WASHINGTON (AP) - With a recent string of virtuoso performances for No. 7 Georgetown, Otto Porter Jr. is quickly accumulating admirers.
Add Rutgers coach Mike Rice to the list.
Taking over the game after Georgetown trailed early in the second half, Porter finished with 28 points and eight rebounds - and filled plenty of other statistical columns, too - leading the Hoyas past Rutgers 64-51 Saturday night for their 11th consecutive victory.
``How efficient, how strong. Mentally, he's unbelievable. So I always thought he was going to be a really good player, but ... it's not even close who is the Big East Player of the Year right now,' Rice said. ``And to be honest with you, if he keeps continuing this, it's not even close (for) National Player of the Year.'
Porter made only six field goals but went 15 of 18 at the line, the most made free throws by a Georgetown player since Mike Sweetney's 16 on April 1, 2003.
``They're free,' Porter said, ``so you want to shoot free throws.'
He did plenty of other things Saturday, compiling four steals, three blocks and two assists - and, by the way, only one turnover and one personal foul - for the Hoyas (23-4, 13-3). They lead the Big East standings with two games left before the conference tournament: at Villanova on Wednesday, and home against Syracuse next Saturday.
Rutgers (13-14, 4-12) has lost 10 of its last 11 games, but it led 33-29 with under 17 minutes remaining Saturday.
After baskets by Nate Lubick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for Georgetown tied it at 33, Porter scored 10 of the Hoyas' next 12 points. He was Georgetown's only player in double figures in scoring, and played nearly the entire way, exiting for the only time with 23 seconds on the clock.
``Stating the obvious, he can score in a lot of different ways,' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. ``From Day 1, Otto Porter has done everything. And so you look at the rebounds. You look at the deflections. Communication. It's not just about the scoring.'
Wally Judge led Rutgers with 11 points before fouling out with more than 4 1/2 minutes left. Georgetown limited Myles Mack to nine points on 3-for-13 field-goal shooting.
``They made it awfully difficult to get Myles an open look,' Rice said.
Rice also made not-so-veiled references to the discrepancy in foul calls. Georgetown took 42 free throws, making 30, while Rutgers went 6 for 15 at the line.
Said Rutgers swingman Dane Miller: ``Basically every time we put our hands on (Porter), they called a foul.'
Not surprisingly, Thompson's take was a little different.
``We shot a lot of foul shots,' he said, ``because we were fouled a lot.'
Georgetown had its problems on offense in the early going, waiting more than 6 1/2 minutes between its first successful field-goal attempt of the game and its second. Rutgers scored 10 points in a row to go ahead 10-4.
That rough stretch included turnovers by the Hoyas on three consecutive possessions. And - surprise, surprise - it was Porter who put an end to the drought by making a pair of free throws after being fouled on a 3-point try, then hitting a turnaround jumper.
Georgetown led 29-28 at halftime. Rutgers, though, scored the first five points after the break on Miller's three-point play and Kadeem Jack's inside basket to lead 33-29.
At 33-all, Porter's three-point play gave Georgetown the lead - for good, it turned out - and with 12 minutes left, his putback dunk off a teammate's fastbreak miss put the Hoyas ahead 41-37 and awoke a rather quiet home crowd.
``I just have to do whatever necessary to win,' Porter said. ``I think my teammates feel the same way.'
The Associated Press News Service
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