with a sprained left knee, but he missed badly on his first shot and finished 1 for 10 from the field, scoring three points.
Villanova remained without guard James Bell, who missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.
The Hoyas outrebounded the Wildcats 43-25 to improve to 14-1 at home, while Villanova is 1-9 in true road games. Georgetown allowed the Wildcats to shoot just 28 percent, quite a turnaround from the 61 percent that Seton Hall shot in its 18-point win over the Hoyas on Tuesday.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III put Porter into the starting lineup in place of Markel Starks, who went 1 for 9 against Seton Hall and didn’t play at all on Saturday. Porter’s only previous start this season came last month when Starks had a stomach ailment and couldn’t play against DePaul.
Porter got off to a rough start, hitting the court with a bloody mouth after taking an elbow from Maurice Sutton while trying to get rebounding position on the game’s first shot. Officials reviewed the video and whistled Sutton for a flagrant foul, giving the Hoyas two shots and the ball. The score got to 6-0 by the time the Wildcats had their first possession, and Porter returned to the game a few minutes later to contribute to some of the best basketball Georgetown has played this season.
For the first 15 minutes, Georgetown swarmed defensively and moved the ball well to set up open jump shots and backdoor layups. Villanova was 2 for 9 from the field with four turnovers after 8 ½ minutes, and the Hoyas pushed the lead to 25-8 on two free throws by Porter with 5:30 to go in the half.
The Wildcats started forcing turnovers and got back into the game, going on a 12-2 run ignited by Cheek’s steal-and-dunk. The lead was only four when Cheek hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 to go in the half, but Porter made it 30-23 at halftime with a momentum-stifling fadeaway 3-pointer that bounced precariously on the front rim before falling in.
The teams more or less traded baskets for the first 6 minutes of the second half until Georgetown pulled away with a 14-3 run. Henry Sims’ tip-in ended a gritty possession that got the lead back to double digits with 13 minutes remaining, and a miscommunication between Ty Johnson and Wayns led to a pass out of bounds for a turnover on Villanova’s next possession.
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