WASHINGTON — Taking over the game after Georgetown trailed early in the second half, Otto Porter Jr. finished with 28 points and eight rebounds, leading the No. 7 Hoyas past Rutgers 64-51 Saturday night for their 11th consecutive victory.
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, so you want to shoot free throws,” Porter said. “I just have to do whatever necessary to win.”
The Hoyas (23-4, 13-3 Big East) are in first place with two games left before their conference tournament.
Rutgers (13-14, 4-12), which has never beaten a top-10 team on the road, has lost 10 of its last 11 games. But it led 33-29 with under 17 minutes remaining.
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 also added four steals and three blocks before leaving to a standing ovation in the final 30 seconds.
“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 a little bit of everything.”
It was the latest in a string of virtuoso performances by Porter, including a career-high 33 points in a victory at Syracuse, that propelled him into the conversation for various individual awards.
“Well, I know who’s getting my vote for Big East Player of the Year,” Rutgers coach Mike Rice said, shaking his head.
Wally Judge led Rutgers with 11 points before fouling out with more than 4½ minutes left.
Georgetown had its problems on offense in the early going, waiting more than 6½ 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 by as many as seven points in the first half, but heading to the second, its advantage was only 29-28, thanks mainly to Porter’s 12 points and a big edge at the line. The Hoyas made up for having 12 fewer field-goal attempts than Rutgers in the first half by making 14 of 19 free throws, while the Scarlet Knights were 2 for 5.
That trend continued in the second half, and by game’s end, Georgetown was 30 for 42 on foul shots, Rutgers 6 for 15.
“We shot a lot of foul shots because we were fouled a lot,” Thompson said.
Rutgers used consecutive 3s by Myles Mack to stay close and had a chance to lead at halftime, but Derrick Randall’s short shot with 6 seconds left rolled around the rim and fell out.
Rutgers got off to a strong start after halftime, scoring the first five points on Dane 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.