Georgetown's 0-2 start in conference play is a distant memory. Thanks to strong defense, consistent performances from its top player and timely contributions from others, the Hoyas are riding a four-game winning streak.
The 20th-ranked Hoyas go for five in a row Saturday when they visit Rutgers, which they've beaten in 12 of the last 14 meetings and four of five in New Jersey.
Georgetown (16-4, 6-3) has won six of seven and its elite defense - which ranks among the top 15 in the nation in field-goal percentage against at 37.5 - has been even stronger of late. The Hoyas have held opponents to 33.3 percent over the last four games.
The limited the Red Storm to 31.7 percent shooting in a 68-56 home win over St. John's last Saturday, Georgetown's lowest number against a Big East foe.
The Hoyas have allowed 54.7 points - nearly 10 below their season average - in seven contests since being blown out 73-45 by Pittsburgh on Jan. 8.
Otto Porter Jr., one of four Big East players averaging at least 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds with 14.8 and 7.6, had 11 points against the Red Storm. That snapped his string of six straight games with at least 17 points, though he was 2 of 3 from 3-point range and has gone 13 of 24 from beyond the arc over the last six games.
Nate Lubick had a career-high 16 points last Saturday, more than eight above his season average. Lubick has gone 18 for 22 from the floor in his past six contests.
"He's been playing at a very high level for a long time now, to tell you the truth," said coach John Thompson III, whose earned his 200th career win. " ... When we need something done, he gets a rebound, makes an assist, gets a basket."
Rutgers (12-9, 3-7) has lost five in a row and fell to 1-5 against Top 25 teams with a 68-48 home loss to No. 11 Louisville on Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights trailed by two at halftime before the Cardinals went on a 23-2 run.
Rutgers has been outscored 80-46 in the second half of its last two games. It also blew an eight-point halftime lead in a 62-54 road loss to then-No. 24 Cincinnati on Jan. 30.
"I don't know what it is, if we're lapsing up or whatever it may be," forward Wally Judge said.
Eli Carter leads Rutgers with 15.1 points a contest but has struggled to find his shot of late, shooting 30.1 percent and averaging 11.1 points in the last eight games. The sophomore guard has gone 6 for 31 on 3-pointers in that span.
Snapping out of it against the stout Hoyas defense could be difficult. In the last four games, Georgetown has held opponents' leading scorers to 8.3 points and 27.0 percent shooting.
Georgetown beat Rutgers 52-50 at home last Jan. 21 as Porter scored the final six points and hit the winning free throws with eight seconds left. The Hoyas' last four-game win streak in Big East play came during an eight-game run Jan. 15-Feb. 13, 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
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