Men's Basketball

Whittington, Smith-Rivera Help Leads Hoyas Past Duquesne in Opener, 61-55

Nov. 11, 2012

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WASHINGTON - First games of the season can be sluggish, even when you're playing one for the second time. That was indeed the case for the Georgetown men's basketball team on Sunday evening as the Hoyas overcame struggles and hit six of seven free throws in the final 27 seconds to escape with a 61-55 win over Duquesne in a regional round game of the Legends Classic at Verizon Center. The Hoyas are now 1-0, while the Dukes are 1-1.

Freshman guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Indianapolis, Ind./Oak Hill) scored a game-high 19 points - hitting 6-of-7 shots from the floor and all four of his three-point field goal attempts - while sophomore forward Greg Whittington (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills) added eight points and a career-high 15 rebounds and sophomore center Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) scored a career-high 13 points and added four rebounds.

Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. (Morley, Mo./Scott County Central), a Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team selection and Associated Press honorable mention All-American selection, played only six minutes after being injured in the first half.

The Hoyas took their biggest lead of the game, 50-39, on a three-pointer from junior guard Markel Starks (Accokeek, Md./Georgetown Prep) with 5:59 to play and still led by 11, 54-43, on a layup from Hopkins with 3:59 left in the game. Duquesne, however, scored seven-straight points and cut the lead to 54-50 on a conventional three-point play from Sean Johnson with 2:26 left in the game.

Junior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Marks), who finished with seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals, fed Starks for a layup that pushed the lead to 56-50 with 53 seconds left, but Duquesne's Jerry Jones hit a three-pointer to make it 56-53.

Sophomore guard Jabril Trawick (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 27 seconds left, but Whittington grabbed the offensive rebound, was fouled and hit both shots to make it 58-53. After a turnover, Smith-Rivera hit two free throws with 19 seconds left to push the lead to 60-53. The freshman hit 1-of-2 with 11 seconds left, pushing the lead to eight points, 61-53.

The first half was sluggish, with neither team shooting well from the field - Duquesne, 30.0 percent, and Georgetown, 37.0 percent - and a combined 14 turnovers.

After a free throw from Hopkins and a layup from Lubick to give GU a 3-0 lead, the Dukes scored eight straight points and took an 8-3 lead on a layup from Derrick Colter. A dunk from Hopkins and a three-pointer from Smith-Rivera - one of four the freshman hit in the first half - tied the game at 8-all and two more shots from long distance by the 6-3 guard gave the Hoyas a 14-10 lead.

Leading 16-15 after a three-pointer from Duquesne's Johnson, the Hoyas used a 9-2 spurt over 4:43 and took a 25-17 lead on a three-pointer from Whittington with 2:45 to play. A jumper from Smith-Rivera made it 27-19 and a basket from Duquesne's Martins Abele cut the lead to six points, 27-21, at the break.

The Hoyas shot 41.2 percent from the floor (21-of-51), hit 37.5 percent of their three-pointers (6-of-16) and connected on only 59.1 percent of their free throws (13-of-22). GU held a 38-34 advantage on the boards, handed out 12 assists and committed 17 turnovers.

Georgetown plays Liberty on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the second regional round game of the Legends Classic. The game tips off at Verizon Center at 7 p.m. It will be shown live on MASN, with Jason Knapp and Mark Tillmon calling all of the action, and can be heard locally on ESPN 980 AM.

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