LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 28: Jason Clark #21 of the Georgetown Hoyas shoots the ball during the Big East conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on December 28, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
THAT JUST HAPPENED. Georgetown beat Louisville 71-68, defeating Louisville for the first time this season on the back of sophomore Markel Starks' 20 points. The Cardinals had only lost 2 games on their home court since opening up the stadium two years ago. Freshman Otto Porter added 14 points and 14 rebounds in one of the most complete individual performances in the John Thompson III era.
The young Hoyas continue to outperform expectations. For much of the first half there were three to four freshmen on the floor keeping the game in range. Jabril Trawick was phenomenal tonight. The Philly product added 9 points off the bench, while fellow freshmen Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins played crucial minutes.
More thoughts after The Jump,
Tonight's game, in many ways, marks a new era in John Thompson III's Georgetown career. In previous years, there wasn't enough depth and production to bench starters when they played poorly. Yet, this year, we have 4 eager freshmen itching to get off the bench to prove their worth. When Henry Sims, Jason Clark, and Nate Lubick weren't providing the energy necessary to beat an undefeated Louisville squad at home, there were freshmen ready to jump into the fray. Last year, this wouldn't have happened. Previous teams weren't built for lulls in energy by starters. Those teams ran 6 deep and lived and died by those 6 players. This year's team is different. This year's team has 10 talented basketball players, and JT3 is ready to play all 10 players at any time.
That said, we should focus on how great Markel Starks was tonight. Outside of the 20 points and the crucial three pointers, Starks was PHENOMENAL against Louisville's pressure. He controlled their press and got into offensive sets in ways that only Chris Wright has done before him. Only a sophomore, Starks has shown a propensity for big shots, but even more important, a composure in big games that is well beyond his years.
The freshmen challenged the starters to do better tonight, and the starters responded by closing out the game. Henry Sims has seen better days, yet there he was knocking down crucial layups and free throws to seal the victory. Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson provided leadership and important buckets in crunch time as well. Yet, the story of the night was Otto Porter. The small town kid from Missouri grabbed every rebound, including an enormous tip-in when the game was tied at 63, on the heels of an 11-0 Louisville run. The poise that he, Whittington, Trawick, and Hopkins showed tonight in the face of an undefeated Louisville team at home should make Hoya fans positively giddy about what the future holds.
After tonight, the sky is the limit for the future of this team. At this point, nothing will shock me. Let's just enjoy the ride as we watch this young Georgetown team continue to outperform expectations and take the Big East by storm.
Providence is next.